Foreshore & Seabed Aftermath

COMMENT:  (29.12.04) If Pakeha govt believes it can steal the F&S and evade retribution... think again. So ends an extraordinary $multi-billion catastrophic year; the most successful so far in negative weather engineering.

1. Auckland Millennium Celebration, 2000
2. From "Cold Showers" to "Cold Snaps", 2003
3. Summer, 2003-04
4. The Big Flood, Feb 2004
Bay of Plenty floods, July 2004
6. Floods-Blizzard, Aug 2004

See Flood #4 below. Also NIWA climate summary below.

Rain on 119 days this year - and more's on the way
NZ Herald 27.10.2004
"... For the year to date it's been close to a record but it was saved by a record-dry March," said National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Georgina Griffiths."This year has been a really mixed bag for New Zealand, stormy and unsettled with very large swings such as the extreme cold in August and the one-in-100-year Manawatu floods."
Rain has fallen in Auckland on 119 days so far this year; the annual average is 111 days... Later this week, the weather will get worse. Rain is expected over much of the country by Friday as a low-pressure system moves in from the west, followed by a cold southerly change on Saturday... But by Friday the low pressure will bring rain to much of the south. [...]
Grey, windy summer in store for us
NZ Herald 04.11.2004
After enduring a winter of severe flooding and icy weather, New Zealanders will be rewarded with ... a decidedly average summer. Niwa released its seasonal climate forecast yesterday and the outlook is for windy, grey weather rather than endless days of golden sun. Weak El Nino conditions are expected to continue next year, which will mean strong west to southwest winds over the country until January. In El Nino years the trade winds weaken, giving northern New Zealand relatively cold, dry weather... MetService meteorologists are forecasting gusty northwesterlies about and south of Wellington for tomorrow and are warning people to save their fireworks until Friday, when the winds should ease. A low-pressure system is crossing the Tasman Sea. MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said the northwest flow ahead of this low would bring gusty conditions to the Cook Strait area today and hot, dry weather to the east of the South Island.
Storm's blast leaves trail of damage
NZ Herald 16.11.2004
The wild weather that rolled across the upper half of the North Island overnight on Sunday headed south yesterday, carrying a mix of high winds, heavy rainfall, thunder and lightning. The storm left 8000 homes in Gisborne without power after lightning hit a transformer. Roofs in some other centres were damaged in the battering and trees and branches were down. And the action is not over yet. Forecasters warn that heavy, thundery showers will move back on to the North Island later today...  Waikato and Bay of Plenty were thrashed by rain, battered by gales and unsettled by severe thunderstorms as the front passed through early yesterday. A carport roof was whipped away from a block of flats at Omanu, near Mt Maunganui. Firefighters were called to dismantle the heap of iron and timber which landed 40m away and threatened to take flight again. Debris littered streets and driveways as squalls tore down branches and leaves. Rotorua got a dousing of 34mm of rain over 24 hours and the Eastern Bay of Plenty ranges and the Coromandel's Pinnacles were soaked. High winds whipped Wellington yesterday afternoon, with gusts of up to 100 km/h in exposed places. On 560m-high Mt Kaukau, 124km/h was recorded. MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said strong winds affecting all areas from Taranaki to Nelson in the west and from Hawkes Bay to Marlborough in the east were caused by a deep low-pressure centre that had formed at the back end of the front that crossed on Sunday night. [.
'Ordinary' summer predicted
Holidaymakers hoping for a long, hot summer may be in for a disappointment. The weather may be one of normal temperatures and dry conditions in the north and east of the country, but cooler and wetter in the west and southwest, according to predictions released by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) today.
Air temperatures are expected to be near average in the North Island and eastern South Island, and average or below average elsewhere. Rainfall is expected to be normal or below normal in the north and east of the North Island and the eastern South Island, and normal or above normal in western regions of both islands... But predictions do not always become reality. In August to October air temperatures were lower than predicted by NIWA in all regions. There was less rainfall than predicted in the north of the North Island and parts of the west of the South Island, while the south of the North Island and parts of the eastern and southern South Island were wetter than predicted.
