TWM STORMS, FLOODS - NORTH & SOUTH ISLAND, 2008


COMMENT:  For background to this page, click here and here and here.

During the recent settlement of Rotorua lakes and Waikato river claims with iwi, Pakeha govt declared itself to be "owner" of all water resources. A predictable action, given its past history of stealing Indigenous land, minerals and seabed resources.

TWM has decided therefore that
Pakeha govt should be "rewarded" for its greed. Seems appropriate. (30.08.08)

FLOOD IMAGES: Click here.

UPDATES: Click here.

North Island records 25,000 lightning strikes
NZ Herald Monday July 21, 2008
Well we had a busy weekend weather wise - at least northern and western parts of the North Island did - with a total of 25,000 lightning strikes clocked up from midnight Friday to 6pm Sunday... Today we'll see a short breather - ahead of the next big winter storm. The low, which will develop during Monday in the Tasman Sea, between Tasmania and Southland, is expected to rapidly deepen and by mid-week will be affecting the entire country. This system has the potential to be damaging with gale force winds affecting much of the country on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (depending on where you live). Not only that but a polar blast will develop on Wednesday in the far south and reach Auckland on Thursday. [...]
Clean-up under way after worst storm in decade
NZ Herald Updated Sunday July 27, 2008
Efforts are continuing to restore power to thousands of homes after one of the worst storms to hit New Zealand in 10 years. The weather bomb left a trail of destruction across the North Island, cutting power to more than 60,000 homes. Northland was hardest hit, with winds of up to 167km/h bringing down trees and power lines, and heavy rain flooding roads... Police said rescuers were today using surf lifesaving vessels to try to find a canoeist feared drowned in swollen seas off Mt Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty....Two other people have reportedly died after a boating incident near Opotiki this morning. The storm ripped boats from their moorings and forced the evacuation of up to 10,000 skiers from Mt Ruapehu as 200km/h winds lashed the slopes... The MetService described the "destructive" sub-tropical storm as "extremely rare and nasty". [...]
'Horrible' weather not finished yet
NZ Herald Sunday July 27, 2008
Wet and wild weather is set to stay with us today and most of this week. Radio Network weather analyst Philip Duncan said that while winds dropped slightly last night, today's weather would be rough.. Duncan said strong, cold southerlies would blow over the entire North Island today, reaching speeds of up to 120km/h from Taupo east...  As if that wasn't enough, Duncan said a second storm would form in almost exactly the same place on Tuesday night. While not quite qualifying as another weather bomb... The second storm is expected to travel down the central North Island, with rain affecting Taranaki and Wellington and bringing severe gales to central areas. [...]
New storm forecast as weekend clean-up continues
NZ Herald Updated Monday July 28, 2008
The country is set to be hit by another storm tomorrow before the clean-up from the weekend's battering is completed.
The third storm to hit in a week will not be as severe as Saturday's but will cover a larger area, the Radio Network's head weather analyst Philip Duncan said. "Saturday's storm was relatively small in size but big in severity, this next storm won't be as intense but will cover a much bigger area, affecting most of New Zealand" he said... "By Wednesday it should be peaking with torrential rain likely, that on top of the saturated soil following this weekend's storm, could escalate the chances of flooding".Heavy rain is expected in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Nelson and West Coast while severe gales are likely in Manawatu, Wellington and Wairarapa. Thousands of homes will still be without power today as the North Island recovers from the storm that in some areas was the worst in 30 years.
Stay home warning as storm powers up
NZ Herald Wednesday July 30, 2008
Officials were last night warning North Islanders to stay indoors as the region prepared to be drenched by another storm.
Heavy rain warnings were in place for much of the area and driving to work this morning was expected to be dangerous, with heavy rain causing flooded roads, overflowing rivers and high seas. The front, moving from the east coast of the North Island, was due to swamp Northland with 150mm of rainfall overnight. Late last night rain was heavy in most places but the forecast major drenching had not yet hit. Preparations for an overnight deluge were in place. Civil Defence staff in the storm's bullseye - Northland, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty, where three people lost their lives over the weekend in a separate storm - were on alert. [...]
Weather moves into crazy mode
NZ Herald Wednesday July 30, 2008
... After nothing to talk about from October 2007 until March 2008 (apart from the drought of course) our weather has gone into crazy mode. Starting in April with torrential rains over Northland and Central Plateau, then snow storms in June then big frosts in early July and now 3 storms in 7 days - 2 of which considered "major" even by the most conservative of forecasters. [...]
Mini-tornado causes major damage
NZ Herald Thursday July 31, 2008
