TWM GISBORNE FLOODS - October, 2005

COMMENT: See previous major floods 2004-05.
Why is this disaster called "Kelly"? Click here. (02.11.05)
Gisborne area gets a second dousing.
(30.11.05)

Bad weather causes disruptions around the North Island
NZ Herald 22.10.05 7.15pm
Residents of a beachfront property in west Auckland were just 1m away from losing their house in a slip today. Police were called just after 3pm when the bank slipped away just in front of the beachfront house in Laingholm, a west Auckland suburb bordering Manukau Harbour...
Meanwhile surface road flooding was this afternoon being reported in the Hawke's Bay and Gisborne. Reports had come in about flooding on State Highways 2 and 50 and around the Wairoa and Tolaga Bay areas, and there had been slips in some areas... Just before 4.30pm, the AA reported SH2 was closed between Matawai and Te Karaka, northwest of Gisborne due to flooding. No alternative route was available... MetService duty forecaster Jasmine Kennedy said areas in northern Hawke's Bay had received more than 100mm of rain in the 24 hours to 5pm, while Gisborne itself had received about 80mm in the same period. A further 50mm to 70mm more was expected in parts of the Gisborne and Hawke's Bay regions between 5pm and about 3am tomorrow. Parts of the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel had received between 50mm and 60mm of rain, while Whakatane had 73mm and Tauranga had about 40mm in the 24 hours to 1pm, she said. The southern side of Mt Taranaki had also received about 100mm in the same period, and Hawera in South Taranaki had about 65mm.
The low causing the bad weather was north of the Hicks Bay area of the East Cape about 5pm and was to track eastward taking the rain band with it. [...]
Freak deluge soaks east coast
SUNDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2005
www.sundaystartimes.co.nz
The North Island's east coast was pummelled with the kind of rainfall that drops only once every 100 years on Friday night, stranding whole towns and cutting electricity and water supplies. Areas surrounding Gisborne, particularly Tolaga Bay, face a big clean-up after more than 300mm of rain fell in 24 hours in some places. MetService forecaster Steve Ready said over 300mm was exceptional rainfall. "Statistically, it's a one-in-100-year event, but as we know, we can conceivably get them two or three years in a row."...
The flooding will have a big economic impact on the agricultural region. Large areas of land planted with seasonal crops such as export squash, sweetcorn and maize are under water and hundreds of hectares will need to be resown. Most vineyards and citrus orchards are draining rapidly, minimising the risk of more serious damage...  Electricity and phone blackouts, major slips and the closure of more than a dozen roads continued to cause problems for the cleanup yesterday. Power was restored to all but about 130 homes by late afternoon and water supplies were back on by midday. Gisborne recorded about 180mm of rain, but near Tokomaru Bay, Hikuwai and Te Puia Springs were deluged with 350mm... Kaiteratahi resident Kevin "Rock" Johnston said he was evacuated during Bola and this was the most surface flooding he had seen.
Workers focus on opening flooded Gisborne roads
NZ Herald 22.10.05
 Civil Defence workers in Gisborne are focussing their attention on opening some of the roads out of the city. All roads into and out of Gisborne are blocked by floodwaters or slips, after a night of exceptional rain in the district. MetService says up to 300 millimetres fell in parts of the region, peaking at 36 millimetres an hour. Civil Defence spokesman Richard Steele says high on the list is clearing State Highway 2 between Napier and Gisborne, to prevent a petrol crisis. He says Gisborne only has enough fuel for four days, but he is confident the road can be reopened by tomorrow. Road blockages have also closed SH2 between Matawai and Te Karaka while extreme caution is urged between Hastings and Waipawa. State Highway 35 between Tokomaru Bay and Gisborne is also closed with surface flooding requiring the need for extreme caution between Te Kaha and Gisborne. A slip has closed SH 5 between Taupo and Eskdale.
Water, power, roads cut in Gisborne
NZ Herald 22.10.05
The east coast of the North Island is facing a massive cleanup after torrential rains over night cut roads, electricity and the water supply. Gisborne and parts of the East Coast appear to have been particularly badly hit with over 300mm of rain falling in some spots in the past 24 hours while Hawke's Bay also felt the brunt of the storms. Gisborne itself had recorded about 180mm of rain while near Tokomaru Bay, both Hikuwai and Te Puia Springs had received a massive 350mm. Gisborne civil defence officer Richard Steele said some people were still stranded by the rain but nobody was believed to be in danger.
One of the worst-hit areas was just north of Tolaga Bay where 15 people had to be evacuated. At the peak of the rainfall, 32mm was recorded in an hour at Hikuwai. This morning the city of Gisborne was completely isolated with roads north and south closed. The east coast road was even worse and not likely to fully open for days. There were reports a rescue helicopter was being sent to try and reach some families trapped on a hill but no further details were available... Gisborne District Council spokeswoman Sheridan Gundry said at least 50 people had needed evacuation... Ms Gundry said the Hikuwai River north of Gisborne was as high as it was during Cyclone Bola when it devastated the region in 1988. [...]
