Top tips and know-how to prepare your family for the coming winter storm

METSERVICE

MetService National Forecast

A storm moving down the country is picked to bring snow, heavy rain, gales and even a possible tornado.

Heavy rain and gales are expected across much of the North Island on Thursday, followed by heavy rain and snow in eastern parts of the South Island on Friday.

To get ready, there are a few things you can do to make life easier for you and your family.

Rain covers Auckland to Hawke's Bay and the Tasman district to the south in this MetService rain forecast for 9pm Thursday.
METSERVICE

Rain covers Auckland to Hawke's Bay and the Tasman district to the south in this MetService rain forecast for 9pm Thursday.

First of all, people in the path of the forecast gale force winds should be good sports and tie their trampolines down.

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It might also be a good idea to check the readiness of your ski and snowboard gear and familiarise yourself with the snow settings on your camera.

A trampoline relocates in the wind, on Ferry St, near Wellington's Seatoun tunnel, on Thursday last week.
NICK REEVE/SUPPLIED

A trampoline relocates in the wind, on Ferry St, near Wellington's Seatoun tunnel, on Thursday last week.

Primary responsibility for civil defence management rests with councils and these organisations work alongside regional authorities, police, and emergency responders.

If life or property is under threat, dial 111. All local civil defence groups are here.

Civil Defence recommends having a household emergency plan, which includes emergency names and numbers, survival kit items, and a "getaway" kit containing, for example, a torch, radio, first aid kit, toiletries and identification documents.

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Civil Defence has a handy list of items for your household to help in an emergency.

Comprehensive tips for storm preparation cover winter storms, snowstorms and tornadoes and these are also available in a variety of languages: Maori, Arabic, simplified and traditional Chinese, Hindi, Tongan, and Samoan.

In a storm:

* Secure large objects and remove anything that could become airborne

* Clear gutters

* Keep materials at hand, tarps, boards, tools, duct tape, for quick repairs

* If farming, know which paddocks are susceptible to flooding or landslides, and move stock away

* When a weather warning is issued, check the radio and online for any weather and civil defence updates.

When a weather warning is issued:

* Activate your household plan

* Secure all items

* Close windows, pull drapes over to protect those inside if the glass fails

* Stay away from doors and window if a storm is destructive

* Drink from stored water supplies

* Unplug small appliances in case of a power surge

* Bring pets inside; move stock

* In a snowstorm, the main concerns are losing heat, power and phone services and the possibility of food supply lines being disrupted if a snowstorm lasts for longer than 24 hours.

Remember, in a snowstorm:

* Avoid leaving home unless you need to travel

* If you travel, take snow chains, sleeping bags, spare clothing and an emergency kit

* Check fuel supplies for wood burners, heaters, and generators

* If you're caught out in a vehicle, stay there. Run the engine every 10 minutes or so to keep warm, open a window a little to avoid carbon monoxide building up and tie something brightly coloured to your aerial

All the major urban areas are forecast to receive rain towards the end of the week, with the Bay of Plenty likely to receive heavy rainfall.

MetService meteorologist Angus Hines says there are gale force winds forecast to accompany the heavy rain.

"It's not only rain that will be grabbing the headlines. Gale force winds are forecast to affect a lot of the North Island, and a southerly change pushing onto the lower South Island overnight Thursday is likely to lower temperatures and bring further snow to some inland areas."

Snow is not expected to fall as low or as extensively as last week but could still affect roads in the South Island.

In most emergencies, people should be able to remain in their homes and Get Thru recommend having enough food and water for at least three days, including at least three litres of water per person per day.

To store water, add five drops of household beach – not the scented kind – to each litre of water, label with the date, and don't drink it for at least 30 minutes.

If you need to feed your baby in an emergency, the Ministry of Health has a set of instructions to ensure you reduce the risk of dehydration.

Babies have a higher risk of becoming dehydrated or getting an infection.

The ministry recommends having an emergency plan and baby supplies. Breastfeeding is the best way of feeding in an emergency.

For all babies you will need 30 disposable nappies, baby wipes, sanitiser, rubbish bags, medicines and creams at the very least.

If you must travel, the NZ Transport Agency recommends allowing extra time for winter journeys.

The agency maintains real-time traffic and travel information.

If you're driving in the South Island on the alternate Picton to Christchurch road then take extra time because the road is challenging, narrow, and traverses alpine passes. 

On average, since 2010, the Lewis Pass on State Highway 7 has five, or six, storms each winter involving highway closures, or "chains essential" requirements.

The agency says follow these simple rules:

* Ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving

* Drive to the road and weather conditions

* Slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards

* Allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead

* Make sure your cell phone is well charged, check car charger

* Have blankets, snacks, bottles of water ready in case of emergency or a breakdown

Food preparation and how to cook when boil water notices are issued are widely available. The Ministry for Primary Industries recommends keeping food simple and using boiled water to wash food, cutlery, and teeth.

Emergency food items should include canned and dried food, luncheon meat, ham, vegetables, cereals, milk, soup, sugar, drinks and a portable stove.

Visit getthru.govt.nz for more information.

 - Stuff

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