Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Cyclone Lusi: Civil Defence warns of 5m swells

Swells up to 5 metres could hammer Hawke's Bay beaches this weekend as weather from Tropical Cyclone Lusi wreaks havoc across the country, Civil Defence officials warn.

Ian Macdonald, Civil Defence emergency management group manager for the region, said the swell was predicted to be between 2 and 5 metres.

"Vulnerable coastal communities should still remain vigilant and prepared. Our focus is now on the wind and rain which will cause river systems to rise so people in upper catchment areas and the ranges need to be careful around rivers and creeks. There is also a likelihood of some surface flooding and slips around the region."

The worst of the weather for Hawke's Bay is expected over Saturday night and Sunday morning with a short period of heavy rain and wind.

Anyone who feared for their safety this weekend should call 111, he said.

Further south, areas previously thought to be clear of any severe weather were also preparing for foul conditions.

Based on current information from the MetService, the Waitaki District could be in for heavy rain and strong winds, the district's Civil Defence said.

"There are no warnings at this stage, but precautionary measures are being put in place.

"This event is not expected to be a major event for the Waitaki but has the potential to be. Contractors have been advised to monitor road conditions and stormwater drains," it said.

In Christchurch, emergency responses were being put in place, with rain, winds and stormy conditions expected to hit the city on Sunday.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said they city was preparing for a "worst-case scenario" in the wake of recent floods.

"Councillors, community board members and I were given an initial briefing by Civil Defence this morning and we will be receiving more technical information from engineers about preparations later today. We are also calling on communities and individuals to prepare as best they can for the forecast rain.

"We will have more information for people on our preparations and precautions ahead of Sunday."

The council said sandbags would be made available at key locations where flooding was a known risk. Teams had also been clearing drains all week, and would continue to monitor the situation over the weekend.

Civil Defence officials and councils across the North Island and the top of the South Island have also urged people to take appropriate precautions, with residents from Northland to Marlborough and Tasman advised to prepare for heavy rain and strong winds, and to stay off the water.

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- APNZ

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