District saturated, hundreds cut off
Gisborne Herald  Saturday, 22 October, 2005
TORRENTIAL rain deluged the whole of the Gisborne and East Coast yesterday, forcing dozens of people to be evacuated, trapping others in cars and completely isolating the city... The Poverty Bay Flats were left looking like a lake as rain and river levels approached Cyclone Bola levels in some areas... Mr Steele said there were some extremely heavy falls since the rain began at about 5 pm Thursday night. The heaviest reported was at Hikuwai north of Tolaga Bay, where by this morning 368 mm had fallen. During that time the heaviest fall was recorded at 32mm in one hour. There were numerous other falls of up to 24mm and in Gisborne City itself was recorded by this morning. Other unofficial recordings put the rainfall at Cyclone Bola levels. [...]
Massive East Coast clean-up underway
STUFF MONDAY , 24 OCTOBER 2005
By ANNA CHALMERS
Flood-affected Gisborne residents have started cleaning up masses of silt and debris after the biggest devastation to hit the region since Cyclone Bola. Floodwaters around Tolaga Bay and the Poverty Bay plains receded quickly yesterday as the sun shone and more than 3000 enjoyed the Gisborne Wine and Food Festival...
Devastation to crops north of Gisborne is expected to hit the local economy hard. Federated Farmers regional spokesman John Moroney said many farms had only just planted squash, broccoli, sweetcorn, maize and tomatoes. "There are a lot of newly sown paddocks that are covered in silt. There must be quite a significant loss to the rural areas of the community," he said. River levels were close to those of Cyclone Bola in March 1988. [...]
Deluge hit near-record levels
NZ Herald 26.10.05
The depression that moved over eastern parts of the North Island at Labour weekend brought near-record amounts of rain, says the MetService. The Gisborne area bore the brunt, with Hikuwai, 7km southwest of Tokomaru Bay, recording 350mm of rain in the 36 hours to 10am on Saturday, and Te Puia Springs, 25km south of Ruatoria, recording 340mm, said spokesman Bob McDavitt. Both these places had peak rain rates of 35mm an hour. Parts of Hawkes Bay to the north of Napier received more than 100mm and parts of Bay of Plenty and Coromandel recorded up to 70mm, he said. The exact cost of the flood damage is not yet known, but is likely to run into millions of dollars. The weather had since improved, assisting clean-up efforts.
"The high-pressure region that arrived over Labour weekend is still bringing long sunny periods to much of New Zealand," Mr McDavitt said. "It is now helping to dry out the affected farmlands."[...]
Flood cost could be millions
NZ Herald 26.10.05
By Juliet Rowan
Early estimates of damage from the weekend floods on the East Coast have put the cost at millions of dollars.
Crop farmers from the worst-affected areas of Tolaga Bay and Poverty Bay Flats met officials from the Gisborne District Council, Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at two meetings yesterday. Former Gisborne mayor John Clarke, who is managing the recovery effort, said questionnaires given to the farmers confirmed that 3000ha of horticultural farmland had been damaged. He said the cost of crop losses and cleaning up 2000ha affected on the Poverty Bay Flats and 1000ha at Tolaga Bay would be substantial. "It's likely to be millions of dollars."
About 175 farmers attended the meetings. The level of attendance reflected the severity of the impact on the cropping sector, said Mr Clarke. Many farmers had yet to fully assess damage, but estimated that 740ha of squash, 600ha of maize, 420ha of sweetcorn and several hundred hectares of newly sown grass had been affected. "There are also many kilometres of fences that are in need of repair and much silt to be removed from the land," Mr Clarke said. [...]
Flood aftermath shown to minister
TVNZ Oct 30, 2005
More than a week since floods devastated the East Coast, officials on Sunday revealed the damage is much worse than first thought.The repair bill is now estimated at well over $10 million, and on Sunday afternoon farmers in the flood-stricken region sought help from new Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton. Mark De Costa lost over $500,000 worth of squash and corn in the floods. The farm has been in his family for 40 years and now he may have to sell up. "Gutted, absolutely gutted... I lie in bed at night wondering what the hell we're doing and why we're doing it," says De Costa. On Sunday he had a chance to get his message across to Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton. Anderton was told that hundreds of growers have been hit in a massive blow to Poverty Bay's multi-million dollar cropping industry. During the torrential downpour, 12,000mm of rain fell in just two days, swamping 3,000 hectares of land. The silt that is now left in paddocks means some growers will not be able to replant for at least another year. [...]

