As rainfall brings torrential flooding to much of the upper North Island today, and many homes find themselves under threat, Civil Defence has issued a series of guidelines about how to know when your house is flooded and when you should leave.
We’ve created a helpful summary of those guidelines, and compressed them into 13 compelling signs that your house is flooded and you need to evacuate.
If more than 3 of these is true of your house, you should consider evacuating, and if more than 5 are true, you should evacuate immediately.
1. There’s water everywhere
Boy oh boy, this is a big one. If there’s water everywhere – and we mean everywhere – in places you wouldn’t even typically expect water to be, such as your lungs, then you might have a flood on your hands.
Don’t just dismiss it as bad plumbing. It could very well be something worse.
2. When you walk around your house, you feel water lapping at your ankles or above
This can be an easy one to miss, but without being too paranoid, ask yourself if you feel a gentle lapping of water at your knees or other parts of your legs or body. If you do, it could be because flood waters have filled your home.
You might also feel that walking is more difficult, or you may encounter more resistance than you’re used to when moving.
3. You go to make some toast for breakfast, but the toaster has floated into a different room
This might take you until tomorrow morning to test, but if you’re the kind of person who likes toast for breakfast, just check to see if your toaster is in the same place it normally is. If it’s become inadvertently moored to your bedroom wall, it might have floated there due to flooding.
4. When you open your front door, water uncontrollably gushes into your house
Try opening your front door. If you find you can’t without muddy water uncontrollably gushing into your hallway like some kind of river rapid, there’s a chance you’re experiencing a flood.
5. Your shower is full
Unlike baths, showers don’t usually get full. If your shower is totally full to the brim like your bath would be, then you’re experiencing flooding, and your bath is likely to be full as well.
Taking out the plug might provide some temporary relief, but it will ultimately take a bit more than that.
6. There’s a live dolphin in your living room
That’s not normal.
7. The image on your television set has lost its sharpness and looks extremely murky
If you notice a distinct murkiness suddenly develop on your television set, to the point where images only appear as vague globs of colour, this could be caused by the interference of water between your eyes and your television set.
If your eyes are in pain and you feel you can’t breathe, this explanation becomes even more likely.
8. The ceiling seems closer than usual and you can’t feel the floor beneath your feet
Hard to get through doorways without diving? Finding your face pressed against the ceiling or dangerously close to the chandelier? Ask yourself if you can feel the ground beneath your feet. If you can’t, this might be because you’re floating in a sea of muddy water and debris.
9. There are dead fish in your bed
It’s even worse if they’re alive.
10. A boat has crashed through the ceiling of your home
It depends on the size of the boat, but if it’s large enough and travelling fast enough to destroy at least one room in your house, there’s a good chance it only got there because you’re now part of a busy sea route.
11. All your food tastes really watery
If you’re eating Wattie’s soup range or anything from a Maggi packet, discount this one.
12. The jug is boiling your entire home
You’ve settled in for the evening, turned on the jug, and you’re looking forward to a nice hot cuppa, but instead of boiling just the contents of the jug, it’s slowly boiling your whole house, and you alive with it.
It’s recommended you turn off your jug before you leave, lest it boil the whole floodzone and beyond.
13. You see Gerry Brownlee floating past your house
Look out your window. If you see Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee floating down your street on either his stomach or his back, you are definitely in a flood zone. Brownlee is regularly deployed as a kind of raft to help residents leave their flooded homes.
Remember, if 1 to 3 of the above is true, it may just be coincidence, but if you’re experiencing more than that, you probably have a flood on your hands. The more you know.