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Preparing for Gita

tree down SmallWhile the main force of Cyclone Gita is likely to miss Hawke’s Bay, there are severe gale force winds forecast for the region.

The latest Metservice advice this morning was that the cyclone would hit the west coast of the lower North Island from early tomorrow afternoon. Heavy rain watches were in place for the wider Wellington region south, and strong wind watches had been issued for much of the North Island including Hawke’s Bay.

Those wind warnings had triggered preparations within Council.

“As we know from previous events, cyclones can quite quickly change direction. Cyclone Cook, about the same time last year, was forecasted to move down the middle of the island, away from our region, however in the end we bore the brunt of it,” said Hastings District Council incident controller Raoul Oosterkamp.

Preparations include things like ensuring machinery required to clear roads of fallen trees is at appropriate sites across the district, advising road works contractors that they need to ensure all temporary traffic management signs are secure, and having the arborist team on standby.

“After Cyclone Cook we had 30 roads closed, so in that situation it becomes difficult to move heavy machinery around the district. It is small piece of the planning that becomes crucial if we do get hit by high winds that drop trees across our road network,” said Mr Oosterkamp.

Electricity lines company Unison is reminding everyone to make sure they have a full bottle of gas if they have a barbecue, so they can still cook and boil water in the case of power cuts.

Council is also encouraging residents to make a plan, using the national ‘get thru’ disaster preparation programme: It includes a step by step guide to preparing an emergency plan, covering emergency supplies, meeting places and getaway kits.

Should the cyclone affect Hawke’s Bay, the best information will be available from the region’s civil defence facebook page: HB Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. If it escalates to an emergency, radio messaging will also be used.

19 February 2018

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