Tuesday, July 26, 2011

75% prepared

Awesome work, guys!

According to the latest Annual Residents' Survey of 400 Porirua residents, 75% of you have stored food & water and have a household plan for an emergency. The last time the survey was done, we only recorded 56%. What changed your mind?

While I'd love to claim the credit, I know a significant proportion of it to be a direct result of the Canterbury earthquakes. It's sad, but true, that it takes a disaster to spur us into action. I wish it didn't.

There's hardly anyone that I know that doesn't have friends or family in Canterbury, and when it's friends and family telling you the things they've experienced, and what they've had to do to get through, it really makes you realise that it could happen to you too. Especially since the Wellington region was always the place waiting for the Big One - the Canterbury quakes came out of the blue.

Have you changed your attitude towards preparing for emergencies as a result of the Canterbury quakes, or is there something else which made you decide to get ready?

Are you one of those 75% who are prepared? If not, why not?

While we don't want to be having more disasters, if there are other things that have got you thinking and preparing, please let us know!

Rimutaka Hill Road now open

If you've been holding out to get over to Masterton, now's your chance. The Rimutaka Hill Road has finally reopened after being closed due to snow. It's currently a controlled operation and a 30km/hr speed restriction applies, so follow instructions and take care!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rimutaka Hill Road closed

If you look out the window and can see Belmont, or the hills behind Pukerua Bay, you'll see them liberally dusted with snow. For some reason it makes me hungry for chocolate cake with icing sugar on top...

Well, the Rimutakas caught even more snow than we did, so the Rimutaka Hill Road over to Wairarapa is currently closed until they can clear it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Earthquake "widely felt" ??

Apparently there was an earthquake 120km northwest of Wellington this evening, at 9:33pm.

Geonet reports it as measuring 5.2, located 120km down, and says it was widely felt in the North Island, and upper South Island.

"Widely felt" doesn't seem to include my place in this instance - I didn't notice a thing! I'm guessing it wasn't too exciting if I missed it while watching DVDs on the couch.

How about you, did you feel it? If you did, you might like to fill out the Geonet felt report.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Special Weather Advisory - snow!

The MetService has issued a Special Weather Advisory for a blast of freezing cold weather heading our way.

Very cold southerlies are expected to spread north over New Zealand overnight Saturday and during Sunday, bringing a period of significant wintery weather to much of the country.

We can expect snow to relatively low levels, which is likely to close the Rimutaka Hill Road, and we'll be blasted by cold sleety/snowy showers.

Doesn't sound very pleasant at all! I think staying at home where it's warm & dry and maybe watching a few DVDs will be a great plan. If you are planning on heading out and over the Rimutaka Hill Rd, it would pay to check that it's actually open before you leave home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SH1 @ Paremata now open

State Highway 1 at Paremata roundabout is now open, but one lane only, so expect minor delays until it's fully cleared.

SH1 @ Paremata now closed to northbound traffic

State Highway 1 is now closed to all northbound traffic at the Paremata roundabout until further notice. Traffic is being diverted to State Highway 58 and Grays Road.

State Highway 1 will be closed from 9:30 for 2 hours

A B-train truck & trailer has rolled on its side at Paremata Roundabout, and is currently blocking the left northbound lane of State Highway 1. Motorists are advised to avoid the area if at all possible. If you cannot avoid using SH1 at Paremata expect delays.

A crane has been organised and is expected to be on site at 9:30am to right the vehicle. Owing to the location of the crash, the location of the crane for recovery operations, and the difficulties involved in righting the vehicle, State Highway 1 at Paremata will be closed for an estimated 2 hours from 9:30am this morning.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Use your headlights in the rain!

The Porirua Police would like to remind you to use your headlights if out driving in the current weather conditions. Sounds obvious really, but the fact that that they've felt the need to make a news release about it, tells me it isn't happening out there today.

I have a rule that if I've turned on my windscreen wipers so I can see better, turning on my headlights will help people see me better.

And high visibility is definitely what is needed in this weather. The MetService has issued yet another Severe thunderstorm watch for much of the west coast of the lower North Island.

A front is expected to move from Farewell Spit to the outer Marlborough Sounds to the Kapiti Coast and then around the coast to south Taranaki this morning and afternoon.

