Friday, 5 January 2018

Wild weather throughout New Zealand

Wild weather in New Zealand.
We had some rain here in Wellington overnight which has taken the temperatures down from about 28C to 26C.

The wild weather is still to hit us here.

You know the Anglo-Saxons and how they talk about the weather. We had a birthday party yesterday and the one thing people DIDN'T talk about was the weather.


Any talk of climate change is totally taboo.



The wild weather has claimed its first death after a large tree fell on a woman's car in Rotorua.

A yacht has been thrown up onto the beach at Okahu Bay during the January summer storm.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:



* A woman has died after a tree fell onto a car in Rotorua.



* According to NIWA, since 9am Thursday, 41mm of rain fell in Auckland - more than the total amount of rain in November and December combined.



* State Highway 25 between Thames and Manaia is closed due to slips and rock falls.



* The overnight downpour has forced the closure of State Highway 1 to Kaikōura until further notice.



* Part of Auckland's Tamaki Drive has been closed due to water spilling on the road.



* People in low-laying parts of the Firth of Thames are being told to urgently self-evacuate.



* MetService expect the worst of the severe weather to be over by midday tomorrow.


https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/100321876/live-summer-storm-set-to-lash-the-country
Crews work to free a person trapped in a car in Rotorua when a tree fell on the vehicle Crews work to free a person trapped in a car in Rotorua when a tree fell on the vehicle Photo: RNZ / Phil Pennington

5 January, 2017


The storm has also been battering much of the North Island and some of the South Island.
MetService said earlier today that the summer storm is far from over and will actually strengthen.






Here's what you need to know as the storm spirals its way across the country.
Check out the latest story here.
Today's forecast: 
  • MetService said the summer storm that has been battering much of the North Island is far from over and will actually strengthen.
  • The deep low is set to bring severe west to northwest gales to the central and upper North Island, and gale-force  southwesterlies across the lower North Island and eastern areas of the upper South Island. 
  • Meteorologist Nick Zacher said the winds could gust to more than 160 kilometres per hour. He said the storm is fast moving and will keep getting stronger until noon. 
  • Heavy rain over Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne is expected to ease this morning but further bursts are possible throughout the day.
  • Up to 150 millimetres could fall around Mount Taranaki, Tongariro National Park and the Tararua Ranges today .
  • Rain should ease in the Nelson area this morning but it is expected to become heavy in Marlborough, with up to 160 mm expected about the Kaikoura Ranges.
  • There should be a break tomorrow, when the low is expected to move away to the southeast .







Here's the latest from Powerco on outages in the North Island:
"The storm battering the North Island has caused outages across Powerco’s electricity networks.
"At 10am today about 800 customers were without power, the majority being in Tauranga (450) and Coromandel (250). Areas less affected include South Waikato and Taranaki.

"Extra field crews have been brought in to cope with restoring supply.

"Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said strong winds began causing damage to the network from around 9pm yesterday. 
"He said it was difficult to estimate restoration times due to the number of power cuts. 
“We are assessing the damage as calls come in. Once we have a better understanding of the extent of repairs needed we can provide more accurate restoration times. We understand this can be frustrating and apologise for the inconvenience.”
“We’ve had reports of lines down in remote parts of the network and at this stage the weather is preventing getting a helicopter up to inspect the situation."
He said people should take extreme care if they see trees down. People need to check for downed lines which are dangerous and must be treated as live at all times.

People must keep clear of all downed lines by at least 4m and call emergency services on 111 or Powerco on 0800 27 27 27 immediately they see them.

The storm had struck right in the middle of the school holidays and he urged parents to keep family indoors.

“Trampolines and outdoor furniture become missiles and get tangled in power lines during gale force winds,” he said.
Homeowners should take steps to store or tie down backyard gear.



A woman has died after a tree crashed down on to a car in Rotorua, police have confirmed.
The sole occupant of the car died and emergency services are working to remove the woman's body, a statement said.
"At approximately 10:45am emergency services were called to Arawa Street, Rotorua, near Amohia Street, following reports a tree had come down on a car and building.
"Arawa Street has been closed and diversions are being put in place while emergency services respond to the incident.
"Police have also checked on staff working in the building on Arawa Street which was hit by the tree and they are all ok.
"As well as this incident, two trees have come down on Long Mile Road, Rotorua and one has fallen onto a car.
"No one was in the vehicle. A tree has also come down across Sala Street, Rotorua.
"Both roads are completely blocked and traffic management is in place.
"Police ask that people stay away from this forest area.
"Bay of Plenty Police ask that people avoid all unnecessary travel and take extreme care if out and about during these weather conditions," 



Te Puna Station Road in the Bay of Plenty is closed due to flooding. 
Contractors have been advised and a section is closed from the intersection of State Highway Two. 