Foreshore and Seabed Bill passed 19 November 2004.
'Average' summer in the wind THURSDAY, 02 DECEMBER 2004
As the mercury touched 26 degrees in Napier and Hastings on the first day of summer, a prominent forecaster predicts most of the country can expect an "average" summer. Warm conditions yesterday... are not an indication of the weather we can expect for the rest of summer. Bob McDavitt from MetService said extreme weather like that summer, including the disastrous February floods, was most unlikely. Conditions in the south and west of the country would be wet and cool, while it would be dry and sunny in the north and east. Temperatures, sunshine hours and rainfall in most areas would be close to normal. The weather would be warmest in late January and early February, and the most settled be in March... New Zealand's weather would be dominated by a weak El Nino pattern, which would ensure fewer tropical weather systems than normal making their way to our shores. [...]
Keep winter woollies handy - summer could be cool
NZ Herald 02.12.04
Don't pack away your winter clothes just yet - the early signs are that we may be in for a colder summer than usual. The sea temperature at Auckland University's Leigh marine laboratory has been colder than usual since February and is still only 15.8C, almost 2C colder than normal for this time of year. "My guess is that it will be a colder than average summer," said the laboratory's climate monitoring supervisor, Jo Evans.
But as usual, just as summer starts, forecasters are hedging their bets. Dr Jim Salinger of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said he saw no reason to change Niwa's last long-range forecast for "average or near-average" But the above-average temperatures were in the southern North Island and South Island. Auckland Airport recorded the highest November sunshine hours since records started there in 1963, but with temperatures slightly below average and only half the usual rainfall. As a small country in the middle of the ocean, New Zealand's climate is dominated by what happens at sea. Niwa's sea surface temperature measurements, taken from satellites, showed colder than usual seas around most of the country in October, and its official outlook predicted that the sea would stay about 0.5C colder than usual from November to January. But in November, the colder-than-average area shrank to a small patch off Northland's east coast and a larger area around the southern South Island.
The experts agree that the weather is displaying "mild El Nino" conditions, when the trade winds across the Pacific weaken, bringing less warm surface water to the seas around New Zealand and Australia and more relatively cold, dry weather. But the former Leigh laboratory director who set up Leigh's daily monitoring system in 1967, Dr Bill Ballantine, said this year's patterns were "peculiar even by peculiar standards", starting with the storm that produced February's widespread floods. "Since then we have had a return to nearly normal and gone down again several times. A fortnight ago it went down sharply again... we basically don't understand it at all."
COMMENT: If climate scientists do not understand it's probably because they are stuck in the old materialist Cartesian- Newtonian paradigm. Time for a reality check.
High winds halt planes, lift off roofs
Planes were flying back into Wellington today after high winds closed the airport, lifted roofs and cut power to some parts of the central and lower North Island yesterday. MetService forecaster Andy Downs said gusts of up to 140kmh hit parts of Wellington late last night as the gale force southerly hit its peak. Winds of up to 110kmh prevented planes flying in and out of closed Wellington International Airport just before 7pm, but a spokesman today said flights had resumed this morning. ... Niwa figures show an average nationwide air temperature in November of 14.3C, or 0.6C above average. Mr Downs said winds in exposed higher parts of Wellington peaked at around 140kmh. He said gusts of 100-110km hit lower parts of the city. Kaikoura experienced gusts of up to 105kmh and Wairarapa and southern Hawke's Bay gusts of up to 100kmh, knocking out power to some parts of Wairarapa. Most areas were spared heavy rain, but Wellington's eastern hills and the Ruahine Ranges, near Palmerston North received between 100mm and 150mm, he said... He said the centre of the deepening low was far more ferocious, but passed about 200-300km west of New Zealand. [...]
Metservice issues weather warning

