New Zealand – Earthquake Followed by Landslides and Severe Weather Warnings

The earthquake in Kaikoura, New Zealand, along with numerous aftershocks, have caused rock- and landslides, one of which has blocked a stretch of the Clarence River to the north of Kaikoura.

Heavy rain has added to the risk of landslides in several areas, including the city of Wellington which experienced heavy rainfall and some surface flooding over the weekend when 83.8 mm of rain fell on Saturday, 12 November.

Wellington City Council warned earlier today that “a combination of continuing quake tremors and heavy rain raises the risk that rockfalls and landslips could come down on roads in steeper parts of the region.”

MetService New Zealand has warned of further severe weather and heavy rainfall in parts of South Island.

Earthquake

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) said that around midnight (local time) on Monday 14 November a magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred 15 km northeast of Culverden in the South Island, at a depth of 15 km. A state of emergency remains in Kaikoura.

Several strong aftershocks with magnitudes up to 6.5 magnitude and depth of 10 km have been recorded.

Local media reported that two people have been killed, more than 20 have been injured, hundreds have been evacuated and roads have been closed in northern Canterbury region. Many schools will remain closed in the regions of Canterbury (South Island) and Wellington (North Island).

Canterbury Regional Emergency Management Office say that if you’re searching for someone, please call the Police Southern Communications Centre on 0800-780-102.

Tsunami Threat

The quakes triggered a tsunami warning for parts of the east coast. All tsunami warnings have now been cancelled.

MCDEM said earlier today that “there is no longer any tsunami threat to any area of New Zealand. However coastal areas may have unusually strong coastal currents or sea level fluctuations for some time and we continue to advise people to take extra care around the water.”

Tsunami warnings, New Zealand, 14 November, 2016. Image: Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management
Tsunami warnings, New Zealand, 14 November, 2016. Image: Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management

Flooding and Landslides

Wellington recorded 83.8 mm of rain in a 24 hour period on 12 November, 2016, which is more than the November monthly average of 74.8 mm for the city.

The downpour blocked drains and caused surface flooding. Around 30 residents were evacuated as a precaution. Local media say that the city’s Fire Service responded to emergency calls in flooded areas north of the city centre on where at least three properties had been affected by flooding.

Areas around Pauatahanui were particularly badly affected. Local media reported that Surging at 80 cubic metres a second, the Pauatahanui Stream recorded its biggest flooding since records began in 1975, Greater Wellington Regional Council figures show.”

Wellington City Council warned earlier today that “a combination of continuing quake tremors and heavy rain raises the risk that rockfalls and landslips could come down on roads in steeper parts of the region.”

Clarence River

A landslide north of Kaikoura has blocked the Clarence River, threatening flooding in the area. No evacuations have been carried out, but civil defence authorities have warned people to stay away from the river.

Severe Weather Warnings

MetService New Zealand said on 14 November that”severe weather is expected to hit New Zealand later today, including a number of areas affected by this morning’s earthquakes. Severe weather warnings have been issued for strong winds and heavy rain developing this evening in central New Zealand, with gusts up to 140km/h expected in exposed places.

“An active weather system is approaching the lower South Island, with a wedge of warm air from the tropics bringing heavy rain with it. Rain is expected to be heaviest in northwest Nelson, Buller and Westland, and also in the ranges of Marlborough Sounds, Taranaki, Tararua Ranges and the headwaters from Whanganui to Ruapehu. Localised downpours are possible, with a high risk of thunderstorms on the West Coast of the South Island this evening until early Tuesday morning. Areas in the east, including Kaikoura, will miss the worst of this rain although scattered falls are likely there overnight before clearing in the morning.”

Featured image: New Zealand Defence Force

Flood Summary

Last updated: November 16, 2016
Event
New Zealand, November 2016
Date
November 12, 2016
Type
Flash flood, Inland flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Wellington
B - Clarence River Canterbury
C - Pauatahanui

Magnitude

Rainfall level
83.8 mm in 24 hours
Wellington - November 11 to November 12, 2016
River level
Overflowing
Clarence River, near Clarence, Canterbury - November 14 to November 16, 2016
River blocked by landslide.

Damages

Evacuated
30 people
Wellington - November 12 to November 12, 2016