As Irene Elvy was standing in her kitchen, a mini-tornado was cutting a destructive path towards her home. It had already snapped a power pole near Mt Maunganui's Omanu Beach, and as it moved inland, the twister began picking up branches, roof tiles and other debris. By the time it reached the 84-year-old's flat 1km away, the swirling mass was powerful enough to shred her roof and rip her front ranch-slider out by the frame...  Emergency services were on the scene minutes after the twister hit at 10am yesterday, and spent several hours securing five damaged properties in three streets with tarpaulins. 
[...]
Hundreds left trapped, homeless
NZ Herald Friday August 01, 2008
Hundreds of North Islanders were left homeless or trapped by blocked roads as the raging weather that caused mass destruction moved south yesterday. 
[...]
Insurance costs spiral as third storm nears
NZ Herald Saturday August 02, 2008
As the third storm in a week heads for the upper North Island, insurance payouts from the first two big storms could reach $50 million.
A deep, fast moving low and associated fronts are forecast to cross northern and central New Zealand this weekend, bringing strong winds and rain. The Insurance Council says it is still early days, but the widespread nature of the storms and their ongoing impact could see costs skyrocket... "This rain will be falling on already sodden ground, so further flooding and slips are likely, and rivers and streams will swell quickly," said MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt. The bad weather will hamper the big clean-up after the last storm.
Main rail and road links remained closed in the South Island... Mr McDavitt said the storms of the last 10 days had made July much wetter than normal, particularly in the north and east of the North Island.  [...]
Tornado lifts roofs in Levin
The Dominion Post Monday, 04 August 2008
A Levin family is counting themselves lucky to be alive after a tornado ripped through their home early this morning. The mini tornado ripped through rural properties in Horowhenua around 4am today - just days after high winds lashed the area. It lifted a house roof and the roof of a garage, and completely destroyed a wool shed on Kimberley Rd near Levin. Around 25,000 households in Horowhenua, including Levin, lost power last week after trees knocked down by high winds cut the electricity supply.
[...]
New slips in Wellington, flooding in Waikato
The Dominion Post
Tuesday, 05 August 2008
Two more substantial slips came down overnight in Wellington, partially blocking roads, but not threatening houses.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said today that the cleanup from slips in the city was continuing...
Mr MacLean said Palliser Road in Roseneath and Devon Street in Aro Valley were still closed while the council continued to clean up from the big slips yesterday and at the weekend. A Devon Street house evacuated by five students after a Sunday morning slip, was still vacant... In Waikato regional council staff were still on high alert and were working to stop the swollen Waikato River from flooding farmland. Flood pumps were operating at Huntly College this morning, but principal Tim Foy was confident the school will re-open tomorrow. Rising flood levels in the Waikato River forced the closure of Huntly College yesterday and the school was to be shut again today.
[...]
Another storm on the way; fears over Waikato River levels
NZ Herald Thursday August 14, 2008
A blast of freezing Antarctic air is on the way, turning rain into snow in the South Island tonight, and turning its attention to the North Island from tomorrow. Heavy rain, snow, gales, thunder and hail - not exactly a forecast many New Zealanders want to hear as a large area of low pressure shifts onto the country.The Waikato River is also precariously close to flooding over its banks and on to surrounding roads.Western and central areas will be most exposed to the severe weather with the main front is now moving up the West Coast. TRN's head weather analyst Philip Duncan says it may be a restless night for some... Mr Duncan says the weather sounds bad but probably won't cause too much damage. "This storm covers a huge area which is a good thing - it's spreading the energy over a much greater space which decreases it's intensity". 
[...]
Rain, snow and thunder keep on coming
The Dominion Post | Saturday, 16 August 2008
A weather bomb has pelted Porirua with hail the size of marbles and knocked out a Radio New Zealand transmitter at Titahi Bay. A fierce northwest front brought thunder, lightning and hail to the Wellington region in the past 48 hours and MetService warns that a series of fronts will bring more rain, thunderstorms and snow to the western parts of both islands during the weekend... Later in the day snow closed several South Island roads... and ice closed the Desert Road in the North Island. The Mountain Safety Council has issued warnings of extreme avalanche risks for Arthur's Pass, Mt Cook and Westland National Parks... on ranges in Taranaki, near Queenstown and on Mt Ruapehu and Mt Hutt. The avalanche risk in the Wanaka and Craigieburn ranges was also considerable.  [...]
If it's the weekend, it must be raining
NZ Herald Updated Monday August 18, 2008
Despite the start of spring being just a few weeks away, rain, rain and more rain is forecast for Auckland this week.
MetService expected a mix of showers and fine spells, with cool, gusty southwesterly winds from today until Wednesday... Meanwhile, the wintry weather has been biting in the South Island. The MetService yesterday warned farmers to monitor vulnerable stock and drivers to take care on the roads as a cold front was expected to bring more snow to the South Island over the next few days.
.. MetService forecaster Mark Pascoe said up to 20cm of snow could fall as low as 300m above sea level with eastern parts of Otago copping it this morning before the Banks Peninsula get their turn later today... Further north, the Desert Rd is set to get a blanket of up to 4cm of snow at the summit today and more could fall tonight. The Radio Network's weather analyst Philip Duncan said a low "the size of Australia" was still passing over New Zealand. [...]
