WREMO urges coastal residents in Kāpiti and Porirua to prepare for heavy swells

Severe coast flooding hit the Kapiti Coast recently and more is on the way. Photo by Tania Dally

The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) is urging coastal residents in Kāpiti and Porirua to prepare for the Heavy Swell Warning in place from midnight tonight until midnight Friday.

WREMO Regional Manager Jeremy Holmes says the swell warning, issued by MetService for the coastal areas between О̄taki and Cape Terawhiti (south of Makara), is likely to bring more impacts than those seen following last week’s swell warning for the same area.

“The waves have the potential be higher with more energy which could cause more wave runup and surface flooding than what was seen last week.” 

Coastal residents in Kāpiti and Porirua can expect localised instances of coastal erosion, scouring, surface flooding and deposition of driftwood, seaweed, sand and gravel. Beach users, recreational fishers, surf-casters, kayakers, wind surfers, surf kiters, divers, and boaties should take extra care and consider delaying any trips, Holmes says.

“Kāpiti residents in Paekākāriki, Raumati South, Raumati Beach, Te Horo Beach and Ōtaki Beach could see waves overtopping seawalls causing surface flooding and debris disposal. We could also see debris disposal and surface flooding on State Highway 59 so we urge anyone planning to drive along this road to take care and use Transmission Gully as an alternative if they can. 

“There could be localised flooding around streams including Rangiuru Stream in Ōtaki Beach, the lower reaches of Mangaone Stream in Te Horo Beach and Wharemauku Stream in Raumati Beach,” Holmes says.

There is also potential for flooding of the Waikanae River at Otaihanga and around lower reaches of the river, depending on the rainfall that is seen today.

“We urge residents in affected areas to start thinking about ways to reduce impacts of swells on their property, such as using sandbags or barriers and moving things off their front lawn and driveway. 

“Porirua residents in Titahi Bay, Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay could see high waves, erosion and impacts to seawalls and surface flooding caused by waves overtopping onto roads in these areas. We advise residents in these areas to park their cars away from the seaward side of the road if possible.”

Porirua City Council and Kāpiti Coast District Council each have teams on standby to monitor and help with any potential impacts of the heavy swells. 

“There are a number of other weather warnings and watches in place across the Wellington Region including a Heavy Rain Warning, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, a Severe Wind Warning and a Severe Wind Watch, so please check metservice.com/warnings for more information on these.”

Holmes says in future, coastal residents should start to prepare for heavy swell warnings by creating a household plan, getting to know who in their street may need extra assistance and having a grab bag ready, in case they need to leave quickly.