13 Mar 2015

Cyclone Pam: What you need to know

3:48 pm on 13 March 2015

Northeastern regions of New Zealand are expected to feel the effects of Cyclone Pam from Sunday.

In particular, northern parts of Hawke's Bay and the Gisborne area likely to get strong winds and heavy rainfall, MetService says.

Civil Defence is urging people in affected areas to take heed of any warnings and watch the weather forecast.

How to prepare:

  • Tie down anything likely to be blown about such as boats, trampolines, outdoor furniture and rubbish bins.
  • Prepare a bag to grab if you have to leave the house. It should have food, medical supplies, water, clothes and an emergency blanket.
  • People camping or living in coastal areas should move to higher ground.
  • Make sure you have enough food and water in your house to last for three days, and any medication you need in case you can't get out.
  • Avoid travelling on the roads in exposed or coastal areas once the storm hits.
  • People with boats in the Gisborne Marina should take them out if possible or make sure their moorings are secure.

The origin of a cyclone

Tropical cyclones form over the warm ocean waters near the equator. Heated air near the surface of the ocean rises creating a low pressure zone which is then filled with air from the surrounding area. The new air is heated and rises, and this cycle continues until a cyclone forms. The video below shows how Cyclone Pam formed and has increased in size over the last seven days.

Roads to avoid:

  • Tatapouri and the Waima Road at Tokomaru Bay may be closed to avoid major problems.
  • Nuhiti Road past Anaura Bay may be closed as a precautionary measure.

Coastguard advice:

The New Zealand Coastguard says boaties need to get prepared well in advance, and advises all recreational boat owners to check and secure their vessels before the weather worsens.

  • Check the local marine weather forecast before you go and expect both weather and sea changes. If in doubt - don't go out.
  • The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for the safe operation of the boat. Stay within the limits of your vessel and your experience.
  • Life Jackets: 'Take Them - Wear Them'.

Website and radio information:

  • Weather information: www.metservice.com
  • Emergency preparedness: www.getthru.govt.nz
  • For news and civil defence information listen to Radio New Zealand on your local frequency or check the website.

For local information, Gisborne Civil Defence and Emergency Management will broadcast over these stations:

  • 945 kHz AM - Talkback ZB
  • 585 kHz AM - Radio Ngati Porou
  • 90.9 FM - ZGFM
  • 98.1 FM - Radio Ngati Porou
  • 98.9 FM - More FM
  • 94.8 FM - Radio Live
  • 91.7 FM - Turanga FM
  • 88.5 FM - Uawa

Hawkes Bay Civil Defence advises people to keep a close eye on MetService and Civil Defence websites. Civil Defence emergency group controller Ian Macdonald said the slow-moving cyclone was likely to bring severe weather to the East Cape and northern Hawke's Bay early next week.