From drought to floods in Northland

Following a devastating drought in Northland they have now had bad flooding. The lack of feed supplies on farms will make dealing with the floods more difficult, and the lack of grass will result in a muddy mess for farmers.

RNZ: Northland floods leave homes uninhabitable, farms under water

As the flood waters recede in Northland the full extent of the damage from the weekend’s deluge is becoming clear.

After months of near-crippling drought more than 200mm of rain fell over 10 hours from Friday night.

The main road into Kaitaia remains closed by massive slips.

The Waiharakeke Stream near Kaikohe has slowed to a raging torrent after bursting its banks and flowing into the small town of Moerewa.

Most people have been able to return to their homes, often to find them caked in mud and strewn with debris, and some are uninhabitable.

Moerewa residents are becoming sadly accustomed to the floods, which seem to come every couple of years now.

I heard this one referred to as a 500 year flood, which seems like an arbitrary label, but it highlights the severity of this flood.

There’s a vast plain between Whangārei and Kawakawa could almost be mistaken for a lake if it wasn’t for the tops of fence posts and the farm houses on raised ground surrounded by water.

Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare visited the region yesterday and said it would be a few days yet before the full extent of the damage is known.

Floods closed some of the region’s water treatment plants and Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai said residents are being asked to conserve water for the next few days.

“The quality of the water coming into the treatment plant is just awful and it takes a lot longer to treat that water.

Once the extent of the damage understand more clearly the councils will talk to central government about long-term solutions for flood prevention and repairs to infrastructure, she said.

It’s bad, but it will take time to determine how bad. It will take some time to deal with the damage, and flood prevention wil be a longer term and very difficult project.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  20th July 2020

    The Historic Weather Events site shows that such is the weather of Northland….drought and floods are common events.
    The 1934 flood was severe…caused by “phenomenal” rainfall
    https://hwe.niwa.co.nz/event/December_1934_Northland_Flooding

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  20th July 2020

      Yes, summer droughts and winter floods are the norm. The nonsense about running out of water is just that. Organising seasonal storage where it’s needed is the only issue. Repairing inadequately designed and maintained roads and waterways is also normal up here. The clay that is rock in summer and soup in winter doesn’t help.

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  20th July 2020

        Oh dear
        The usual nonsense from the usual suspects.
        Some one does not know the difference between days and twelve hours.
        from maggys link

        Heavy Rain at BroadwoodShow me on map
        Physical CharacteristicBroadwood recorded 8 in (20.3 cm) of rain in the 48 hours to 9am on the 11th
        Kaikohe recorded 6.91 in (17.6 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 10th.
        Kaikohe recorded 12.21 in (31.0 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 11th. This was a record 24-hour fall.
        Kaitaia recorded 2.84 in (7.2 cm) of rain to 9am on the 10th.
        Physical CharacteristicKaitaia recorded 1.47 in (3.7 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 11th.
        Physical CharacteristicKaitaia recorded 4.37 in (11.1 cm) of rain in the 48 hours to 9am on the 11th.
        Kohukohu recorded 6.00 in (15.2 cm) of rain.
        Mangamuka received about 9 in (22.9 cm) of rain in the 48 hours to the morning of the 11th.
        Ruatangata recorded 1.95 in (5.0 cm) of rain in the 10 hours from 9am to 7pm on the 10th.
        Physical CharacteristicRuatangata recorded 3.96 in (10.1 cm) of rain in the 12 hours from 7pm on the 10th to 7am on the 11th.
        Physical CharacteristicRuatangata recorded 1.62 in (4.1 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 12th.
        Physical CharacteristicRuatangata recorded 9.86 in (25.0 cm) of rain from the 9th till the morning of the 12th.
        Physical CharacteristicRuatangata recorded 1.02 in (2.6 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 13th.
        Waimatenui recorded 5 1/4 in (13.3 cm) of rain on the 9th.
        Physical CharacteristicWaimatenui recorded 1 1/4 in (3.2 cm) of rain on the 10th.
        The Wairua Power Station recorded 2.81 in (7.1 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 10th.
        Peak RainfallThe Wairua Power Station recorded 4.07 in (10.3 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 11th.
        Physical CharacteristicThe Wairua Power Station recorded 0.78 in (2.0 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 12th.
        Whangarei recorded 2.12 in (5.4 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 10th.
        Peak RainfallWhangarei recorded 2.83 in (7.2 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 11th.
        Physical CharacteristicWhangarei recorded 5.76 in (14.6 cm) of rain from the 8th till the 11th.
        Physical CharacteristicWhangarei recorded 0.93 in (2.4 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 12th.
        Physical CharacteristicWhangarei recorded 0.89 in (2.3 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 13th.

        lots of number that are no where near the one in 500 year event norhtland just got hammed with in a very short time span . 220 mm in 12 hours is exceptional rainfall .

        MetService meteorologist Alwyn Bakker said 220 millimetres of rain fell in Whangārei from 7pm last night until around 7am this morning.

        https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/421478/whangarei-gets-220-millimetres-of-rain-overnight-metservice-says
        Basic tells us warmer temperatures means the air can hold more moisture.
        We have some who regularly turn up to deny basic fuckin science time and again.

        FWIW
        i was carefully watching the storms thankfully they did not quite get to this side of the hills .
        We got hammered by the same sort of weather pattern the week before.
        A stationery thunder storm sat on this side of the Brynderwyn range and flooded the local four square washed my neighbors drive out and destroyed fence lines due to flooded streams all around the area .

        What climate science suggest is we will see both deeper droughts along with more extreme rainfall events in Norhtland .
        It is no good planing for the past we need to plan for what we know is coming in the future .
        We can not afford to deny reality and fail to plan for what is going to become more frequent occurrence of both extreme rain fall and deeper droughts .

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  20th July 2020

          Whatever happens is always the fault of climate change. We get that, Griff. We just remember bad weather before “climate emergency”.

          Seems hard to argue that was a 1 in 500 year event given some of the numbers in the 1934 event. You would have to know the patterns across the two differing measurement periods.

          Reply
          • One reporter didn’t know the difference between milliMETRES and milliLITRES.

            One place had had x mls of rain in whatever time it was. The reporter waved a teaspoon around and said ‘ That’s x of these since…’

            Reply

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