The Insurance Council is advising people to take the time today to prepare their properties for Cyclone Gita. Gita is due to make landfall at Wellington and on the West Coast around 10 o’clock tonight. With it, it’s forecast to bring strong winds and heavy rain. It caused devastating, widespread damage as it tracked across the Pacific. ICNZ urges residents of the West Coast, in particular, to batten down the hatches. “With the recent, severe storm damage West Coast residents have suffered, it’s really important they do all they can to make their homes safe and weather-tight,” said ICNZ Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “The rain will bring surface flooding so it’s important people check their drains and gutters are free of blockages. This can prevent more damaging flooding if rain doesn’t abate quickly. Gita is also forecast to bring strong winds, especially in exposed places. Tie down or bring inside anything heavy that could be picked up in strong gusts, such as outdoor furniture and trampolines. If you can’t tie things down or bring them in, turn them upside down or collapse them to reduce the surface area exposed to wind,” advised Grafton. “It’s important to consider your neighbours at times like this too. Clearing your drains and securing your outdoor furniture benefits your neighbours as much as it does you. And if the power goes out or flooding develops, check on your neighbours once it’s safe to do so.” Should your property be damaged, take photos and contact your insurer as soon as possible. The Council recommends the following measures to secure property:
- If you’re near the coast or a waterway, park your car on higher ground or lock it in the garage so it doesn’t float away.
- Collapse and take down outdoor umbrellas and tie down or bring in outdoor furniture where possible. If furniture like trampolines can’t be brought in, turn them upside down to minimise the surface area exposed to winds.
- If there’s a possibility of your property flooding, move electrical items off the ground and unplug them.
- Clean out blocked gutters and drains before any bad weather begins to set in. If your roadside drains are blocked, call your local council.
- Make sure your emergency kit is well-stocked. If you’re not sure what to include, check out getthru.govt.nz.