Severe gales forecast for Canterbury

Severe gales are predicted for Canterbury on Sunday and Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management group (CDEM) is warning people to stay indoors and be careful with outdoor burning.

The severe weather warning for the whole of Canterbury, especially for the foothills, is for severe northwest gales gusting 160 km/h or possibly more in exposed places, especially the Canterbury High Country, from early Sunday afternoon until Sunday night.

Winds are forecast to be of a similar strength to the September 2013 wind storm which caused widespread damage throughout Mid and North Canterbury. Winds of this strength could damage trees, bring down powerlines and lift roofs, as well as make travel hazardous.

James Thompson, CDEM duty officer, advised Canterbury people to check the Metservice website over the weekend for updates to this warning.

Mr Thompson said that when strong winds are forecast, there are a number of sensible steps you can take to help protect your home and family:

• Do not light any outdoor fires over the weekend
• Anyone with an outdoor fire burning or lit during the past week will need to extinguish it promptly and recheck that it is fully extinguished
• Bring outdoor furniture, rubbish bins and anything else that can be moved by wind indoors
• When the wind is strong stay indoors, closing windows and doors
• Power outages are common after high winds so be ready for this. Check you have bottled water, non-perishable food, a can opener, a first aid kit, a torch and essential medical supplies at hand
• Have a supply of torches and extra batteries handy. Do not use candles (they are a fire risk) or kerosene lamps, which require ventilation and are not designed for indoor use
• If the power goes out listen to your local radio station for information
• Stay off the roads if strong winds are forecast or occurring – driving is dangerous due to fallen trees, power lines and other hazards. Driving at night after a major wind storm should be avoided as there could be hazards which you won’t be able to see
• Do not touch any downed power lines as they may be live. Report these to your local electrical lines company.