TWM POWER CUTS - NORTH & SOUTH ISLAND, 2006

 An energy infrastructure weakness exposed by severe weather. Also check out an earlier event.

COMMENT:
At a Maori economic development conference-workshop in Auckland 9 June, TWM commented on negative Pakeha institutional attitudes regarding Indigenous WM.

The focus of criticism was the lack of power-sharing and cooperation in dealing with weather related disasters. Alasdair Thompson, CEO of the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association, was among those present at the time.
A couple of days later, Auckland business activity ground to a halt as a result of power disruption caused by high winds.

Was it coincidence or synchronicity? Ask Helen. (17.06.06)

Pakeha government repeatedly asserts that it has absolute authority in its relationship with Maori. The events of the past two weeks plus certain constitutional realities reveal that such claims are just wishful thinking.

The bottom line is, "Who REALLY has power?" See below. (23.06.06)

NORTH ISLAND

Power disruption could cost millions

One News Jun 12, 2006
Police and other authorities activated emergency management plans after a 110-kilovolt feeder to the Otahuhu substation was lost in the rough weather. The outage highlights the vulnerability of Auckland, which accounts for about 16% of economic activity, and 17% of the country's jobs. Senior economist at Westpac, Nick Tuffley, says the blackout has an economic cost to business... The Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association says many firms are unable to perform their day to day operations without electricity. Chief executive at the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association Alasdair Thompson says this type of disruption deters firms investing in the region and he wants a full investigation into what happened to ensure it doesn't happen again. 
Power cut exposes lack of planning
One News Jun 12, 2006
Energy experts say the power crisis has exposed a lack of planning and investment in vital electricity infrastructure. 
Power is back in most parts of Auckland after the region was hit by a major blackout on Monday causing widespread disruption. High winds caused equipment failure at Transpower's Otahuhu substation to fail at about 8.30am on Monday.
Business leaders want answers from Transpower about how the system could fail at a cost of tens of millions of dollars... Monday's power cut brought back painful memories of central Auckland's big blackout eight years ago in 1998... Energy experts say state owned generators made an extra $180 million for the government earlier this year when power prices rose, but the grid has been neglected. And unless something is done soon, investors will go elsewhere they say. [...]
Power restored to Auckland after blackout
NZ Herald Monday June 12, 2006 
Power has been restored to most of Auckland after a blackout - thought to be caused by a storm sweeping the country - brought the city to a standstill. More than 700,000 people were affected as power was cut to thousands of homes on top of the hundreds of businesses in the CBD forced to close. Police described some of Auckland's intersections as "lunacy" as around 300 traffic lights went out just after 8.30am. Power began to return to parts of the city from 12.40pm.
The city council activated its emergency operations centre and Auckland City Police mobilised its district emergency management plan, something not done since 1998's power crisis... Transpower presumed the power failure was weather related but could not rule out a maintenance-related problem, he said. He said the incident was a rare one which occurred at the worst possible spot... But Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) chief executive Alasdair Thompson said Transpower's response was not good enough. "The half that was affected by area would have probably 80 per cent of Auckland within it, if not more," he said, adding that the weather was "pretty normal". Mr Thompson estimated the incident would have cost about $70 million in gross domestic product... Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard said questions had to be asked about why the CBD and 700,000 people should lose electricity through one section of power line going out.
[...]
Auckland's power hangs by a thread

NZ Herald Tuesday June 13, 2006
National electricity grid operator Transpower was under fire from political, business and civic leaders last night over the huge power cut that brought chaos to Auckland yesterday. The cause was a small earth wire which a wind gust snapped off a high-voltage pylon near the Otahuhu B substation, short-circuiting lines supplying electricity for 700,000 or more people throughout central, east and southwest Auckland... 