TVNZ Dec 18, 2004
The Metservice is warning motorists in the lower South Island to take care as an unseasonable spell of cold weather moves up the country. Lead forecaster John Crouch says an unstable cold southerly front should bring snow showers to parts of the South Island, and cold temperatures and rain elsewhere. He says up to four centimetres of snow could settle on some higher roads in western areas.
Grim weather causes chaos
TVNZ Dec 19, 2004
A cold, stormy weather front lashed it's way across the country on Saturday night, causing dangerous conditions for travellers. A two-week-old baby boy and his mother died in a horrific car crash near Taupo, in which passengers were thrown up to 50m away from the car when the driver lost control in wet, slippery conditions... Travelling was also icy and dangerous in other areas of the North Island, such as the Desert Road. On the Cook Strait, ferry passengers faced 5m swells, while Lynx ferry cancellations sent travellers scrambling for other ferry bookings. Freezing wind and cloud has hampered search efforts for missing hunter Donald Hooker in rugged bush near Taumaranui... The rain pelted its way as far up as Auckland, with massive hailstones denting and puncturing homes.
Hail in Auckland as icy weather hits the country
NZ Herald 19.12.04
Some parts of New Zealand are under serious threat of a white Christmas next week. Snow in Queenstown and hail in Auckland yesterday capped off a shocking week of weather - and left us reaching for the winter woollies... Ten centimetres of snow fell at Coronet Peak, while Christmas shoppers in Auckland were pelted by hail and rain as they endured a low of 9C. MetService expects the wintry weather to continue well into this week, but predicts sunshine for some areas by Christmas. MetService ambassador Bob McDavitt said the unseasonal weather was caused by low-pressure systems south of the Chathams. A high crossing the northern Tasman Sea was expected to bring fine weather to the north of New Zealand later this week. But the chances of a sunny Christmas were lower in southern parts of the country, with north-westerlies likely in the South Island and showers possible in Fiordland. Niwa senior climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said the outlook for summer was slightly better than last year in the North Island, but worse in the South. Summer would be windier than usual though, especially in the Wellington region. Snow is expected on the Desert Road this morning. [...]
Unseasonable weather having an impact
TVNZ Dec 20, 2004
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research says December could be a record cold month. A southerly blast over the weekend brought hail and snow to some areas of the country, as well as strong winds and rain. Weekend temperatures in the North Island were five or six degrees below average for the North Island at this time of year. But the South Island was worse with Dunedin and Invercargill recording temperatures six and eight degrees below average. NIWA says average temperatures in the South Island are four degrees below normal, which could put this month on track to be a record cold December.
The bad weather is having a big impact nationwide and not just on people being unable to head to the beach to top up their tan. Fruit growers say the recent bad weather will mean less of the traditional summer fruit like cherries and strawberries for Christmas Day. A number of orchards in the main fruit and berry growing areas were hit by hail storms over the weekend, causing some damage to berries and pipfruit in Hawke's Bay, Waikato, Auckland and Canterbury. For the rest of the country, it was rainy and windy. Hail has damaged or wiped out some berry crops, while elsewhere cooler temperatures are delaying the ripening process.Hastings grower and Fruit Growers Federation director Ru Collin says the weekend's hail comes on top of a very trying month. Gale force winds in Hawke's Bay earlier this month caused severe damage to fruit crops nearing harvest.Central Otago grower Gary Bennetts says the unseasonably cold, wet month has ruined some early varieties of cherries, which means little good fruit around for the domestic market. North Island fruit growers haven't fared much better.Waikato strawberry grower Terry McFadden says his crop has been reduced by a third because of the cold and he says that will have an impact on prices.
The MetService says the weekend's cold snap was caused by chilled air moving up from the Southern Ocean. The unseasonable weather stopped fast-ferry sailings in Cook Strait on Sunday and dumped mothball-sized hailstones on Auckland and snow on the Desert Road. The lead forecaster at the Met Service John Crouch says a patch of cold air has been wandering around the Southern Ocean and would normally have passed below New Zealand. But he says a large low near the Chatham Islands flicked the air north and a high in the Tasman Sea helped funnel it over the country. MetService says very few places in New Zealand can expect fine weather for Christmas Day. MetService senior forecaster Eric Brenstrum says that while the cold snap may ease over the next few days more cold weather should be expected for at least a few more weeks. He says showers should be expected in Northland and Auckland around Christmas and the finest weather will most likely be seen in the West Coast of the South Island.

