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Published: 2009-07-10 00:00:00

Waikato residents are being warned to prepare for wild weather this weekend.

Civil Defence and Environment Waikato staff are on standby, following a severe weather warning issued by the MetService today.

A rapidly deepening low predicted to move over the North Island tomorrow is expected to bring heavy rain and gale force winds of up to 140km/h, particularly across the Coromandel Peninsula and Hauraki Plains.

Scott Fowlds, group controller for the Waikato civil defence emergency management group, said heavy rain and strong winds across the Waikato region could cause surface flooding, slips, and damage to trees and buildings.

"If the storm hits, people should stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary," he said.

"We are advising the public to listen to the radio to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings."

Mr Fowlds said the regional emergency management office and Environment Waikato would be watching the situation closely.

Environment Waikato, which manages river systems and provides flood warnings, will be monitoring information from its regional network of rainfall and river level monitoring stations this weekend.

Environment Waikato emergency management officer Greg Ryan said EW staff members would be keeping a close eye on the situation and providing information and updates to the appropriate agencies.

"If the weather turns out to be as bad as predicted we will be working to manage river systems to minimise impacts on people, property and the environment."

People living in low-lying areas prone to flooding should have a ‘getaway bag’ ready in case they need to move to higher ground, while farmers should move stock to higher ground.

Information about rainfall and river levels is available on Environment Waikato’s website: www.ew.govt.nz.

It is also available on the following telephone information lines:

Ohinemuri, Kauaeranga and Waihou – 0832 25 334

Piako, Waitoa, Thames tide – 0832 25 335

Waipa, lower Waikato – 0832 25 336

Taupo Basin, Awakino – 0832 25 337

Calls cost 12 cents per minute from a standard telephone. Calls from cell phones and pay phones are charged at cell phone and pay phone rates.

The following links may be useful for further information:

Latest weather information: www.metservice.co.nz

Latest road closures and detours: www.AAroadwatch.co.nz

Civil Defence:www.waikatoregioncdemg.govt.nz

Important tips to get through the weekend storm:

Household survival kit

  • Food and water for three days or more
  • Battery-powered torch and radio
  • First aid kit/medication
  • Supplies for pets.

Around the house

  • Check your drains and spouting to clear blockages
  • Pick up debris around the house that could become airborne
  • Move rubbish bins to somewhere sheltered so they can’t fly around
  • Check on your neighbours
  • Bring pets inside
  • Open a window on the side of the building away from the wind – this will relieve pressure on the roof and help stop it lifting
  • Close all curtains to slow down flying glass and airborne objects
  • During the storm, stay away from doors and windows.

Listen to your radio for civil defence and weather information.