Warning sounded after 1998 crisis

Energy consultant Bryan Leyland said he sounded a warning after a $70 million power cable tunnel was completed between Penrose and central Auckland after the 1998 crisis that the region's weakest link was to the south. His call then for the link between Otahuhu and Penrose to be duplicated went unheeded and he believed it could still be built by upgrading a smaller detour line around Pakuranga for probably little more than the cost of yesterday's disruption. Transpower spokesman Chris Roberts acknowledged there had been little new investment in the national grid for the past 20 years but his organisation was considering such an idea among various upgrading options. [...]
Map of the affected area


City mayors power up for action
NZ Herald Saturday June 17, 2006
Fed-up Auckland mayors are calling on the Government to tighten its grip on national electricity grid operator Transpower to safeguard supplies to their region and the rest of New Zealand. The Auckland Mayoral Forum wants Transpower and the Electricity Commission turned into a single department to ensure direct control of supplies, which were cut to 700,000 people during Monday's blackout. "We have no faith that Transpower can guarantee supply and we believe its planning decisions have been poor," Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis said last night.  [...]
Power-cut threat for two years
NZ Herald Wednesday June 28, 2006
Auckland will remain vulnerable to power cuts for at least another two years as Transpower works on ways to reduce the city's dependence on one electricity substation. Three options to improve the reliability of Auckland's power supply were given yesterday in a report about the blackout which affected much of the city just over two weeks ago. But each of the options - including a new cable to Pakuranga - would take up to two years to complete.  [...]
New Zealand's power capacity 'under stress'

NZ Herald Wednesday July 19, 2006
The recent electricity shortages prove New Zealand needs to invest in more power, says the country's largest power generator. Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay said the fact that the country had to draw on all available generation plants during the extreme cold weather last month is a sign the system's capacity is under stress... This year was proving to be extremely challenging for managing Meridian's generating stations, as the new peak demand records coincided with record low inflows to the Waitaki system... "We have been saying for some time that the day of reckoning is coming, and it is closer than many people realise."
Auckland power cut
One News TVNZ Dec 26, 2006
On a brisk June morning shortly after 8:30am Auckland was plunged into darkness, when a 110-kilovolt feeder to the Otahuhu substation was lost in rough weather. The power outage left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, forcing businesses to close early and costing them an estimated $70 million. Supply gradually resumed from 12:30pm, but the outage was the worst since the Auckland blackouts of 1998. It highlighted the vulnerability of Auckland, which accounts for about 16% of economic activity, and 17% of the country's jobs. [...]
 
COMMENT: And the "Icing" on the cake? See below. Check out similar incidents in 2003 and in 2004. Also read the NIWA winter report 2006.

UPDATE: (06.11.06) MetService criticised for failure to warn re snowstorm. See below.

