Homes and properties in and around Rahotu township bore the brunt of the damaging tornado that struck Taranaki at 6.45am today (Tuesday).
Taranaki Civil Defence has been working with the community, emergency services and other agencies throughout the day to assess the impact of the storm and the needs of the community.
Rahotu School has been the centre of the community-lead response to make sure that those affected by the storm had food and shelter. Fire and Emergency NZ, the Police, St John Ambulance and other response organisations have supported the community and help secure affected properties.
Eight homes were damaged by the tornados with three homes severely damaged. There was also extensive damage to farm buildings, trees and power lines in the area.
Taranaki Civil Defence Controller Craig Campbell-Smart says that the Rahotu community has rallied to support those affected by the tornado.
“Fire and Police contacted all of the affected households and we’ve been advised that those people who cannot return to their homes will be cared for by friends and family.
“This has been a great response by the locals and it’s a credit to the community. They will have a big clean up ahead of them and we will continue to make sure the community has the necessary support to recover,” says Mr Campbell-Smart.
People with damage to homes and property are advised to take photos of the damage and contact their insurance company.
At 2.30pm today (Tuesday) there were 4,360 power connections in Taranaki without power. With the severe weather forecast for later today it is likely a number of consumers will remain without power overnight.
A severe weather warning was issued by MetService at 10:13am Tuesday 10-Apr-2018. Heavy rain warning: For the 15 hours from 10:00am Tuesday to 1:00am Wednesday rain with heavy falls and isolated thunderstorms are forecast.
Strong Wind Warning: Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles. For the 8 hours from 3:00pm to 11:00pm Tuesday severe gale southerlies are forecast, gusting 120km/h in exposed places until around midnight tonight.
To prepare for high winds people should:
- Put your household emergency plan into action and check your getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry.
- Pick up any debris around your house that could be become airborne.
- Put rubbish bins, garden furniture and other loose items in the garage or indoors to prevent property damage.
- Bring pets indoors. Move stock to shelter. If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.
- Close windows, external and internal doors. Close all curtains to slow down any flying glass.
- Water supplies can be affected so it is a good idea to store drinking water in containers and fill bathtubs and sinks with water.
Once the strong winds arrive:
- Stay away from windows and doors. Shelter in the middle of the house preferably in an internal room such as a bathroom.
- Do not walk around outside or drive unless absolutely necessary.
- Listen to your local (state radio station names here) radio station for information.
- Power cuts are possible in severe weather. Unplug small appliances which may be affected by electrical power surges. If power is lost unplug major appliances to reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored.
- Craig Campbell-Smart, Taranaki CDEM Group Controller.
Media enquiries Public Information Manager, 0800 900 049
Listen to these radio stations for official information:
New Plymouth 1053AM
Radio NZ National
New Plymouth 101.2FM
Public Information Management (PIM)
Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management
0800 900 049