Floods are one of Central Hawke's Bay's most common natural hazard. On average, a severe storm or flood happens every 10 years.
A storm is an atmospheric disturbance that gives rise to strong winds, rain, hail, thunder and/or snow. Cyclones are large storms that often strike Hawke's Bay. These big wheels of wind and heavy rain always turn clockwise, unlike hurricanes - the northern hemisphere equivalent - which turn anti-clockwise.
Winds of more than 300km per hour can uproot trees, tear roofs from buildings, push over cars and make huge waves at sea. The heavy rain causes slips and floods.
Flood precautions - Before a flood strikes
Ask the Central Hawke's Bay District Council or Hawke's Bay Regional Council about the worst flood in your locality and how high the floodwaters rose. Calculate how such an event might affect your home.
- Know how to reach the nearest high ground and make it part of your emergency plan.
- Keep your valuables and some food and clothing above what you judge to be the high-water mark.
- Store weed killers, insecticides and other chemicals above your estimated high water mark.
- Consider building some form of storage above your ceiling.
- Check with your local or regional council about present and future plans for building flood protection schemes in your locality.
- Keep your insurance cover up-to-date.
- Stay away from flooded areas, streams and rivers.
Find out more about being prepared for a flood on civil defence website. View National Civil Defence website
Floodwaters often come very quickly and there may be little time to respond. During the Wairarapa floods, some people had less than two minutes warning before their properties were flooded. It's not unusual for people in low-lying areas to be forced onto their roofs during floods.
When a flood warning is issued, always listen to the radio or go onto the Central Hawke's Bay District Council website for information and advice on what you should do and where you should go. If you have to evacuate and you have time:
- Store materials on the tops of tables or benches
- Store materials in the roof cavity
- Secure anything that might float away
- Secure anything that might be toxic
- Locate pets and put them in the car ready to go with you, or in the roof cavity of your house with some food and water
- Prepare by identifying your exit route
- Have a change of clothing and important documents ready
Work out what is precious to you in your property before there is any threat to your home. This might be family documents or photographs. Take copies and entrust these to a friend or relative who lives in a different area. Some people lodge copies of documents with their will, which is held by their lawyer or an agency such as the Public Trust. This way you do not lose everything if your home is destroyed by flood.
After leaving your home, never drive through floodwater. There may be hidden hazards or holes, not to mention the damage that can be caused to your engine. If you live in a flood-prone area, your council may have already identified special routes and plans.
Always check that your insurance is up-to-date and you have adequate cover. Most insurance companies will help you work out the value of assets and their replacement cost.
You can find out more about EQC insurance at the EQC website. View EQC website.
The speed and destructive power of floods often take people by surprise. In the Paraparaumu floods of 2003, a man went walking along the swollen Waikanae River. The bank collapsed and he fell in and drowned. During an earlier flood, canoeists went paddling in the same river - their bodies were found the next day.
For more information on hazards and flooding in Hawke's Bay go to Hawke's Bay Civil Defence website. View Hawke's Bay Civil Defence website.