SOUTH ISLAND

Icy blast causes havoc throughout Canterbury

NZ Herald Monday June 12, 2006
Heavy snow throughout Canterbury today collapsed roofs, cut transport links, closed schools, felled power lines and kept workers at home as a wintry blast swept across the country... Thousands of houses and rural properties went without power today as the snow toppled trees, snapped branches and brought down power lines throughout the province.
Christchurch International Airport was closed from 8.30am until 1.30pm, affecting thousands of travellers, with airlines forced to divert and reschedule flights. Rural and city bus services were also cancelled and snow on the Midland rail line forced the cancellation of the Trans Alpine Express from Christchurch to Greymouth. Schools throughout the region were closed and Lincoln University, near Christchurch, was forced to cancel examinations scheduled for today... Thousands of electricity users throughout the province are expected to spend a cold dark night, with contractors finding some back country roads totally impassable... Contractors would work until dark and then be out again at first light tomorrow repairing lines brought down by snow or trees... MetService spokesman Hayward Osborn told NZPA the cold snap was caused by a deepening depression coming off the Tasman Sea and moving late this afternoon across the top of the South Island. The situation had brought gales to severe gales in the North Island and "dragged up very cold southerlies over the South Island"... Meanwhile, the stormy weather also caused disruption in other parts of the country. [...]
Day three without power in South Island
NZ Herald  Wednesday June 14, 2006
Thousands of South Islanders remained without power today following Monday's snow storm and energy companies warned it could be the weekend before all supplies are restored. Up to 1500 Canterbury residents today began their third day without power, with Canterbury's emergency management planner, Jon Mitchell, saying the Mackenzie Basin and the Hakataramea Valley were the hardest hit. He said contact had been made to some places, but some communities, including Caddington, in the Waimate District, remained cut off... Telecom spokeswoman Sarah Berry said 8000 to 10,000 customers had been affected by phone outages, but by last night that number was down to about 3300. [...]
South's big freeze far from finished
NZ Herald Thursday June 15, 2006
More cold weather is on the way for snow-bound Canterbury, still thawing out from Monday's paralysing blizzard. Thousands of rural properties remained without electricity for the third day in a row yesterday and lines companies warned that some more remote homes were likely to have no power until early next week. As local authorities continued the clean-up, MetService forecasters predicted more cold, snowy weather. Brief spells of northwesterly winds were expected overnight and today, but a frigid southerly flow was expected to spread over the south and east of the South Island from tomorrow. In Canterbury and Otago, snow showers should be mostly light and brief, but the snow was likely to be more prolonged in Southland, said the Met Service. Another cold southerly outbreak was expected on Sunday.[...]
Thousands still without power as new cold blast approaches
NZ Herald Friday June 16, 2006
Thousands of people are still without an electricity supply as a fresh southerly nears the South Island. Southland and Otago are likely to be worst hit this time, and some heavy snow showers are possible, MetService said.Though the numbers of properties without power dropped sharply today, between 1000 and 1500 properties were still without electricity in South Canterbury. Electricity lines companies said they were making progress five days after heavy snow hit the region. Alpine Energy chief executive Greg Skelton today said some of the more remote properties were continuing to face a wait of up to two weeks before full power is restored.  [...]
Grim weekend in store as new cold fronts hit
NZ Herald Saturday June 17, 2006
New Zealand faces a bitter winter weekend with a cold front blasting up the South Island. Residents in Canterbury, where thousands last night endured their fifth night without power, were warned to stock up on essential items as the front approached. MetService forecaster Bob Lake said a front was moving over Southland last night and another would hit tomorrow.  [...]
Anger as big freeze worsens
NZ Herald Sunday June 18, 2006
South Island residents still without power were angry yesterday at the slow response to their plight. As the big freeze entered its sixth day, thousands were still without electricity - some without water or telephones - with many facing weeks before lines are fixed... Yesterday, Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker's flying tour of the worst-affected regions was delayed when his helicopter broke down. When he arrived in Fairlie at noon, he praised the rural communities who rallied through what some locals say is the worst snowfall since 1943. MetService predicted more wintry blasts for the South Island today, which could bring snow as low as 300m in Canterbury. Thunderstorms and hail were forecast for the North Island, a repeat of yesterday's weather when lightning struck North Shore Hospital, cutting off power and forcing it to use a back-up generator. Some telephones were cut off after the 8.30am lightning strike, which damaged three houses in the suburb of Westlake, where a house's chimney exploded, the fireplace blew out and the wiring was fried.  [...]
Wild winter weather wreaks havoc on roads
NZ Herald Monday June 19, 2006
A belt of icy weather making its way around the country has played havoc with parts of the roading network. While all major roads in the South Island were now open, icy conditions have made driving treacherous in some areas of Canterbury, Otago and Southland. Drivers in Fiordland and North Otago and Mid-Canterbury have been warned to drive to the conditions and to carry chains if possible. In the Central North Island heavy snowfalls continued to take their toll with the Desert Road remaining closed overnight. [...]
Winter's icy fury set to continue
The Press TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 2006
Snow, rain, high winds and cold temperatures have closed roads and caused power cuts across the North Island and forecasters are warning of more bad weather on the way... Strong winds brought down power lines in Taranaki and Bay of Plenty last night, cutting power to thousands of homes... About 12,000 homes and businesses were also affected by a power blackout in Rotorua for nearly two hours yesterday. Stormy conditions hammered Hawke's Bay and Gisborne, with snow falling in the Tarawera ranges and on the Napier-Taihape road, which was closed overnight on Sunday. Gales and heavy rain throughout yesterday were expected to ease this morning... The polar blast is expected to return to most of the country tomorrow and could linger beyond the weekend... MetService forecaster Mads Naeraa said the "conveyer belt of polar air", which caused violent storms to lash parts of the country during the past week would again send more bad weather our way. [...]
Civil Defence hits back over handling of storm
NZ Herald Tuesday June 20, 2006
Canterbury's civil defence authority is defending its handling of last week's paralysing snowstorm as Prime Minister Helen Clark wades in and hundreds of households enter a second week without power. The "weather bomb" that hit Canterbury a week ago yesterday brought heavy snowfalls down to sea level, closed roads throughout the region and brought down dozens of power and phone lines. Soldiers and Army vehicles were used to get relief to stranded residents. About 1700 households in Mid-Canterbury and South Canterbury are still without power and may have to wait until next week as more than 200 electricity lines staff work to get it restored. [...]
Get set for another icy blast
NZ Herald  Wednesday June 21, 2006