Sun is back on Christmas Day
NZ Herald 20.12.04 
After a weekend lashed with rain, hail, freezing gales and even snow in some places, weather forecasters are picking Christmas Day will be relatively fine. But first there will be more snow, rain and possibly thunder this week.
Forecasters are predicting sunshine for Saturday - a stark difference to this weekend, which threatened to give North Islanders their first white Christmas. Hailstorms in Auckland yesterday morning left the motorways with icy lanes looking as if they had been covered in snow. Port Waikato residents woke to find their black-sand beach covered in hail so thick some residents said they could have been at Mt Ruapehu. The wild weather, which damaged some Auckland homes, was widespread. Passengers boarding ferries across Cook Strait had long delays as the boats were lashed by swells of up to 8m. A 7pm sailing of the Lynx fast ferry was cancelled last night. Snow fell in the Central North Island, dusting the Desert Rd, the central mountains and the Kaimanawa Ranges. In the South Island snow fell to 600m in several towns.
MetService senior forecaster Erick Brenstrum said the unusual weather was caused by an outbreak of very cold air from near the Antarctic ice sheet. Mr Brenstrum said the bad news was that the wintry weather had not completely gone.
He predicted cold fronts would hit on Tuesday and on Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday. By Saturday the situation should be calmer and there is a good chance many North Island residents would get a fine Christmas Day.
Chilly spell hits summer fruit
NZ Herald 21.12.04
The cost of topping a Christmas pavlova with juicy strawberries has nearly doubled in some stores after the weekend’s wild weather. Like many popular summer fruits, the strawberry did not fare well during the hail, lightning and thunderstorms that lashed many parts of the country... But it is not just strawberries that have suffered from the bad weather which is predicted to continue until Christmas Eve. The slow start to spring combined with a noticeable lack of sunshine during the past few months has meant summer fruits are taking longer to ripen. That, combined with the recent storm damage, means Christmas fruit is slightly harder to come by and more expensive this year.
Pack togs but keep woollies on hand
NZ Herald 22.12.04
If you thought it was still October then you might be right. The temperature - more than 20 days into "summer" - is much the same as it was weeks ago. Niwa principal climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said December was struggling to reach normal summer temperatures usually in the high teens to early 20s.The mercury had more often than not hovered in the early teens - temperatures normally experienced in October. "We have been in a year that can only be described as dramatic and the drama continues," said Dr Salinger. "The temperatures we are having now are typical of the end of October." MetService predicts a break in the bad weather that will hopefully bring periods of sunshine to most parts of the country for Christmas Day - in between the odd shower.
Further out there’s a prospect of - you guessed it - rain on New Year’s Eve. But, just as many people consider packing their woollies instead of togs for the holidays, Mr Salinger said there was hope on the horizon. NIWA seasonal predictions for January and February could bring an end to the unusually cold temperatures. Mr Salinger said winds from the west and highs over the top of the North Island were expected to increase the temperatures to about average or slightly above average next month. Last January Auckland temperatures hovered in the high teens to mid 20s.
Rain, tornado, floods - it's our summer
NZ Herald 23.12.04
The approach of Christmas Day usually brings thoughts of sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine. But yesterday, on the longest day of the year, Auckland was hit by a mini tornado, Christchurch had floods and sea temperatures remained 3C below the average for the 11th day in a row. Elsewhere, thunder, lightning and hail storms caused chaos, and holidaymakers reconsidered plans to get away to the beach. It was hardly summer. The temperature in Auckland ranged from 13C to 19C, in Wellington it was 10C to 18C, and in Christchurch it got down to 8C before rising to a balmy 17C.
MetService forecaster Geoff Sanders said the weather was "quite bizarre" but the mini-tornado reported in Auckland was in keeping with the lightning and thunder occurring around the country. The tornado started with strong winds that hit Penrose businesses with such force at 8.10am that windows were broken. Spandex operations and logistics manager Les Balderston said he was sitting in his office when the door blew open and papers went flying. The wind travelled through the office before exploding out of the side of the building.
Heavy hailstorms this week damaged fruit in Tasman, Canterbury, Hawkes Bay and parts of Auckland. In the South Island, a close watch is being kept on Otago rivers after two days of steady rain. The Otago Regional Council said 30mm to 55mm of rain fell in most of Otago since yesterday. The council's environmental information and science director, Dr John Threlfall, said the rain had been persistent if not intense... Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt said slight relief was in sight - but not for long. Cold southerlies arriving on Friday should weaken briefly on Christmas Day and a sunny break is being forecast for many places. But the bad weather is likely to return for Boxing Day. [...]
No cheer for Southland farmers
TVNZ Dec 23, 2004
South Island farmers are being hit hard by New Zealand's spate of wild weather. Torrential rain and paddock flooding has resulted in a decline in production levels... On the West Coast, rainfall is 600mm up on what it was this time last year, and sunshine is 300 hours down. The weather is also taking its toll on Southland lambs. John Threfall of the Otago Regional Council says with the possibility of more storms farmers will have to watch catchments closely. Weather experts say they see no obvious end to the wild weather until mid-January.

