Keep an eye on cyclone progress; Civil Defence

13 Mar 2015, 12:41 PM

Keep an eye on Cyclone Pam’s progress over the weekend and be sensibly prepared for rough weather, but keep things in perspective, is the advice today to Northlanders from the region’s Civil Defence team.

Northland Civil Defence LogoCyclone Pam, currently located near Vanuatu, is forecast to track south over the next few days and pass east of New Zealand, including Northland, during Monday and Tuesday.

MetService forecasters today confirmed that at this stage there's still some uncertainty as to how close to the North Island the cyclone will track – and what sort of punch it might still pack by then – but say it has the potential to be a significant event.

Given that, the MetService today issued severe weather watches for both wind and rain in Northland, saying there's the possibility of south to south-east gales – possibly severe for a time – on Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Rain is expected to become heavy for eastern Northland from Sunday evening, then ease late Monday morning with the possibility of more than 80mm falling over 18 hours.

Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says given the worst of the predicted weather is still a couple of days away, Northlanders are being advised to keep a close eye on MetService forecasts as they're issued.

He says rain and winds of the type currently being forecast mean it would be prudent for Northlanders to take the usual precautions for strong winds and rain, including securing large heavy objects or anything that could be potentially dangerous.

Similarly, it would be sensible for motorists to postpone any unnecessary plans for travel over the period the worst of the weather is expected and – with some potentially big seas possible – for yachties to check their moorings and ensure vessels are properly secured ahead of any storm.

However, Mr MacDonald urges Northlanders to keep things in perspective.

"At this stage, again probably the most sensible thing people can do is to remain calm and ensure they keep abreast of the latest forecasts, because things can obviously change for the worse."

He says Civil Defence will be monitoring the situation closely over the early part of the weekend and will update the public as required, including through the Northland CDEM Group's Facebook page –

General Civil Defence information is also available from the Northland Regional Council's website