The country will remain in an icy grip in the next few days, with civil defence staff standing by for another dumping of snow forecast for the South Island... The South Island is bracing for another 15cm of snow and 800 homes are going into their 10th day without power... And the North Island does not escape - heavy showers, cold southerlies, thunderstorms and possibly hail are forecast in some areas from tomorrow... The cold front was expected to hit the South Island overnight and Cook Strait tonight, followed by freezing southerlies. The front is expected to intensify and deepen into a slow-moving low as it moves over the North Island tomorrow, with bad weather lasting into the weekend... The country has already broken its record for electricity use, burning through 6630MW of power between 5.30pm and 6pm on Monday, up 2 per cent on the high of 6513MW in 2004. [...]
Cuts to continue as power use soars
NZ Herald Thursday June 22, 2006
National grid operator Transpower has warned consumers that water heating cuts will continue as long as the very cold weather lasts. As snow fell yet again in the South Island, and 1400 Canterbury homes went into their 11th day without power, electricity use in the upper South Island surged to a new record... The immense power of New Zealand's week of storms has also been felt on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. CBS news reported that a surge of waves initiated off the coast of New Zealand had battered homes and beachfront businesses from Peru to Mexico. Hugh Cobb, a forecaster at the United States' National Hurricane Centre in Miami, said the waves resulted from a particularly intense low pressure system several hundred kilometres off New Zealand that caused hurricane force winds and snowfalls at sea level. "The storm system that generated these waves was fairly extraordinary," Mr Cobb said. [...]
New freezing blast sweeps country
NZ Herald Thursday June 22, 2006
Another cold front sweeping the country has closed roads and turned southern regions into an ice rink, police say. The Desert Road and State Highway 35 between Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast have been closed in the North Island, while SH8 between Omarama and Tarras and SH87 between Mosgiel and Middlemarch are closed due to snow. [...]
Central North isolated by vicious blast
Fairfax NZ FRIDAY, 23 JUNE 2006
The central North Island is virtually isolated after a vicious southerly storm and no relief is in sight. Snow and ice closed roads and cut off towns in the region yesterday, while heavy rain is expected to cause flooding on the east coast... The storm also brought sleet and gale-force winds to Wellington, and seven-metre swells in Cook Strait. The South Island – still recovering from a blizzard last week – appears to have escaped further damage, though many roads were still impassable and about 1400 homes were still without power. However, it was the middle of the North Island that suffered most yesterday. Schools and businesses either could not open or were forced to close early, while roads were almost impassable...  MetService forecaster Leigh Couper said that sustained gale-force winds, which gusted up to 120km/h, blasted Wellington for much of yesterday. A severe heavy rain and snow warning has been issued over the Central North Island, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne as the wintry blast tightens its grip. [...]
Wintry blast stretches electricity supplies
NZ Herald Saturday June 24, 2006
Peak power demand has surged to new highs as the North Island feels the icy grip of winter and the South Island continues its slow recovery. In the South Island about 1000 homes are still without power....The weather of the past two weeks, plus power cuts in both the North and South Islands and record power demands, have raised fresh questions about the security of the country's supply... Transpower spokesman Chris Roberts said the security of supply was not adequate and that was why $3 billion to $4 billion was being spent to upgrade the national grid over the next four to six years. [...]
Clark vows to aid SI victims of snowstorm
The Press SATURDAY, 24 JUNE 2006
The Government will urgently address welfare issues raised by the central South Island snowstorm and promises to have a top-level word to Telecom about communication problems. Prime Minister Helen Clark has called in help after hearing in Ashburton yesterday that some snow-bound families were at breaking point... The Government is working urgently on setting up a one-stop shop helpline to address concerns of families who have spent many days without power, phone or contact with the outside world... Clark praised the efforts of local councils, civil defence, and lines companies, but criticised Telecom's effort... Clark was told welfare was the key issue for the district now, and that there was no feed buffer for snow-hit farmers should more snow arrive.
Blizzards likely to ease today
NZ Herald Saturday June 24, 2006
The wintry conditions moved up the East Coast of the North Island yesterday, closing schools and roads, cutting power and phone lines and stranding up to 1000 bus passengers. But the snow, heavy rain and high winds that hit areas around the East Cape, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay were expected to move offshore overnight...
Canterbury snowstorm up there with the worst
* The snowstorm that struck the South Island on June 11-12 brought between 75cm and 90cm of snow to the townships of Fairlie and Burkes Pass in the South Island's Mackenzie district. The coastal towns of Ashburton received 38cm and Timaru 24cm.
* The last similar-sized storm was on August 5-6, 1973, when 90cm of snow fell at Methven, in Mid-Canterbury, when 100,000 sheep were killed and the power supply and communications were badly disrupted, as in the latest storm.
* In November 1967, between 60cm and 90cm fell in the South Island's Mackenzie district. Up to 70,000 sheep were killed, there were widespread power outages and crop losses, and some called it the worst snowfall in living memory.[...]
More snow storms on the way 
NZ Herald Monday June 26, 2006
New Zealand has not seen the last of the severe weather. Fresh storms are forecast to bring more snow to both islands this week. The MetService is expecting more falls down to 700m in the east coast region of the North Island today, and snow is forecast later in the week for the South Island, where about 350 households are still without power... The east coast is still recovering from snow, rain and lightning strikes which left residents without power and phone lines since late last week.... A cold front is forecast by the MetService to move up the South Island on Thursday, bringing snow to low levels in Southland, Otago and Canterbury. [...]
Coldest June since 1972, with more snow set for holidays 
NZ Herald Monday July 3, 2006
We knew it was really, really cold and official records confirm it. Last month was the coldest June since 1972 - in parts of the South Island it was the coldest in half a century. The month also threw everything at us weatherwise: gale-force winds, flooding and even a tornado. The only surprise in the latest National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) figures was that Auckland had its sunniest June... The two big weather events for the month were the snowstorm which blasted South Canterbury and North Otago on June 11-12 - Auckland was battered by high winds and rain on the 12th which cut power to the CBD for around eight hours - and the snowstorm that hit the central and eastern North Island on 20-22 June. In between, there was flooding and a tornado near Greymouth and gale-force winds - a gust of 146km/h was recorded near Mt Kaukau near Wellington - on June 11 with another breezy blast hitting the North Island on June 19, bringing down trees in Tauranga and damaging powerlines in Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne... "The thing about winters in the last decade has been that they have been warm and suddenly we got a cold month," Dr Salinger said... A messy trough of low pressure is expected to spread over much of the country from today, with an associated cold front beginning its sweep up both islands and yet another cold, southerly change arriving in its wake. [...]
Storm damage a serious blow to farming and regional roading