Massive snow dump creates problems for North Island too
NZ Herald Monday August 18, 2008
The North Island is now feeling the effects of the huge snow dump which has created hazardous conditions in the Southern Alps. The Department of Conservation has issued avalanche warnings for the Tongariro National Park, including the popular Tongariro Crossing walking track... DOC's warning follows a rough weekend in the South Island where nine people were rescued from mountain areas which were hazardous, and alpine safety experts have spoken out about foolhardy expeditions into the backcountry... Mountain Safety Council avalanche programme manager Steve Schreiber said the tourists were foolish and needlessly endangered the lives of their rescuers. 
[...]
Weather woes hit AMP's big tower
NZ Herald Monday August 25, 2008
Weeks of windy, wet weather have slowed work on AMP NZ Office Trust's redevelopment of its large office tower at the foot of Queen St in Auckland. Rob Lang, ANZO chief executive, said the job was running two months behind.
Instead of the building being ready by next July, it would not now be finished until September, he said... The $80 million job to refurbish and extend the building to become a 17-level structure is the city's largest makeover and has seen ANZO add upper levels to what was once called Downtown House. By the time work is finished, the trust will have spent $112 million on the tower: purchase costs and upgrading it.  [...]
Houses evacuated, livestock killed, roads shut in big wet
NZ Herald Tuesday August 26, 2008
A north Canterbury settlement has been evacuated after the Kahutara River burst its banks. Canterbury Emergency Coordination Centre Civil Defence duty officer Andrew Howe said the river had not entered the Peketa settlement, just south of Kaikoura, but emergency services were advising residents to evacuate due to the threat of a flood. Eight to 10 houses had been evacuated by residents... Water supply to Amberley and other parts of the Hurunui district was likely to be out for a week and tankers were being organised to bring in clean water, Mr Howe said. Farmers were coping well with the weather though some lambs had been lost, he said. There were a number of road closures in North Canterbury, particularly along the Coastal Highway and Lewis Pass was the only way north. 
[...]
Storm bill in millions this winter
The Press | Tuesday, 26 August 2008
South Island councils, roading agencies and insurers face multimillion-dollar bills for winter storms, with the cost of damage from the latest North Canterbury deluge still to be counted. New Zealand Transport Agency area managers said winter maintenance costs had doubled this year, and $1.5 million damage had been caused to State Highway 1 from Marlborough south... New Zealand Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said there was a provisional cost of $50m for this winter's storms across New Zealand, but claims continued to roll in.
The destruction in the South Island started on July 31 when a savage storm crossed Cook Strait and ripped through Marlborough, Nelson and the West Coast. High winds felled an estimated 2000ha of Nelson's plantation forests, cut the city's water supply and blasted the West Coast. Heavy rain led to flooding in parts of Picton and Blenheim before it drenched North Canterbury, causing slips, closing State Highway 1 in several places and flooding beach settlements.
Two weeks later, the biggest snowstorm in decades hit the upper South Island, closing highways, cutting power in rural Tasman, causing avalanches. [...]
Flood clean-up begins - again
The Press | Wednesday, 27 August 2008
A massive clean-up operation is under way this morning after two days of rain left a path of destruction in North Canterbury and along the east coast from Cheviot to Picton. SH1 between Cheviot and Picton has been closed by up to 30 slips and residents in towns along the coast face a big clean up after up to three months worth of rain fell in 24 hours and left widespread surface flooding. Kaikoura is still isolated by slips and Cheviot is facing about a week without drinking water after a main pipe was washed out... In North Canterbury the raging Eyre River claimed up to 100 dairy cows in North Canterbury early yesterday when a bridge approach was washed away... Meanwhile, sodden South Islanders can dry out during an overdue break in the weather today as North Canterbury and Kaikoura residents count the cost of ruined roads and flooded farmland. MetService yesterday lifted severe-weather warnings for the region after heavy rain hammered the districts with more than two months' average rainfall in two days. [...]
Three minutes to quit when slip hits
NZ Herald Wednesday August 27, 2008
Engineers gave Glyn Alsop and Cheryl Coats just three minutes to grab everything they needed and get out of their North Shore home. The newly renovated Albany Highway house was one of three properties that had to be evacuated on Monday night after flooding caused 50,000 tonnes of dirt to give way. The Earthquake Commission said it might be weeks before the area is deemed safe and residents are allowed to return. But it may be longer for Mr Alsop and Ms Coats because their water tank, their only water source, tumbled several metres down the hill and they don't know how they will retrieve it. The drama began about 6pm when Mr Alsop, who has lived at the house for more than 20 years, walked out his back door and noticed his backyard had "disappeared".
[...]

