A following is steadily growing for two Bay of Plenty Facebook groups devoted to bringing up-to-date traffic and weather information.
Bay of Plenty Accidents and Bay of Plenty Weather and Natural Events are the names of two locally administrated groups.
Each group shares information compiled by local news agencies, including SunLive, along with contributions and discussions from its members, all in one handy online platform.
Kaysi Fredericks, who started the groups, says it’s a great way to get information in one place.
“Bay of Plenty Weather was the first group I started. A few years ago we had tornadoes which hit Mount Maunganui, BayPark and surrounding areas.
“I got fed up with the fact that everyone had to go to looking all over the place for information. People were checking buy and sell pages and that’s not what those pages are for.
“I thought why not have a Facebook page where all the information is in one place, so I set it up and it just grew from there.”
Bay of Plenty Weather and Natural Events is open for discussion about any weather related topic, says Kaysi.
“We track weather warnings, cyclones, weather watches, heat waves and any other weather related issue.”
She says the group also tries to keep things fun.
“We have something we call Storm in a Teacup, which is a fun way of explaining the weather in a humorous way.
“Not everyone understands the graphs and diagrams the MetService release, so we try to explain things in a way that people can visualise things.
“If we were explaining something like ‘12 metre waves are coming’ I’d say something like ‘that’s seven times my husband and ones enough.’”
“Everyone cracks up laughing, it gets shared over the country and they are laughing but they’re also learning. It takes away the fear and confusion. People look forward to the next instalment.”
The group was birthed from her fascination in weather, says Kaysi.
“I love weather, it’s always interested me. It can be beautiful and it can also be disastrous. I’ve been a storm chaser from a young age.”
She says Bay of Plenty Accidents deals with traffic issues and accidents.
“For me the group started as a reaction to the death of my best friend, who died in a car accident a few years ago.
“I think there’s a need for people to wake up, and this group definitely helps with that.
“People tend to post accidents up as they see them around the place.
“It’s really good because it helps people to be a little more aware.
“People realise, if you crash it’s game over and then they start to think ‘maybe let’s drive a little safer.’”
Kaysi says the group keeps an eye on the road toll and any road warnings.
“When people die we also put a candle up,” she says. “It’s all about like-minded people coming together in one community and engaging. They share their knowledge and connect with others.”
The pages have been running close to three years, says Kaysi.
“Anyone who wants information follows our pages and sometimes that’s not always locals, it might be people who have friends or family the Bay of Plenty.
“Our weather page is followed by people from all over New Zealand and we even have some from overseas and lot of these are people who are ex-Kiwis or people who used to live in the region.
“Both groups really do just help to get information across, they help to prepare people and they help people to get through things where they otherwise might have felt alone.”
She says the group is managed by a group of five admins including herself, Rod Davison, Leanne Swinburn, Jo Williams-Plews and her husband, Sam Fredericks who all work around the clock managing the page.