Rain, floods and a major bridge washout on the West Coast

Heavy run is normal on the West Coast, but they are currently getting more than usual, with floods road closures from Makarora (just north of Lake Wanaka leading over the Haast pass) to Hokitika.

And there has been a major bridge collapse on the Waiho river just south of Franz Josef township – this is the only road  between there and Fox Glacier.

Civil Defence West Coast


1 News:  Astonishing footage captures bridge collapse in Franz Josef as wild weather batters West Coast

The river doesn’t look particularly high, but has been flowing very strongly with boulders and ice chunks likely to have damaged the supports.

Might need to go a bit faster than 30 to get across that gap.

It could take quite a bit to get that river crossing and therefore the only highway re-opened.

Image may contain: sky

There is currently one road closure, SH6 Franz Josef to Fox Glacier with two slips at Omoeroa and significant surface flooding south of Whataroa at Lake Wahapo. Please watch the NZTA Website for any developments at:

Latest Update:  26 March 2019 8:42 pm

There is a raised risk to life and injury for local residents and further risk to property, and accordingly the Mayor Bruce Smith has declared a State of Emergency for the Westland District.

The Waiho Bridge has been completely destroyed. NZTA will be assessing how to reinstate the Highway following this disastrous event. The ECC will be assessing the need for a controlled evacuation on the South Side of the Waiho River.

Flooding, slips, rain warnings

Cyclone Debbie that hit Queensland and caused major flodding in northern New South Wales is no longer a cyclone but the resulting weather is causing havoc in the North island.

MetService severe weather warning:

ISSUED BY MetService AT 8:20 pm 04-Apr-2017

Heavy rain for many parts of the North Island and the upper South Island, and strong winds across central New Zealand

A deepening low over the Tasman Sea is forecast to cross central New Zealand overnight Wednesday and early Thursday morning and move away to the southeast later Thursday. Heavy rain has already fallen in many places and is expected to continue until the passage of the low early Thursday morning. The heaviest rain is expected from Northland to Whanganui, including Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, the Central North Island High Country, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay,Wairarapa and the Kaikoura Coast. Rainfall totals could exceed 250mm in some areas. There is also potential for thunderstorms and downpours with hourly rainfall rates of 25 to 45mm.

This is a significant amount of rain and people are advised to watch out for rapidly rising rivers and streams, flooding and slips.

In addition, strong southeasterly winds are forecast about central New Zealand. Horowhenua Kapiti Coast, Nelson and Buller are expected to have the strongest winds, where gusts could reach 120 km/h in exposed places for a time during Wednesday. Winds of this strength could cause damage to trees, powerlines and unsecured structures and make driving hazardous.


NZ Herald Live: Weather, rain, flood chaos as Cyclone Debbie wreaks havoc on Auckland, Whanganui, Rangitikei and other parts of North Island, South Island


  • A state of emergency has been declared in Whanganui, with up to 500 people being evacuated this morning.
  • Rangitikei district is also in a state of civil defence
  • Cliff in Auckland’s Kohimarama collapses onto units.
  • Fire services responding to dozens of flooding-related callouts in Auckland as the city is lashed by rain.
  • A heavy rainfall warning applies to the entire North Island and the north and west of the South Island.
  • Some areas may get three times April’s normal rainfall in just 48 hours.
  • Central North Islanders are being told to keep survival items nearby.

Hundreds of residents are being evacuated in Whanganui, a mud slip slammed into homes in one of Auckland’s upmarket suburbs and flooding has closed roads – New Zealanders are waking up to the havoc being wreaked by the tail of Cyclone Debbie.


This is how Cyclone Debbie swung south east after hitting northern Queensland:


The MetService 3 day forecast suggests there could be a lot of rain to come yet, especially in the lower North Island and upper South Island.


Since when was rain not a spring thing?

On whichever channel I was watching last night (I think it was Newshub) they made a comment along the lines of rainy weather not being a spring thing.

The Herald implies something similar:


Stuff had an odd Spring caption in Heavy rain lashing Auckland and Northland causes flooding:

Sophia Williams, 4 of Herne Bay, was enjoying the wet weather despite it technically being spring.

Wet weather despite it being spring? Rain in spring tends to be helpful in making things grow, and it’s not out of the ordinary.

Auckland averages 1211 mm of rain a year, 105 mm in September (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland#Climate with Whangarei slightly more), so September is average for rainfall there. Average rain days per year are 136, in September it’s 12.8 so again fairly normal – every second or third day it rains on average.

There was also flooding last September by the look of Heavy rain, flooding in North Island spark warnings.

September 2012: Auckland suburbs flood as rain hits.

Stupid headlines and content are common, but it stood out that three media coincidentally made stupid comments about spring rain.