Repeat flooding adds insult to injury
NZ Herald Wednesday August 27, 2008
Weary residents face their second big clean-up on flooded properties in a month as days of heavy rain caused chaos across the South Island. The flooding across the top half of the island yesterday forced evacuations, cut off towns and water supplies, while numerous slips blocked roads and surface flooding was widespread. For Rose Tierney, the thought of her new home being flooded for a second time was almost too much to bear. The Herald first met Ms Tierney when she and her son and boarder were forced to evacuate as floodwaters poured through their house and possessions in Amberley Beach, North Canterbury, on July 31. Since then they had been stuck in a motel waiting for the home to dry out and be refitted. But in the last couple of days, as floodwaters returned with a vengeance, Ms Tierney ventured back to anxiously watch as the waters spilling over from the local lagoon flooded her section and shed, and threatened to enter her house again.  [...]

Sewerage drives families from their homes
The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Sewerage overflow has driven two Masterton families from their homes as heavy rain continues to cause widespread flooding in Wairarapa. Surface flooding has swamped paddocks and roads throughout the region though the worst hit area is southern Wairarapa, where roads have been closed. The Waihenga Bridge over the Ruamahanga River on State Highway 53 at Martinborough is still closed. Pukio West Rd and Pahautea roads are also impassable. Masterton District Council emergency management officer Paul Walker said torrential rain over the past 36 hours had put pressure on the town's sewerage system. 
[...]
Climate change not to blame for storms
The Press | Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Winter storms have been crashing on to New Zealand like waves on a beach over the past few months, leaving death, destruction, havoc and exhaustion in their wake. This week's low-pressure system has brought more flooding to an already saturated North Canterbury and Kaikoura coast, less than four weeks after the deluge from arguably the worst storm of the winter. There are signs this incredible run of dirty weather is about to end and that we could be in for a settled and dry summer... Blue Skies Weather director Tony Trewinnard said that while the string of winter storms was unusual, it was not the result of climate change... National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research principal climate scientist Jim Renwick said it was too soon to say climate change was having an effect... Renwick agreed there had not been much warming in the past decade. [...]
COMMENT: see TWM's comments on Climate change in New Zealand.
Major land slip still not safe
NZ Herald  Saturday August 30, 2008
Residents of Kawakawa Bay, on Auckland's south-eastern coast, are waiting anxiously to see if a major slip blocking their main access road will slip further and take houses with it. A handful of residents have been evacuated as a precaution, while engineers determine what the moving slab of land is going to do. The landslide, described as "no ordinary slip", has already closed the main coastal road at Turei Hill, just north of the Kawakawa Bay settlement.
Following heavy rain in July about 500 cubic metres fell on the road on Sunday. Slips continued throughout this week and yesterday the major slip moved about 45mm over 12 hours. The Manukau City Council has now pulled out its workers because of safety concerns and senior council executive Rick Walden has warned people not even to walk along the beach in front of the slip site.
South to bear brunt of wild weather
NZ Herald Sunday August 31, 2008
Southland and Otago are expected to bear the brunt of the next stormy weather system to hit New Zealand. MetService forecasters are warning an active front will move over the South Island tomorrow and become slow moving over Westland on Tuesday. It is expected to bring heavy rain to the Southern Alps and Westland. In Fiordland, up to 120mm of rain is expected to fall in the 15 hours from midday Monday. However, over Westland the rain may continue until Wednesday, with more than 400mm forecast to fall in the hills in the 48 hours from Monday afternoon. The "spillover" effect of the rain is likely to reach the headwaters of Canterbury and Otago rivers and lakes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Winds are also expected to reach gale or severe gale over parts of Southland and Otago on Monday.
[...]
Landslip victims threatening to sue
NZ Herald Thursday September 04, 2008
Legal action may be taken by a group of Bucklands Beach residents - including former Manukau City mayor Sir Barry Curtis - after a series of landslips forced them out of their homes. Following a dramatic landslip at the weekend, residents living in clifftop homes between 114 and 118 Clovelly Rd in East Auckland's Bucklands Beach were forced to evacuate. Sir Barry - who moved into his flat in 2004 - said cracks first started to appear on the side of the building almost a year later, in mid 2005... Although damage to the buildings was first identified by residents as early as 2005, Mr Walden acknowledged that the council was made aware of the situation only on Monday, following the volatile landslip at the weekend.  [...]
More homes threatened by slip evacuated
NZ Herald Friday September 05, 2008
Three more families have been evacuated from their homes in Bucklands Beach, as a cliff face threatens to fall on top of them. Following a major landslip in East Auckland's Clovelly Rd at the weekend, residents of three properties - including former Manukau City mayor Sir Barry Curtis - living on the clifftop were evacuated because of dangerous conditions.
The area has since been cordoned off and locals have been warned to stay away. Yesterday, Manukau City Council ordered the other three families to move out as council's geotechnical advisers warned that when the cliff face does fall, the slip could come close to the three properties. 
[...]
Heavy rain for east coast
NZ Herald Monday September 08, 2008
Bursts of heavy rain are set to batter the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and the northern ranges of Gisborne today. MetService has issued a severe weather warning saying up to 60ml of rain could fall in the space of six hours.
Forecaster Erick Brenstrum said the ranges of the Bay of Plenty and areas north of Ruatoria could get 20mm in an hour.
He said the ranges of Nelson will also get heavy rain of up to 60ml between 11am and 6pm today.
[...]
Wet weather sends food prices soaring - biggest hike in 19 years
NZ Herald Thursday September 11, 2008
Food prices rose 2.7 per cent in August, the largest monthly increase in 19 years, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) said today. The last time food prices rose at a faster rate was the 3.8 per cent rise in July 1989, when the rate of GST increased from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent. A key factor in the August price rise was unusually wet weather which hampered growing conditions for vegetables.
[...]
Flood recovery could take years
The Gisborne Herald
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
The storm damage caused to North Canterbury farms during the winter is expected to take years to repair.
Flooding caused millions of dollars worth of damage in July and August. Chris Sundstrum, the president of North Canterbury Federated Farmers, says although farmers have started the clean up, slips have destroyed many tracks and fences. He estimates the patch up work will take around four to five months but there will be ongoing issues. Some land will never be able to be used as pasture again and may have to be planted with trees. Mr Sundstrum says farmers are feeling the strain financially as many are still recovering from last summer's drought when the flooding struck.