About 200 Kaiaua residents are set to be evacuated. 
The inundation of sea has caused road closures to Miranda and East Coast road, and State Highway two west of Ngatea is closed.
Hauraki Civil Defence opfficer Steve Fabish says a number of trees fell on the roads causing a closure. 
He says civil defence are assisting residents to evacaute to the local fire station on higher ground.
Steve Fabish says he expects people to be evacuated for a few hours. 

THE BIGGER PICTURE

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'Everything has just dried up'

The deluge of rain expected to hit most of the country this week is unlikely to help regions plagued by water shortages, officials say.
Dry Southland pasture Many parts of the country are struggling with dry conditions after weeks of hot weather. Photo: Southland Regional Council

5 January, 2018

Several districts - including Coromandel, Horowhenua, Wellington and Otago - have recently put water restrictions in place, following months of extremely hot and dry weather.

While some were hoping the heavy rain forecast for later tonight may provide a bit of relief, many officials say it won't last long enough to make a difference.

Residents in the Horowhenua towns of Levin and Ohau were being urged to conserve water as the dry weather they have experienced since mid-October has seen river flows become critically low.

The Horowhenua District Council has imposed restrictions, meaning residents must not use sprinklers and hoses for their gardens or pools, or to clean their cars and windows.

Water services engineer Maurice McGunnigle said it was something they had not had to do in years.

"Speaking with the contractor and operators, who have lived in the area for the last 20 or 30 years, it's very unusual to have an early summer like we've had at the moment. Everything has just dried up, we've had hardly any rain and the groundwater levels have reduced a great deal."

He said rain was need, but a short burst might not help much.

"I think more than anything we would be hoping for low intensity rainfall that lasts for a long period, so it can have time to soak into the ground, and then as more water eventually kind of holds in the ground and it builds again. 

Even if we get a short sharp period of rain over the next few days, there might be an increase in the Ohau River levels, but that might only last a couple of days, and the river level will drop again.

"I'd say you'd probably need at least a week of continuous rain."

He said in the meantime, everyone should play their part to ensure water levels did not get too low.

"Every little bit helps because it does mount up and it helps everyone in the community and not just the residents but the businesses as well they have to operate and by keeping a watchful eye on our water usage it can help immensely."

Similar restrictions are in place in Wellington, where there's now a ban on household use of garden sprinklers and other irrigation systems until further notice.

No caption Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Further south, the Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday imposed restrictions as reservoir levels dropped rapidly, but it said residents acted quickly to conserve water and the reservoir was able to replenish overnight.
In Coromandel, sprinklers, hoses and irrigation are also banned in several townships, including in Pauanui, Matarangi and Coromandel Town.

Thames-Coromandel District Council infrastructure manager Bruce Hinson said thousands of holidaymakers flocking to the region were putting added strain on the water supply.

He said it was common for the season, but streams and groundwater levels were much lower than they would normally be leading into the period.

"At this time of year we can have anything up to five or six times the number of people that we would normally have on the peninsula, and so in a lot of our townships where we have suppliers from groundwater bores or quite small streams, it puts quite a lot of pressure on. So we just try to manage this demand over those short couple of weeks over the summer period."

Mr Hinson said the heavy rain forecast would not help in short term, and could even make things more difficult.

"When you get this kind of rain, the streams get quite dirty and they get additional dirt sediment runoff from all the hills and that gets into the stream. 

And what that means is that it makes it harder for the water treatment plant to produce clean drinking water."

NIWA forecaster Chris Brandolino said a long bout of rain was needed for parched regions.

"A very dry ground can often be like cement. It does get absorbed, but not nearly as much as if it were a gentle or more spaced-out rainfall, with the runoff too it also causes an elevated risk of flooding, because the streams and rivers steal that runoff as opposed to going into the ground.

"So yes, it will help. But not much as it would have if it was over say two or three or four days."



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