Gisborne Herald
Wednesday, 12 July, 2006
Now is the time for the Government to have a good look at the country’s whole regional roading network and our civil defence system. We are not suggesting that our politicians are to blame for the bad weather or the storm damage that seems to be occurring with increasing regularity. But we only have to look at the extent of repair work necessary to regional roads this winter to be aware that our transport links are suspect. And farmers have been losing bridges and valuable land from slips and flooding. It has also raised questions about civil defence. In most instances the reports are positive but indicate that this could probably be afforded more resources... But the storm damage the country is receiving is worrying. The scale of damage this month, and the winter is far from over, is enough to make many wonder just how vulnerable the country’s regions are. Regarding Wairarapa, Mr Barker said: "The place is sodden. It’s full to the brim. But the systems have coped well, we’re in recovery phase now." [...]
Weather pushes insurance premiums
NZ Herald Saturday July 15, 2006
Insurance premiums are likely to rise as a result of the increasing frequency of destructive weather events associated with climate change, Tower Group says. The transtasman insurer yesterday updated the market on $5.1 million in net claims resulting mostly from recent floods and last month's South Island snowstorm which the Insurance Council said had caused industry losses of about $35 million.
After a long period of profitability in its New Zealand general insurance business, the increasing frequency of costly weather events meant the losses so far this winter were not unexpected....
The type of severe weather events seen recently had previously been referred to as one in a 100-, one in 200-, or even one in 500-year events, "we seem to be getting them more frequently now"... House insurance payouts last year were well in excess of 100 per cent of premium payments and the losses had been unsustainable for several years. [...]
More snow shuts Canterbury roads
NZ Herald Wednesday July 19, 2006
More bad weather has hit the country, with snow closing Canterbury roads and heavy rain predicted for the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty. State Highway 73 between Canterbury and the West Coast has already been shut due to snow, and further south, chains are essential on State Highway 8 between Fairlie and Twizel... The MetService earlier said snowfalls should ease overnight, but were expected to affect all the higher roads, especially the Porter and Arthurs Passes. Meanwhile, forecasters warned of heavy rain in the Coromandel Peninsular and western Bay of Plenty. Sixty to 80mm of rain is expected to fall in the ranges from this afternoon until early on Thursday and the MetService has advised people to watch for rapidly rising rivers and slips. Other northern regions, including Northland,Auckland, Waikato and Taupo could see some brief heavy falls today, but are not expected to reach warning criteria, the MetService said.
Flooding, snow and landslips hit North and South