A lot of rain

A freak weather system dumped a lot of rain on Dunedin yesterday. 174 mm of rain was recorded for the day, which is more than the record rainfall for June for Dunedin, 168 mm.

This is as reported by One News but the rainfall varied in different areas as did the recording. Metservice states 164 mm on the Dunedin weather page, and the University of Otago weather station lists 152 mm.

Regardless, there was a heap of rain in a day, especially for Dunedin where most rain is relatively light, and sustained heavy rain is uncommon.

This has already prompted claims of ‘climate change’. It may or may not be related. It was an unusual weather pattern that targeted Dunedin and surrounding areas.

DunedinInfraRedWeatherThis infrared photo from 3 am this morning still shows the system in place that swept wind and rain in towards the Dunedin region.

I watched a lot of this unfold yesterday from an elevated office. I left work early because I wanted to avoid travelling at dusk. I didn’t have any problems getting home but negotiated several semi-flooded parts of road and passed many torrents pouring down the West Harbour hillside. There were some minor slips that only just reached the road. This was probably one of the less scathed parts of the city.

After dark two drivers didn’t notice a wash out and crashed into it on the Peninsula – Road ‘disappeared’.

I know someone who had difficulty getting their kids home from school and ended up getting their ute swamped so they had to walk the last half kilometre.

We lost our power about midnight but it’s now restored, but others are still switched off.

We won’t find out the extent of damage until it gets light today but there will be a lot of cleaning up to do.

I’m not a meteorologist nor a climate scientist so will make no claim on what this momentary weather event means in the greater scheme of things, except that I think it’s impossible to be sure.

Damp squib headline about rain and the cricket world cup

The World Cup quarter finals start today.

  • Wednesday 18th 4.30 pm (NZT) Sri Lanka versus South Africa (Sydney)
  • Thursday 19th 4.30 pm (NZT) Australia versus Pakistan (Adelaide)
  • Friday 20th 4.30 pm (NZT) Bangladesh versus India (Melbourne)
  • Saturday 21st 2.00 pm New Zealand versus West Indies (Wellington)

Stuff headline: Weather gods could send New Zealand to Cricket World Cup final

If the weather gods frown, the Black Caps could be smiling for the rest of this Cricket World Cup.

The knockout stages, starting in Sydney on Wednesday, see reserve days come into play for the rest of the tournament. Under the playing conditions, every opportunity will be taken to complete a minimum 20-overs-a-side match on the scheduled day if rain intervenes, but the match can resume on the reserve day rather than starting afresh.

Should rain not allow a match to be completed over two days, the team placed highest in pool play progresses. In that case the Black Caps could theoretically make the March 29 final without bowling another ball in Saturday’s quarterfinal or Tuesday’s semifinal in Auckland, as they topped pool A.

For the final in Melbourne, a super over will be used to separate teams in the event of a tie. If it rains for two days and the match can’t be completed, then the title will be shared

It’s interesting to know how that works but Headline gods could send Stuff to the stupid corner for being so misleading.

After the dramatics they say:

On current forecasts it’s unlikely New Zealand will be rained on, after a largely uninterrupted pool phase on this side of the Tasman.

The Metservice forecast for Wellington is for fine weather on Friday and Saturday, while the long-range prediction for Auckland is for fine weather and light winds on Tuesday.

So while weather could affect New Zealand’s progress the forecast suggests it’s unlikely.

It would be good to see New Zealand win or fail based on their ability to compete at the play-off stage. Rain would be a damp squib, as is this headline

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

John Banks after he left court today:

There’s a wonderful 1930’s song “Onto every life some rain must fall”. And for me the rain’s still falling.

We were hoping it would become a very sunny day. We are disappointed with the verdict. We are surprised with the result.

Presumably this refers to “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall“, a 1944 song performed as a duet by The Ink Spots, featuring Bill Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald (Wikipedia).

Into each life some rain must fall
But too much is falling in mine
Into each heart some tears must fall
But some day the sun will shine

Some folks can lose the blues in their hearts
But when I think of you another shower starts
Into each life some rain must fall
But too much is falling in mine

Farmers are celebrating but…

…some of the media continue to paint a gloomy picture – by forecasting sunshine!

RadioLIVE Newsroom@LIVENewsDesk

Farmers are celebrating rain – up to 50mls in parts of the North Island …
but forecasters say the sun will be back by Thursday

Message to non-farmers – sunshine after rain actually helps grass to regrow.

And a weather forecast expert said that this rain probably signals the end of the stable weather patterns and a return to more normal wet/dry cycles.

You don’t have to have continuous rain for a month to break a drought.

Waitangi tribunal to recommend rain guages?

Will the Waitangi tribunal recommend everyone installs rain guages?

It would make rain royalties much easier to measure.