Kiwis fly off to the sun
Kiwis and tourists fed up with the rain and cold in New Zealand are booking escapes to warmer climes, a leading travel agency says.Flight Centre managing director Graeme Moore said the agency had been inundated with people complaining about the weather. Bookings to Fiji and other Pacific islands had increased. Consultants had also taken bookings from overseas visitors dis-gruntled about the weather. "One American couple booked a holiday in Rarotonga the day they flew into New Zealand because they were so disappointed that it was cold and pouring with rain." Several Kiwis had also cancelled domestic travel and booked last-minute trips overseas, despite the extra costs involved in booking flights and accommodation at short notice. One family who had planned to sail around New Zealand over summer had sold their boat in favour of a holiday in Rarotonga. "We only hope the weather improves before there's a real impact on the tourism industry," Mr Moore said.
Tourists flee bad weather

TVNZ Dec 24, 2004
The dismal start to summer and less than encouraging weather prospects is sending tourists and kiwis packing. Travel consultants from Flight Centre, one of New Zealand's largest travel agencies, say they have been inundated with people fed up with the cold and rain and wanting to escape. Managing director Graeme Moore says inquiries and bookings to Fiji and the Pacific Islands have been on the rise in recent days, with most clients attributing their plans to the New Zealand weather. It's not just tourists who are despairing of the lack of sun. A number of kiwis have booked last minute trips, even if a lack of hotel and flight availability has meant paying more for the privilege.
Enjoy it while it lasts - the break in the clouds will end tomorrow
NZ Herald 27.12.04
Summer finally arrived in the South Island yesterday and the rain even stayed away from Auckland’s major sporting events. It should also be sunny across most of the country today - but the MetService says it won’t last. Tomorrow and Wednesday will be rainy and cold as a westerly front arrives. Everywhere from Invercargill to Nelson experienced sunny conditions to some degree yesterday after several miserable weeks of grey skies, low temperatures and rain. However, it did not last long in the south, with more rain and thunderstorms sending temperatures plummeting in the afternoon. MetService forecaster Mads Naeraa said Dunedin reached 20C before rain and hail hit... Christchurch also enjoyed blue skies, but a chilly easterly meant many of those brave enough to step outside remained wrapped in coats and scarves.
Further north Gisborne reached 21C and although Whakatane was pelted with 10mm of rain in two hours, the air was not cold. Mr Naeraa said today would be fine and sunny on the east coast of both islands but cloud and some drizzle would plague the west. He recommended holidaymakers should hold out for the first week of the new year, when a new ridge of high pressure is expected to arrive, bringing sunshine. [...]
Hailstorms to cut $3.4m off orchardist profits
Hailstorms which hit various parts of the Tasman district last week caused a loss of about $3.4 million in export earnings for orchardists. Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Ian Palmer said initial assessments on the amount of damage caused by hail which fell in Riwaka, Tasman and Mahana showed a substantial dent in next year's harvest.
Heavy rain warning for high country
TVNZ Dec 28, 2004
The Department of Conservation is warning people not to head into the South Island mountains for the next couple of days as exceptionally heavy rain begins to fall. A third-of-a-metre of rain and northerly gales are forecast between Arthurs Pass and Fiordland over the next 30 hours, with rain peaking at 30 millimetres an hour. A DoC ranger at Franz Josef, Katrina Henderson, says trampers shouldn't head into the back country and those already in the mountains should sit tight as creek levels rise. She says visitors at DoC campgrounds on the coast are likely to have an uncomfortable couple of days, but shouldn't be in danger of flooding.
Heavy rains due to head up from south
NZ Herald  29.12.04
The MetService last night sounded heavy rain warnings for the West Coast of the South Island and Buller-Nelson and said it expected bad weather to then wash over parts of the northern North Island. Spokesman Andy Downs said the slow-moving system rolling on to the South Island "has all the ingredients for good heavy rain". Canterbury manager Hayward Osborn said the approaching system appeared to be a "major event". Mr Downs warned of "exceptional rainfall" for Westland and down to Milford Sound overnight, with the heaviest falls likely in South Westland. He forecast up to 350mm by midnight tonight in that area, with rain falling at rates of up to 30mm per hour... Mr Downs said the weather system coming in from the Tasman was moving slowly. "Normally the systems go through quickly but this one isn’t and it’s packing a lot of moisture."That meant it had the capacity to dump a lot of rain over an extended period. The front, moving northwest, was expected to produce falls of 100mm to 150mm in the Buller-Nelson ranges. It was then forecast to move across Taranaki, the central high country and the Bay of Plenty. Wellington, Wairarapa and the lower east coast of the North Island should escape the brunt of the rain, Mr Downs said. The front would be followed later in the week by a low-pressure system from the Tasman, producing unsettled, showery weather for the New Year. [...]
Wet wet wet and more a safe bet
NZ Herald 31.12.04
 Empty beaches and boats confined to their trailers were the hallmarks of rain-saturated holiday resorts yesterday... As trampers were being rescued from rising floodwaters in the South Island, holidaymakers further north opted for cinemas and shopping while hoping for the heavy rain to ease in time for New Year celebrations tonight... heavy grey clouds had arrived by Wednesday and the rain set in yesterday, dumping more than 100mm over the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.The rain continued with a vengeance over eastern areas last night.
COMMENT:  Foretaste of what to expect for 2005? Check this out.

Last month the 5th coldest December on record
Last month was the fifth coldest December on record and the coldest since 1945. The national average temperature of 13.4 deg C was 2.2 deg C below normal, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) National Climate Centre said in a statement. The only lower years since reliable records began in 1853 were 1902 (the record low average of 12.9degC), 1911, 1914 and 1945. Temperatures reached record lows for December in some parts of the South Island. They were up to 4degC below average in inland parts of Canterbury, Otago and Southland, Niwa said. The highest temperature recorded was 31degC at Napier Airport on December 2, and the lowest minus 3.7degC at Wreys Bush in Southland on December 20. Rainfall was more than double the average figure for the month in eastern regions from Hawke's Bay to Southland, and above average in many parts of the North Island... Sunshine hours were well below average in parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, King Country, Manawatu, Otago and Southland, but near average elsewhere.
December chill the worst for 59 years
NZ Herald 04.01.05
... Snow, frost, hail and a tornado marked the first month of summer with the coldest temperatures recorded in December since 1945. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research figures for last month show it was the fifth coldest since records were established in 1853. The national average temperature was just 13.4C - 2.2C below normal and more like spring than summer. The record-breaking low temperatures... slowed the growth and ripening of berries, stone fruit and crops... And if you thought there was a dire shortage of sun, there was. Auckland recorded only 174 hours of sunshine - 83 per cent of the normal figure and the third lowest since records began in 1963. [...]
Hail, frost hit pipfruit exports
TVNZ Jan 6, 2005
Pipfruit New Zealand is forecasting this year's export crop will be down nearly 12% to about 18.55 million cartons, mainly because of hail and frost damage. PNZ chairman Ian Palmer says indicative regional crop assessments are being completed, with the biennial nature of some varieties and early thinning indicating a lighter crop. However, the quality and size of the fruit is looking good at this stage, he says. Crop losses from hail damage before Christmas are expected to be up to one million cartons, or 5% of total export volumes. This represents a loss of around $30 million in export earnings. There has been hail damage across all growing regions. Hawke's Bay, the largest growing region, has lost about half a million cartons, Nelson about a quarter of a million and Wairarapa and Waikato 50,000 to 70,000 cartons. Gisborne and Central Otago have reported minimal damage. [...]


