New Zealand – Heavy Rain Brings More Floods to North Island

An area of low pressure containing high levels of tropical moisture left over from the remnants of Cyclone Debbie resulted in torrential rain in parts of northern New Zealand from 04 April, 2017.

Cyclone Debbie and its aftermath caused major flooding in parts of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, over the last few days. At least 6 people have died in the floods.

In New Zealand, the heavy rain and strong winds caused havoc in wide areas of North Island stretching from Auckland to Wellington.

According to WMO figures, Tauranga recorded 112 mm of rain in 24 hours between 04 and 05 April. Taupo recorded 74 mm, Gisborne 60.2 mm and Auckland 75 mm during the same period.

Over 100 schools were closed and 92 early learning centres, affecting 13,725 students according to local media.

A power cut in south Auckland affected thousands of homes. Numerous roads were closed and a landslide isolated a number of homes in Titirangi, in south west Auckland. Part of a cliff collapsed in Kohimarama as a result of the rain.

At one point all flights at Wellington Airport were suspended due to the severe weather. Staff worked through the evening to get services back to normal. Earlier today Wellington Airport said:

“Flights will be operating this morning. Expect some delays following last nights cancellations and diversions. Check flight status on web.”

Manawatu-Wanganui Region

Two districts of Whanganui and Rangitikei, both in Manawatu-Wanganui Region have declared states of emergency ahead of expected flooding. Around 170 people evacuated their homes in Whanganui.

Regional emergency management officials said that the region is bracing for further heavy rainfall in the Ruapehu, upper Rangitikei and Whanganui catchments, which is likely to increase river levels.

Controller Craig Grant said:

“The main river systems we are keeping an eye on are the Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina. We are now expecting Whanganui River at Pipiriki to reach a 11.2m peak at 3am which will result in a 7.7m peak at Town Bridge at 8am.

“The Whangaehu is expected to reach a peak of 8.3m at 8.30am and the Turakina is expected to peak at 6.8m at 1.30pm. Whanganui District Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre will remain operational overnight as well.”

Local media say that police are investigating reports a person is missing on the swollen Waikato River.

Remnants of Cyclone Debbie

Earlier in the week Meteorological Service of New Zealand warned that severe weather weather conditions could affect all parts of the country until Thursday or beyond.

The service said that heavy rain and strong winds was expected in many areas, especially from Tuesday to Thursday, as a deepening low containing loads of tropical moisture left over from the remnants of Cyclone Debbie moves across the country.

The highest rainfall accumulations are likely to be in the central and lower North Island and the upper South Island, but everywhere has the potential to see heavy rain at some point.

“This system will impact almost the entire country,” said Metservice Meteorologist Stephen Glassey. “The upper North Island which is still sodden from recent heavy rain events in March, is likely to see more heavy downpours on Wednesday, but they will get rain at other times too.”

“Strong winds are also expected in most places, but it is important to note that this weather system bears very little resemblance to a tropical cyclone other than the fact that it contains loads of tropical moisture that brings with it the potential for heavy rain,” added Glassey.

Floods in March, 2017

The recent heavy rain follows an extremely wet March in northern parts of New Zealand. Areas around Auckland, Northland and Waikato were flooded in March after several days of heavy rain.

On 08 March Golden Valley in Coromandel recorded over 250 mm of rain in 24 hours. The Wairoa River near Clevedon rose by around 5 metres in just a few hours.

Flood summary

Last updated: April 7, 2017
Event
Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Eastern Australia and Northern New Zealand, March to April 2017
Date
March 27, 2017
Type
Coastal flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Bowen (Australia)
B - Airlie Beach (Australia)
C - Proserpine (Australia)
D - Mackay (Australia)
E - Beaudesert (Australia)
F - Tabragalba (Australia)
G - Logan (Australia)
H - Lismore (Australia)
I - Murwillumbah (Australia)
J - Chinderah (Australia)
K - Rockhampton (Australia)
L - Rangitikei (New Zealand)
M - Whanganui (New Zealand)
N - Edgecumbe (New Zealand)

Magnitude

Rainfall level
267 mm in 24 hours
Bowen, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
166 mm in 24 hours
Carfax, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
115 mm in 24 hours
Moranbah, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
115 mm in 24 hours
Mackay, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
191 mm in 24 hours
Sarina, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
233 mm in 24 hours
Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
362 mm in 24 hours
Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
298 mm in 24 hours
Woodburn, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
247 mm in 24 hours
Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
285 mm in 24 hours
Canungra, Queensland, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
242 mm in 24 hours
Maclean, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
River level
11.60 metres
Wilsons River at Lismore, New South Wales, Australia - March 31 to March 31, 2017
River level
6.2 metres
Tweed River at Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia - March 31 to March 31, 2017
River level
2.3 metres
Tweed River at Chinderah (Barneys Point), New South Wales, Australia - March 31 to March 31, 2017
River level
17.33 metres
Richmond River at Kyogle - March 31 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
74 mm in 24 hours
Taupo, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
Rainfall level
60.2 mm in 24 hours
Gisborne, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
Rainfall level
112 mm in 24 hours
Tauranga, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
Rainfall level
72 mm in 24 hours
Auckland, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
River level
8.75 metres
Fitzrpy River, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia - April 6 to April 6, 2017
River discharge
700 cubic metres per second
Rangitaiki River, Edgecumbe, New Zealand - April 6 to April 6, 2017

Damages

Rescued
500 people
New South Wales, Australia - March 28 to April 3, 2017
Evacuated
20,000
New South Wales, Australia - March 28 to March 31, 2017
Fatalities
7 people
New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to April 3, 2017
Evacuated
2,000
Edgecumbe, New Zealand - April 5 to April 7, 2017