There is a risk that one or two of the thunderstorms on and ahead of this front have the potential to become SEVERE and produce wind gusts over 110km/hr, one or two small tornadoes, bursts of heavy rain and small hail. This threat clears from the south through the afternoon.

Wind gusts of this strength can cause some structural damage, including trees and power lines, and may make driving hazardous. If any tornados occur, they will affect only very localised areas.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Severe Thunderstorm Watch & more wind & rain

The MetService has issued another Severe Thunderstorm Watch affecting much of the country, so expect more of this weekend's weather through tomorrow as well, easing by Tuesday afternoon.

The thunderstorms can bring very heavy rain, so watch for surface flooding and rising streams & rivers. There's also the possibility of very localised strong wind gusts and tornadoes, just like yesterday's one in Waikanae.

Also expect severe NW gales overnight tonight with wind speeds of 70km/h gusting to 140km/h in exposed places.

Winds that strong can damage buildings, trees & powerlines and make driving dangerous.

It's all a bit of a nasty mix, so take extra care when you are out and about over the next couple of days!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tornado in Kapiti

Unfortunatley, one thing that comes with severe thunderstorms is the possibility of tornadoes - and one has hit the Kapiti Coast, causing a bit of damage and sending a person to hospital.

I know some of our council staff live up that way, so hopefully they are all okay!

Severe thunderstorm watch

MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for much of the lower North Island, including Porirua, and some areas have received warnings as actual storms have appeared on the weather radars. Thunderstorm watches & warnings can come & go quite rapidly as the weather systems producing the storms can change very quickly, they are very unstable in their nature.

Thunderstorms can bring not just thunder & lightning, but also damaging and quite localised wind gusts, and localised heavy downpours - and we know all to well the problems those can cause for us!

As a thunderstorm approaches we recommend that you:
  • take shelter, preferably indoors away from windows
  • avoid sheltering under trees, if outside
  • move cars under cover or away from trees
  • secure any loose objects around your property
  • check that drains & gutters are clear
  • be ready to slow down or stop, if driving

During and after the storm, you should also:
  • be aware of fallen trees and power lines
  • avoid streams and drains as you may be swept away in flash flooding
  • stay out of flood waters, it's usually contaminated with sewage and you cannot see the hazards beneath (like open drain covers)
Take care out there today!

Friday, July 8, 2011

More strong winds for Friday & Saturday

The MetService has issued a Severe Weather Warning for severe gales on Saturday. We're expecting northwesterly gales this evening, and winds rising to severe gales on Saturday - expect westerly winds to reach 70km/h in exposed places with gusts to 130km/h.

These winds have the potential to lift roofs, cause damage to trees & powelines, and make driving hazardous.

It'll probably rain as well, so enjoy the lovely weather today while you can!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

National Warning: Tsunami - Threat to New Zealand Cancellation

Issued at 0900 hours on 7 July 2011.

Issued by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM).

Tsunami warning cancelled:

A tsunami was confirmed from the earthquake in the Kermadec Islands. Advice from GNS Science is that the tsunami does not represent a threat to New Zealand. However, they expect that there will be unusually strong tidal surges and currents.

For the next 24 hours people should exercise caution and discretion before entering the water or going out in small boats in all parts of New Zealand.

National Warning - Tsunami - Threat to NZ - Tsunami confirmed

National Warning: Tsunami Threat to New Zealand - Update: Tsunami confirmed
No: 02
Issued at 0755 hours on 7 July 2011

Issued by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM).A tsunami warning is in effect for New Zealand:The tsunami warning will remain in effect until a cancellation message is issued by MCDEM.

An earthquake has occurred with these parameters:
Origin time: 1903Z 06 July 2011
NZ time: 0703 NZDT 7 July 2011
Co-ordinates: 29.4 SOUTH 175.7 WEST
Depth: 48 km
Location: Kermadec Islands
Magnitude: 7.8

The above magnitude is provisional and may be increased or decreased as more seismic data becomes available.


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) has issued a Tsunami Warning in response to the above earthquake. A marine threat for Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Coast and Hawkes Bay has been identified.