FLOOD #4 (January, 2005)

COMMENT: Not quite as destructive-extensive as previous floods. Nevertheless, expect many more in future. (10.01.05)

Flooding chaos for Wellington commuters
NZ Herald 06.01.05
Civil defence and police were this morning on high alert in the Hutt Valley as heavy rain overnight threatened to send the Hutt River over its banks. The Hutt Valley was not alone in feeling the vagaries of the New Zealand summer with commuters around Wellington delayed by flooding on the roads and the train link into the capital severed from the Kapiti Coast. And in the Tararua Ranges north of the city, a tramper lay injured, with her rescuers hoping the weather would clear long enough to get a rescue helicopter in. Sergeant Andre Kowalczyk of the police central communications centre this morning said many roads were either closed or had surface flooding. "We've got flooding right through the Wellington area," he said. [...]
Clean up begins after chaotic weather
TVNZ Jan 6, 2005
Clean-up efforts are under way in several parts of the lower North Island after heavy rain caused havoc from Wellington to the Tararua Ranges. Weather forecasters say up to 300 millimetres of rain fell in the Tararua Ranges and 100 millimetres in the foothills. Up to 100 millimetres of rainfall was also recorded in the Kapiti Coast and Hutt Valley areas, where surfacePeople in Kapiti Coast communities bordering the Waikanae River are returning home to assess the damage caused by the torrential rain and flooding. Authorities say water levels in the Waikanae River neared those of a one in 100 year flood, after heavy rainfall in its headwaters overnight. Emergency services personnel spent Thursday morning pumping mud and water from about 20 houses in Otaihunga... The downpour has also forced the closure of Waikanae's El Rancho Holiday Park, because of concerns its water supply may have been contaminated with sewage by the flooding. Residents of a Hutt Valley street are facing a lengthy clean up after a large slip left a trail of debris down their road. Kereru Grove in Stokes Valley is one of a number of areas affected by heavy rain which caused problems around the Wellington region. One house in the path of the slip had to be evacuated and contractors spent all of Thursday morning clearing the street, hauling away about 40 truckloads of mud and debris... A Hutt Valley fire crew had a lucky escape while evacuating the residents of a house in the path of a large slip in Stokes Valley. The Stokes Valley volunteer fire brigade deputy chief fire officer, Geoff Curtis, says it cut a swathe through bush above the house to the front of the property. He says the constant flow of water and debris set it moving again, sending a wall of mud down the driveway, where it slammed into a fire appliance, shunting the 12-tonne truck several metres into a parked car. [...]
Campers evacuated as river bursts banks
About 700 people had to be evacuated from a Waikanae camping ground and several families leave their homes due to flooding in the Wellington region this morning... A small area of support under railway tracks just north of McKay's Crossing had been washed away meaning the Wellington-Paraparaumu train could go no further than Paekakariki...
Meanwhile, about 300 Scouts at the national jamboree in Feilding spent last night sleeping in stock pens, exhibition halls and the grandstand at Manfeild Park after heavy rain left many parts of the grounds waterlogged... The jamboree has been plagued by bad weather and a number of events planned for last week's opening day were called off. Scouts from 15 countries are taking part in the 10-day event, which finishes tomorrow... Holidaymakers are also moving out of the Nelson region, fed up with a week of persistent rain that last night culminated in flooding and the evacuation of campers in Golden Bay. At the Anatori River on Golden Bay's west coast 19 campers moved to a nearby house after floodwaters threatened their camp sites on the southern side of the river. [...]
One month's rain in a single day
Parts of Hutt Valley and Kapiti Coast have been drenched with a month's rain in a single day. In the 24 hours till 9am yesterday Paraparaumu recorded 62 millimetres, Wellington 42mm and Lower Hutt 82mm – including 70mm in five hours.
MetService forecaster Oliver Druce said the downpours meant Kapiti Coast and Hutt Valley received almost all their normal January rain – between 70mm and 80mm – in 24 hours. But the heaviest rains were reserved for the Tararua Range, with one Greater Wellington regional council weather station recording 324mm and two others more than 200mm. These downpours caused river levels to rise and the flooding downstream. Further north, the depression brought rain to other western areas, Palmerston North recording 48mm, Wanganui 22mm and New Plymouth 25mm.
But eastern areas were almost unscathed. Napier and Hastings recorded no rain in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday, while Gisborne and Taupo each received less than 1mm. Masterton received just over 7mm. [...]
Torrential rains bring flooding and misery
NZ Herald 07.01.05
Heavy rainfall in the lower North Island has left homes flooded, travellers delayed and a seriously ill tramper facing another night in the Tararua Ranges... Greater Wellington Council flood protection engineer Phil Purves said the river flooded at levels expected once every 100 years and was its largest since records began in 1975. A total of 124mm of rain fell in the 12 hours to 6am yesterday in the headwaters of the Waikanae River, at the top of the Akatarawa Hill Road, with 74mm of that in three hours. The Otaki River experienced about a "40-year flood", with 230mm of rain in the 12 hours to 6am, including 100mm in three hours, but there appeared to have been little damage. The Hutt River recorded a flood similar to the October 1998 deluge... Motorists travelling to and from Wellington on State Highway 1 faced delays of up to three hours due to flooding between Paekakariki and Waterfall Rd on the Kapiti Coast. Further north, Horizons Regional Council staff were monitoring water levels in the Manawatu-Wanganui region's waterways after 24 hours of persistent rainfall. A total of 190mm of rain fell in the Upper Mangahao River at Ballance, 11km northwest of Pahiatua, and 160mm at Karariki, 15km northwest of Eketahuna. Floodgates were expected to be opened to relieve flood flows on the Manawatu River. [...]
Our lousy summer: Buyers holding back from fruit and vegetables
NZ Herald 07.01.05
Unseasonably wet weather has produced an abundance of fruit and vegetables around the country but no one appears to want to eat them. The lack of sales is worrying commercial growers. Vegfed president Brian Gargiulo says a glut in the market has meant lower prices while the rain has "just encouraged everything to grow and grow". [...]
First the cold and now the rain - our summer that isn't
A flood alarm that failed to sound, soaked campers, flooded homes and blocked roads – the "summer that isn't" keeps on coming. Hundreds of campers and 18 households were evacuated on the Kapiti Coast early yesterday after a deep low dumped almost a third of a metre of rain on the nearby Tararua Range. [...]
It's a cruel, cool summer