UPDATES:

27.12.08

Winter storms create $300m insurance bill
NZ Herald Saturday Dec 27, 2008
Raging winter storms that plagued the country, causing more than 200 slips in Auckland, cost insurance companies $300 million in claims this year - $50 million more than 2007. Brutal weather was blamed for the loss of at least four lives, towns were cut off as roads flooded and tens of thousands of households were left without power...
Mr Ryan estimated more $300 million worth of weather-related insurance claims were made this year compared with $250 million in 2007. He said that amount showed a steady rise from previous years but was not as large as 2004 when a single storm in February in the Manawatu saw $130 million in claims. The widespread rain dump of more than 280mm was the region's worst recorded and drove more than 1000 people from their homes. The country had also been spared floods as large as the Far North deluges in February and March last year which spurred evacuations, swept away buildings, trapped residents, closed roads and cut power, costing insurers $12.5 million. Mr Ryan said 2008 had seen "more frequent storms rather than just singular, large ones."... Weather-related claims are the biggest New Zealand insurance companies face annually. Single claims for earthquake-related damage are generally the largest but flooding is more common.

13.01.09
Mix of storms and drought leaves Kiwis with $1b bill

NZ Herald Tuesday Jan 13, 2009
Last year's topsy-turvy weather cost the country at least $1 billion. A National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research report due this afternoon is expected to show the mix of drought and storms took a heavy financial toll. The Herald understands the impact of drought on the dairy industry accounted for most of the cost. But a wet and stormy winter that wreaked havoc in July and August also had a heavy financial toll. At least four lives were lost, floods cut off towns and tens of thousands of households were left without power. Hundreds of people had minutes to gather important possessions before evacuating their homes. The report is expected to show winter rainfall was about one and a half times above average in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu and Wellington, and more than double the norm in Marlborough and Canterbury... The $1 billion total compares to about $800 million caused by the weather in 2006.



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