Severe Weather hits South Island of NZ

Kia ora readers,

Welcome to the ‘Opinion’ section of my website. Here I will be sharing interesting developments in my related field and developments with interesting research projects.

While on the topic of emergency preparedness – the current antarctic snow storm is working its way up the country. However much to the disappointment of many, there appears to be little snow falling in urban centers such as Christchurch. This is probably much to the relief of emergency services and those in cold houses though!

The Red Cross and Civil Defense have done an amazing job this time around at getting out information and letting people know how they can prepare for the storm. This did lead to the usual panic buying of bread and toilet paper but is also very useful for those who are still in sub standard housing in Christchurch as a result of the earthquake who can now be more aware of emergency centers and things they can do to be prepared.

While there is still roughly 48 hours of the storm to go, the weather system does appear to be several degrees warmer than expected so the snow may well not arrive for those hoping to make snowmen. Many people are already crying foul over the earlier predictions on social media and news websites.

This raises an interesting problem for those trying to encourage preparedness and warn people of potential dangers – if warnings fall through too many times does complacency within the population increase? Will this mean the next time there is a snowstorm people will not take it as seriously? How can we communicate the uncertainty of disasters and extreme events to the public?

I have heard a lot from people in Christchurch that they didn’t prepare for another earthquake after the September 4th 2010 event as they thought they had had their ‘big one’. This left many people woefully under prepared for the February 22nd 2011 event. I guess it is always going to be a fine line to walk between attempting to raise awareness and caution and encouraging complacency and apathy in the general population.