NZ Herald 08.01.05
As holidaymakers shelter from persistent rain, forecasters have delivered a knockout blow - the rest of the summer will be cool.  Weak El Nino conditions are likely to stay, bringing below-average temperatures, said Niwa. In the Hutt Valley and on the Kapiti Coast, the cleanup continued after heavy flooding.Parts of State Highway 1 were washed out and campers and residents were evacuated. Heavy rain predicted for Northland yesterday largely failed to materialise. Bursts of heavy rain were predicted for today, with possible falls between 30mm and 50mm.
Storm overwhelms river measuring equipment

NZ Herald 08.01.05 1.00pm
Not even river flow measuring equipment could withstand the weather in south Otago last night with equipment overwhelmed by the rains and struck by lightening. Roads were also closed as rivers flooded to 10-year flood levels... The Otago Regional Council (ORC) flow recorder site at Leithen Glen, upstream from Tapanui, appeared to have been struck by lightening, meaning council staff had to measure flood peaks on site. ORC flood manager Chris Arbuckle said 34mm of rain was recorded in 30 minutes... Mr Arbuckle said the Waitahuna River reached an estimated 20-year flood level of greater than 59 cumecs... The MetService is predicting more thunder and rain for the region today. Farmers are reported to be facing a big cleanup in the region. Heriot chief fire officer Murray Young told National Radio the damage was substantial. [...]
Traffic mayhem in capital as rain forces road closures

Wellington was thrown into traffic chaos yesterday after road access was cut, while atrocious weather also left Otago farmers facing a major clean-up.
Heavy rain in the already-sodden Wellington region caused surface flooding, with road access to the city cut after the heavy downpours. Major traffic hold-ups were still occurring last night along SH1, near Paekakariki, as traffic was diverted through the town. Witnesses reported traffic banked up for more than 10km and delays of two hours, with no alternative routes available... But there may be no respite, with forecasters expecting more rain around Wellington today as a southerly front passes through. Northland also suffered heavy rain...
Otago Regional Council's environmental officer John Threlfall said between 30mm and 80mm of rain fell in South Otago on Friday night... Publican David Hall said it was a sharp contrast to the same time last year when farmers were facing a drought. [...]

Most highways back to normal after floods
Flood-hit state highways and roads in both islands were steadily reopened overnight and roading authorities said this morning most problem sites are now clear. There was still localised flooding on State Highway 45 at Mania, South Taranaki this morning but the highway was open... State Highway 1 between Paraparaumu and Paekakariki was operating normally... In the Bay of Plenty, State Highway 29 between Tauriko and Lower Kaimai was reopened... In the South Island, SH1 between Clinton and Gore reopened...  Otago-Southland area roads were badly affected by floods at the weekend... The Rimutaka Hill Road north of Upper Hutt was operating normally [...]


