WREMO UPDATE: FAQs on swell and storm evacuations along Wellington south coast and Wairarapa coast

19:00 29 June 2021

What are the expected impacts? When will these impacts happen?

The expected impacts of these large swells are likely to be somewhere between what occurred in Ōwhiro Bay in April 2020 and the Matariki storm in June 2013. In the 2013 event, we saw flooded roads, damage to property and sea walls.

The biggest of the waves are expected to start arriving around 9pm tonight, continuing through the night, and beginning to ease around 9am Wednesday morning. This means that risks from these waves will continue through the night – not just at high tides.

Cape Palliser Road is CLOSED at Te Kopi from 6pm this evening.

What areas are at risk?

For people living in house numbers 53 –194 Breaker Bay Road, they must evacuate.

Other high-risk areas are along the Wellington South and East Coasts, and the South and East Coast of the Wairarapa. Large waves are also expected in the Wellington Harbour including Petone and Eastbourne. However, these impacts are not expected to be as significant.

High risk areas include:

Owhiro Bay
Island Bay
Houghton Bay
Lyall Bay
Moa Point
Reef, Flax, Eve and Breaker Bays
Seatoun and Karaka Bays.
Ocean Beach
Palliser Bay
Lake Onoke (mouth and spit)
Lake Ferry
Te Kopi
Cape Palliser (Cape Palliser Road is closed)
Mataikona Road  

What can I do to be prepared?

People living in house numbers 53 –194 Breaker Bay Road must evacuate now.

People in other high-risk areas listed above should prepare a 24-hour grab bag with supplies relevant to your family in case you have to leave at short notice. You bag should contain such items as medication, extra clothes, and other essentials.

Keep up to date with the latest warning information through the WREMO Facebook, and the MetService Twitter and Facebook, or contact your local council if you have any questions.

Do I need to evacuate? How will I know?

Required evacuations have been sent to affected residents via Emergency Mobile Alert, and shared via media, radio, and social media. Councils, with the help of emergency services, will have teams on the ground to coordinate evacuations.

Remember – swell impacts are expected across much of the coast. Even if you are not required to evacuate, avoid high risk coastal areas if possible.

If your home has been heavily impacted by past swell and storm events, or if you have concerns, arrange to stay with friends and family from Tuesday late afternoon to Wednesday afternoon if you can.

Where do I evacuate to?

Find alternative accommodation with friends and family for the next 24 hours outside the high-risk areas on the Wellington South and East Coast, and the Wairarapa South and East Coast. Most of the region is not at risk from this event, and sea swells do not travel far inland.

Where do I go if I can’t stay with family or friends?

If you cannot arrange accommodation, call your local council for assistance and advice. For the Wellington City Council, call 04 499 4444.

What if I cannot take my pets with me?

In Wellington, there are Emergency shelter arrangements in place for pets. Dogs can stay at Paw Palace (Glenside). Cats can be housed at Kitty Kingdom (Strathmore). There may be other pet accommodation options. Call your council for pet-friendly options in your area.

If I do need to evacuate, when is it safe to return?

Waves are expected to ease around 9am Wednesday, but it may take longer to clear any debris from roads and ensure impacted areas are safe. Stay up to date by through media, radio, and social media.

Why is there a State of Emergency? What does that mean for me?

The State of Emergency covers the Southern Ward and Eastern Ward of Wellington City. Its purpose is to support response operations and facilitate the required evacuation of a limited number of homes. If you do not live in those areas and/or were not told to evacuate, this declaration is unlikely to affect you. Evacuations are for a very limited number homes in high-risk areas.

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