NZ Herald Friday July 21, 2006
Storms continued to lash the lower North Island today, while an icy blast moved up the South Island bringing heavy snow and ice. Widespread flooding again hit the Wairarapa and landslips caused evacuations in Wellington. While the rain was forecast to ease later in the day, the cold southerly was expected to bring gale force winds in exposed coastal areas south of Hawkes Bay and snow down to sea-level in the South Island and to 300m in the lower North Island. Ice and snow closed State Highway 1 at the Desert Road between Rangipo and Waiouru in the central North Island shortly before 9am, but it was reopened this morning.
In the South Island, the Wakatipu Basin received about 10cm of snow by mid-morning, Queenstown Lakes District Council communications manager Meaghan Miller said...Snow was falling on some areas of Port Hills and Banks Peninsula in Christchurch and forced some road closures. The Automobile Association was advising extreme caution, with Otago-Southland roads among the hardest hit by snow and ice.
Hutt City Council emergency management controller Paul Nickalls said around 30 people were evacuated in the hilly Wellington seaside suburb of Eastbourne around 9pm yesterday after a landslip... Mr Nickalls said around 25 houses were evacuated, with residents being housed at the local fire station before moving on to spend the night with family or friends...State Highway 4 between Raetihi and Wanganui is closed due to landslips and flooding, with alternate routes via State Highway 3 still open. Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws said that after the flooding of two weeks ago, the ground couldn't cope with much more water...
In Wairarapa, heavy rain caused widespread surface flooding overnight throughout the region, particularly in south eastern areas... Given the already saturated conditions in the Wairarapa, the GWRC was advising people to be on the alert for rising rivers and streams as well as further localised flooding and slips...
Transit New Zealand issued a swathe of road warnings for black ice, snow and sleet. Light snow was falling in Dunedin and chains were required in many parts of Otago and Southland, particularly between Alexandra and Roxburgh... The extreme weather affected interisland ferry sailings across the Cook Strait. [...]
Ice, flooding and slips still affecting roads

NZ Herald Saturday July 22, 2006
The sun reappeared over much of the country this morning but ice, flooding and slips kept some roads closed after snow and rain lashed the country yesterday... MetService figures showed July was shaping up to be one of the wettest on record, with the lower North Island having been hit particularly hard by heavy rain...
Heavy rain around Wellington has caused slips on roads and eroded properties. A spokesman for the South Wairarapa rural fire service said the sun was shining today and floodwaters which had risen yesterday had subsided but farmland was saturated.Many roads in the region were still only passable in 4WD vehicles.MetService forecaster Allister Gorman told NZPA the southerly which lashed much of the country had moved east and a cool southwest flow was likely for the next four to five days.
[...]
July's rain out of the ordinary