NIWA climate summary 2004
Rogue factor causes climate havoc
NZ Herald 11.01.05
Last year was one of extremes, with the country suffering everything from heatwave-generated forest fires to some of the worst flooding in living memory. The year was the coolest since 1993 and one of the wettest on record in parts of the Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, Kapiti, Upper Hutt and Wairarapa. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) yesterday released its climate summary for 2004. Principal scientist Jim Salinger said the year had everything from blizzards to heatwaves, which created many records. "We certainly got the whole range of extremes thrown at us."
Dr Salinger said rogue qualities in the overall climate pattern saw the months switching from one extreme to another. The year started with high temperatures but before long that heat combined with high winds to produce life-threatening forest fires in Canterbury. Then, in complete contrast, February brought record rainfall in Taranaki and Wanganui and storms that generated flooding which caused more than $300 million worth of damage in the Manawatu area.
Dr Salinger said June was unseasonably warm - the fifth-warmest since records began in the 1850s. July brought more flooding, this time in the Bay of Plenty. August brought cold southerlies that produced blizzards and high winds, while persistent cold, stormy southwesterlies dominated the rest of the year. Last month, plagued by cooler-than-normal sea temperatures, snowfall, mini-tornadoes and hailstorms, was the fifth-coldest on record.
Dr Salinger said there were at least 28 heavy dumpings of rain during the year - 12 of which produced flooding.
High-country regions were affected by snowfalls from autumn to spring, the earliest significant fall occurring in March on the Desert Rd. There were 19 high-wind events and four damaging hailstorms.
Auckland failed to make any records - unlike 2003 when it was the wettest city in the country - but it did record 2066 hours of sunshine, which is slightly more than normal. It also had 1331mm of rain and was at least 0.7 degrees cooler than normal in some places. Of the four main centres, Christchurch was the best place to be last year, with 2096 hours of sunshine and the least rain. Wellington was the wettest.
Dr Salinger said the whole of the country was 0.3 degrees below its average temperature and, while that made last year the coolest since 1993, globally 2004 was actually the fourth-warmest on record.
The cause of New Zealand's cold and wet weather was a series of lows to the east of the country that "got stuck" and brought cold, stormy southeasterlies in February, August and December.
Dr Salinger said the next three months should be cooler than normal and dry in the north and east of the North Island.
COMMENT: See New Zealand National Climate Summary - The Year 2004 for details.
NIWA's quaint description does not explain why these weather systems "got stuck". Salinger refers to "rogue qualities" but doesn't say what these might be. (11.01.05)
Weather nips clothing chain

NZ Herald 18.01.05
Retailers' shares weakened yesterday after clothing outlet Postie Plus warned that a dismal summer would knock first-half profits into the red. Managing director Paul Young said the chain had been hurt by an unfortunate combination of the wettest summer on record, the coldest summer since 1945 and the strong dollar, which had weighed on prices. Young said these factors "haven't come together in the last 100 years".
With its key summer months of October to December gone, Postie Plus expects a $700,000 loss for the six months to January 31. That compares with a profit before tax of $3.1 million in the same period last year. [...]
Weather dampener for the Red Sheds
The Warehouse is warning that its profit could fall as much as 10 per cent, becoming the third discount retailer to blame wet weather for poor sales before Christmas. Shares in rival chain stores Briscoe Group and Postie Plus have already been hammered after they warned of sales and profit slumps. The weak sales for discount chains contrasts with buoyant overall sales growth in an economy growing "stronger for longer" than at any point in 40 years. Bad weather during the Christmas period, a crucial part of the year for retailers, dampened sales of seasonal items such as swimwear and outdoor furniture. Consumers instead spent up large on consumer electronics such as computer games and music players, and tended to shun discount department stores in favour of upmarket specialists. "The weather is the big driver," Macquarie Equities retail analyst Warren Doak said. [...]
Weather hits milk output
TVNZ Jan 21, 2005
Dairy exporter Fonterra says poor spring and summer weather has had a significant impact on milk production with the co-operative collecting 5% less milk than expected half way through the season. Chief operating officer Jay Waldvogel says the cooler weather is affecting milk flows throughout New Zealand and even a dramatic improvement in the weather would make it unlikely the lost production could be made up over the entire season ending in May... The drop in milk collection means Fonterra will be manufacturing up to 75,000 tonnes less dairy products this season, he says. [...]
Soggy December a drain on tourism dollar
NZ Herald  03.03.05
Shocking weather at the end of 2004 cost a Christchurch tourist operator up to $15,000 a day as the country tried to cope with one of the wettest Decembers on record. Canterbury skydiving operator said it could do up to 50 jumps a day. However the December weather led to a large number of cancellations, losing the company up to $15,000 a day, Tourism New Zealand's magazine Tourism News said in its latest issue. The company said its operational days in December were down 66 per cent compared with the previous year. Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the rotten December weather disappointed many international visitors. The cold and wet weather also dampened retail sales. Christchurch had more rain than in any December since weather recordings began in 1863. Christchurch beat the wet-day record set in 1902 by 17 days and in the 10 days until Christmas Eve, it rained every day. [...]
Economy slows down
A combination of bad weather hitting farm production, a fall in house building and weaker logging figures may leave economic growth as low as 0.3 per cent in the December quarter, say BNZ economists. The market average forecast is for growth of 0.6 per cent in the three months to December, with official figures due out on Thursday. That would be much slower than the 1.4 per cent average quarterly growth in the first half of last year....The current account deficit figures are due out tomorrow, with a forecast of a shortfall of $2.4 billion, taking the annual total to about $8.8 billion... The drags on the economy in the quarter included "lacklustre" rural production, because of unusually cold and wet weather for farmers. [...]