Only messages issued by MCDEM represent the official warning status for New Zealand. Local civil defence authorities may supplement these messages by applying local threat assessments.Confirmation been received that a tsunami was generated. The first wave to arrive to New Zealand will be in the areas around at approximately 0852 7 July 2011. The first wave may arrive later and may not be the largest. Waves will continue for several hours.

People in coastal areas should:
1. Stay off beaches
2. Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities)
3. Do not go sightseeing
4. Share this information with family, neighbours and friends
5. Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates
6. Follow instructions of your local Civil Defence authorities.

MCDEM and scientific advisors are closely monitoring the situation to determine the severity of the threat to New Zealand.

This warning has been issued to all local civil defence authorities, emergency services, other agencies and media.

Estimates of expected wave arrival times are as follows:
Note: These times are provisional and based on the best information available. Arrival times may be as much as one hour later and may be adjusted in subsequent messages.

North Cape 0854 7 July 2011 NZDT
Auckland (East) 1000 7 July 2011 NZDT
East Cape 0852 7 July 2011 NZDT
Gisborne 0859 7 July 2011 NZDT

NCMC status: The National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) is activated.

Useful websites: http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/ http://www.getthru.govt.nz/

Further updates:A further update with more information will follow within the next hour. Until a cancellation is issued updates will continue at least hourly. All further updates will be communicated by MCDEM via the national warning system.

Issued by: Message authorised by the National Controller, Civil Defence Emergency Management.

End of Message

National Advisory: Tsunami - Potential Threat to New Zealand

There's been a 7.8 earthquake off the Kermadec Islands at 7:03 this morning. It's size and the realatively shallow depth of 48km means that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued a tsunami warning for New Zealand.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has just issued a National Advisory: tsunami - Potential Threat to NZ - which means that our scientists are currently rapidly reviewing the information, to see whether there really is a tsunami threat from this event.

Stay tuned for further official updates from the National Warning System. The National Crisis Management Centre has activated for this event.

If a tsunami has been generated PTWC gives expected arrival times of 0852am for East Cape.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Severe gales expected tomorrow

The MetService has issued a Severe Weather Warning for severe gales for much of the country, including the Wellington region.

A very strong westerly airstream is developing over New Zealand. On Thursday, a cold front is expected to cross the South Island, preceded by a strong northwest airstream.

Westerly winds are expected to reach severe gale force this afternoon (Wednesday) in exposed parts of Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula,Taranaki, Wanganui, Manawatu, Nelson west of Motueka, and also the east of the North Island from Hastings to Masterton.

Winds should ease below severe gale in most places late tonight. But the strong winds are likely to persist in the east of the North Island until around dawn on Thursday.

However, in Wellington and Wairarapa, between about noon Thursday and 2am Friday, expect northwest winds to reach 65 km/h in exposed places, with gusts 120 km/h.

These winds have the potential to lift roofs, cause damage to trees and powerlines, and make driving hazardous.

Gusty northwesterlies are likely to affect these areas for several days, with winds possibly reaching severe gale at times.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Central North Island quake

A lot of us in Porirua felt that one!

Information just through from Geonet:

Time: 3:36pm
Magnitude - 6.5
Mercalli Magnitude - 6
Focal Depth - 150km (a deep one)
Location - 30km west of Taupo


Monday, July 4, 2011

Get text alerts on your mobile phone

The Porirua Emergency Management Office uses Twitter as one of the ways it sends out emergency alerts to the public. These can be received as SMS text messages.

Text alerts are free, but signing up will cost you four texts at your standard rate.

Unfortunately, if you're on 2Degrees, you won't be able to receive them. Sorry!

You will receive a few test messages a year and any other message will be a real alert.

Alerts may include:

  • major road closures

  • major water or power outages

  • severe weather warnings

  • tsunami warnings

  • earthquake information on local quakes

  • and any other large emergencies
If you receive an emergency alert, forward it to your friends.

Sign up now!

Wait for a reply after each text sent. If you already receive tweets to your mobile phone, go to step 5.

  1. Text the word "start" to 8987.

  2. Reply with the word "signup".

  3. Think of a unique username. (You won't need to remember it again, so you could use your name followed by some random characters, eg "Jim456bob".)

  4. Reply with your chosen username. (If you are already on Twitter, use your existing username and it will ask you for your password)

  5. Send / Reply "follow poriruaemo" to 8987.