NZ Herald Tuesday August 1, 2006
July's wet weather was due to an unusual cluster of weather patterns, says MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt. He said parts of the Wairarapa and Wanganui had their wettest July on record after being hit by three rain-making low pressure systems on July 4-7, 12-16 and 19-22. Mr McDavitt said another low-pressure system was expected to cross central New Zealand later this week, and could bring some heavy rain to the eastern Bay of Plenty on Wednesday.

Floods 'wake-up call' for homeowners
NZ Herald Thursday August 10, 2006
Flooding over the past few days is likely to cost insurers millions of dollars and the Insurance Council says more money will be paid in claims this winter than ever before... New Zealand had experienced one of the most destructive and expensive winters this year, with a clean-up bill already into the tens of millions of dollars and set to climb much higher after recent heavy rains. Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said the wet winter had lasted so long that soil that previously would not have slipped away from slopes was creating slips in areas that had not experienced them before. He said this was a wake-up call for New Zealanders to manage the land better...
Recent snow storms in the South Island were the worst in New Zealand's history, the council said. On top of the $50 million expected to be paid out for the South Island snow storms, the council in recent years paid out $22 million for the Coromandel "weather bomb", $112 million for Manawatu floods, $58 million for Queenstown flooding, $10 million for Greymouth tornados and $30 million for floods in Matata and Tauranga. [...]

Bitingly cold for now, but sunny days ahead
NZ Herald Monday August 14, 2006
Winter appears reluctant to relax its icy grip with more freezing weather forecast for much of the country today. A cold front that swept up the country over the weekend bringing snow to the lower South Island has been followed by an unsettled low pressure system expected to bring polar air to most places until at least tomorrow afternoon.... The cold west to southwest showery flow is expected to reach the central North Island around lunchtime. Wind, showers and rain are expected to ease from tomorrow afternoon or evening as a high pressure system moves over the country from the Tasman Sea and hangs around for most of the week...
Although sunny days are on their way, don't expect balmy weather just yet.

Forecasters review system after missing storm
The Press MONDAY, 06 NOVEMBER 2006
The MetService is taking another look at how it forecasts heavy snow after it failed to predict June's crippling Canterbury snowstorm. The June 12 weather bomb brought up to a metre of snow to parts of Mid-Canterbury, caused an estimated $100 million of damage to farms and the economy, and left thousands of Cantabrians without electricity in the subsequent cold snap, some for as long as three weeks. In some places the storm brought snow even deeper than the great July 1945 fall. The MetService came under immediate fire for failing to warn the public of heavy snow to sea level until there was half a metre of it lying across parts of the plains.
Now, the state-owned enterprise has reviewed its efforts as it said it would when it admitted it could have done better, even though it also said then it was possible nothing could be learnt from what might have been a "freak event". National forecast centre manager, Peter Kreft, told The Press the service was planning some changes with the way it forecast snow in Canterbury...
"In terms of whether an event like this could be forecast better next time, it pays to remember that it was both an extreme and a rare event. By definition, such events ... are difficult to identify," he said. "Forecast systems which produce successful predictions of rare events also produce lots of false alarms. Forecasts of severe weather which turn out to be false alarms are often not well-received by users – it generally costs them in some way." [...]

Coldsnap freezes the south
One News TVNZ Dec 26, 2006

2006 was a year of unpredictable weather, especially in June when a $100 million snowstorm paralysed much of the South Island - it was the heaviest snowfall in over 60 years. Nineteen thousand customers were left without power, the infrastructure simply could not cope and trains, planes and vehicles ground to a halt. When the weather did clear, the extent of the storm was apparent, but no-one realised how long its effects would be felt. It was three weeks before the last Electricity Ashburton customer was reconnected and even longer for the snow to disappear. Six months on from the storm, the costs continued to be felt.

 
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