Friday, May 24, 2024

First ever ‘red’ warning issued for Northland

The MetService New Zealand has upgraded the Northland region to its first ever Red Heavy Rain Warning, along with a severe thunderstorm and strong wind watch for the region.

Northland Civil Defence Controller, Graeme MacDonald said a Red Warning is only issued for the most impactful events.

He said with newly-forecast heavy rain coming on top of the already constant heavy rain received in the area, streams and rivers may rise rapidly and become dangerous.

“Surface flooding, slips and flood water are likely to close roads and disrupt travel. Flooding of low-lying areas is also possible,” said Mr MacDonald.

For the 24 hours from 4am tomorrow (Tuesday 31 January) to 4am Wednesday 01 Feb, the MetService is forecasting between 100 to 140mm of rain, especially in the North and east of the region.

However, Mr MacDonald warns localised areas may receive as much as 140 to 220mm over that same period.

“Peak rates of 10 to 20 mm/h are expected, but again, localised areas could see 25 to 40 mm/h from thunderstorms,” he said.

Forecasters says the rain is expected to start in the north, with potential impacts being seen across the region by Tuesday afternoon.

There is also a Severe Thunderstorm watch from 4am tomorrow (Tuesday) until 4am Wednesday and a Strong Wind watch from 10am tomorrow (Tuesday) to 2am Wednesday.

Mr MacDonald says the Northland Civil defence team was currently monitoring the situation in close contact with MetService and the Northland Regional Council Hydrology team.

“This afternoon we met with all three of Northland’s district councils, local emergency services and other key stakeholders and we are all preparing to respond if need be.”

“With this new warning the key message to Northlanders is to please stay prepared, have a plan in case you need to evacuate, keep up to date with the lasted information and weather conditions, and most importantly avoid any non-essential travel tomorrow and potential Wednesday morning – if you must drive, please drive to the conditions and keep an eye out for hazards.”

MacDonald says things are changing quickly with this weather system and urges people to keep up to date at: https://www.metservice.com/warnings/home#upper-north

Key preparations you can make:

Secure outdoor furniture and structures

Relocate items from any areas of your property that are prone to flooding

Relocate stock from flood prone areas and bring pets inside

Have supplies including food and medications ready in case of any power outages or if you are isolated for a period

Have a grab bag and a plan in case you need to evacuate

For more tips on preparing for severe weather check out: https://getready.govt.nz/en/emergency/storms/

MacDonald says if you feel you, your family and/or your property are at risk, immediately contact emergency services on 111.

He says Civil Defence will be keeping a close eye on the weather as it develops and will post any key updates on its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland

Other Useful links:

To check for road closures and delays on state highways: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/1 or follow Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency – Northland

For local roads check your local council’s pages:

Whangarei District Council

Kaipara District Council

Far North District Council

For power outages check:

Northpower: https://northpower.com/electricity/current-outages

Top Energy NZ: https://outages.topenergy.co.nz/

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