Edgecumbe flooding

There has been flodding in various parts of the North island over the last couple of days but the worst has been in Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty, near Whakatane, where are river stop bank breached and hundreds of houses have been flooded – it looks like up a meter of water in and around properties in the town.

The water is bad enough, but it usually recedes quite quickly, leaving a coating of mud and slime, mixed with fuel and sewerage.

I worked for a week in Mataura after it flooded in 1978. The aim was to assess and try to save home appliances, but it was hopeless. The lower third to a half had been soaked and coated. Fridges and ovens with fibreglass insulation were sodden. It was often a fairly hopeless task, and the occupants were in shock.

I remember floor level bookcases with the books expanded with water and jammed tight. Carpets had to be all ripped out.

So I can imagine what it will be like in Edgecumbe, once people return to their homes.

It can be devastating.

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  1. Corky

     /  6th April 2017

    Those stopbanks around Edgecombe are massive.This must be some flood. The bros won’t be happy with their herb heading to a decent size at this time

  2. And now:

  3. Griff

     /  6th April 2017

    Ex tropical Cyclone drags warm wet atmosphere over NZ.
    Is that unusual.
    Not really.
    What is usual is the temperatures are warmer and the storm held more moisture
    Climate change .
    Warmer air holds more moisture
    Our infrastructure is built for a 100 year storm
    As the average weather shifts we will see those storms more frequently..

  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  6th April 2017

    History of floods in the Edgecumbe-Whakatane area recorded here

    https://www.boprc.govt.nz/media/33373/Report-080900-RangitaikiTaraweraFloodplainStrategy.pdf (p.11-20)

    The townships lie on a major floodplain.
    Various attempts to control/manage the Rangitaiki and Tarawera have been undertaken since the 1920s (at least)
    see p.21-22 Rainfall & Flooding in Bay of Plenty strongly correlated with the IPO (Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation)

    • A flood bank on a river going right past the town is a bit of an indicator.

      It’s hard to see why anyone would build or buy on a flood plain.

      • Anonymous Coward

         /  6th April 2017

        Arable land. Those flood plains are very fertile land. But by time the first big flood comes through the community has established itself and built a church or whatever.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  6th April 2017

        Christchurch is built on a massive flood plane. Where we lived in Burnside there was 45 cm of topsoil over solid river gravel beneath. Mostly the Waimakariri has stayed between its stop banks though. Probably taking river gravel out of it for building and roaming has helped.

    • Griff

       /  7th April 2017

      Maggy no one is saying Edgecumbe has not flooded before
      What we can say is physics dictates with more warmth more moisture can be held in the atmosphere,
      A warmer air mass results in heaver downpours.

      Unless of course you can prove this basic science wrong.

      • Griff

         /  7th April 2017

        Victoria University climate scientist Professor James Renwick said heavy rain events like cyclone Debbie and last month’s ‘Tasman tempest’, which brought flooding in Auckland, had a clear human footprint.

        The risk of seeing such storms was increasing as time went on, he said.

        “It’s not as though every time there’s a storm it’s going to be like this, or that there’s going to be torrential rain every month, but it’s pushing the odds,” Professor Renwick said.

        When there was a storm, it was more likely to bring heavier rain than it would without climate change, he said.

        Professor Renwick compared pumping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to putting on a warm blanket.

        “What’s underneath the blanket – i.e. us down at the surface of the earth – is warmer than it would be otherwise. More of the heat that is radiating up from the earth’s surface gets intercepted [by greenhouse gases] in the atmosphere and is radiated back down again – exactly the way a thicker duvet works on a bed.”

        This leads to warmer oceans, which means more evaporation, increasing the amount of moisture in the air.

        More moisture in the air meant more rainfall. “You can’t avoid it really,” Professor Renwick said.


  5. patupaiarehe

     /  6th April 2017

    Thank christ that the rain has finally stopped, and it is low tide here.

  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  7th April 2017

    Stuff has a good summary of some of the geological problems associated with flooding in the Edgecumbe area.

  7. Nelly Smickers

     /  7th April 2017


    Nick Smith declares Edgecumbe now “swimmable”


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