Flood relief package approved
NZ Herald  01.11.05
 The Cabinet has approved the first stage of a relief package for flood-stricken East Coast farmers. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton, who visited the region at the weekend, said the "early response" phase would offer income support through the Rural Assistance scheme and Enhanced Taskforce Green teams to help clean up. "It is important to provide prompt support to those affected by the Gisborne and Tolaga Bay flooding, even though the damage is not as extensive as Cyclone Bola or the lower North Island flood event in February 2004," he said. "We must assist the region to maintain their confidence, optimism and security for the future." The Cabinet also agreed there should be further investigation into extra support for farmers and horticulturists who experienced significant flood damage...
The Rural Assistance scheme comes under the Special Needs Grant programme and allows the Ministry of Social Development to provide financial assistance to cover essential living costs for farmers affected by adverse events. [...]
Hoping Cabinet will fund $4 million relief package for district’s growers
Gisborne Herald
Monday, 7 November, 2005
THE medium-term future of Gisborne growers and landowners as they try to overcome $10 million of crop losses hangs on a decision from Cabinet today. Two weeks after the flooding that affected 2200 hectares of Gisborne and Tolaga Bay horticultural land, flood recovery manager John Clarke says that Cabinet will decide today whether to fund a $4 million relief package for the region... Considering the number of adverse weather events the Government has responded to in the past 18 months, he expects a "do nothing" response from Treasury and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
No aid package for our flood-hit crops
Gisborne Herald
Friday, 25 November, 2005
There is no Government help for Gisborne growers with more than 3000 hectares of prime early market crops lost in the spring flood that swept through the region. The Cabinet decision announced last night said the Labour Weekend floods were not devastating enough. Recovery team manager John Clarke said there would be many disappointed growers and landowners who were hopeful the Government would provide further assistance... Around 100 farmers estimate farm gate losses from the flooding to be $10 million. The recovery team and Vegfed proposed a $3.8 million grower replanting package to help the region. Meanwhile,, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and Social Development Ministry officials would continue to carefully monitor how people affected by the East Coast floods were coping.The Government had already provided a $150,000 flood assistance package to help recovery. This package included $70,000 for Task Force Green personnel, $20,000 for heavy equipment hire and $60,000 for unforeseen costs, Mr Anderton said.
Heavy rain hits grape and cherry growers hard
NZ Herald 28.11.05
The heavy rain that hit Hawke's Bay at the weekend could not have come at a worse time for grape and cherry growers. The rain has split much of the early cherry crop just a few days before harvest. Grower Brian Fulford said as much as 70 per cent of their early variety had been split and they would make a decision in a few days whether to pick any of it. Later varieties planned for Christmas seem to be unaffected so far, he said. He wouldn't put a dollar figure on their loss.
"It's too depressing. The rain couldn't have come at a worse time." [...]
COMMENT:  Gisborne area flooded for a second time in five weeks. Coincidence? (30.11.05)
Extra aid for flood zone ruled out
NZ Herald 30.11.05
The Government will not compensate flood-hit Gisborne growers, and says it cannot be expected to mop up every time there is bad weather. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said he sympathised with people affected by the second round of flooding to douse Gisborne in five weeks. "It's not pleasant to be faced with the prospect of not being able to say 'yes' to people in need, in terms of a virtual blank cheque," Mr Anderton told reporters. "But I think in the interests of all New Zealanders we have to face the fact we don't have an adequate basis on which to look at a government assistance for weather events of the kind that are going to recur very regularly in New Zealand."
The Government previously announced it would not offer more than usual assistance to Gisborne after the Labour weekend floods. Criteria for Government intervention were that the event was rare, extreme and economically significant, in other words that government assistance was vital for recovery, Mr Anderton said. "But if we are as a Government to offer financial assistance ... that is over and above the normal Taskforce Green-type approach of rehabilitation, then this will be a financial commitment of very significant consequence," he said.

Over Labour weekend last month torrential rain lashed the region, with some areas north of Gisborne receiving more than 300mm of rain. Both floods involved evacuations and millions of dollars of crops were destroyed...
The Waipaoa River on Monday night threatened to burst its banks after heavy rain and strong winds caused flooding, power cuts and road closures. More than 400 residents of Te Karaka, 32km northwest of Gisborne, were on standby to evacuate. Grower Mike Newman said yesterday that although the recent flooding was not as severe as last month's, it would still hurt growers. [...]
Weather leaves the country in a spin
NZ Herald 02.12.05
Last month produced a mixed bag of weather: some regions were hit by floods and others had their driest November in 60 years. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said rainfall was 125 to 250 per cent of normal levels in Coromandel, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and the far southwest of the South Island. But less than a quarter of normal rainfall fell in Taranaki, Kapiti and Golden Bay. Paraparaumu and New Plymouth airports recorded their driest November in at least 60 years.
Meanwhile, Gisborne was hit by flooding for the second time in a month on November 27 and 28. Widespread flooding in October following torrential rain destroyed hundreds of hectares of crops.
Temperatures were average or above average in the South Island, and average or below average overall in the North Island. The national average temperature was 13.9C, 0.2C above average. [...]



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