Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Wild weather in Auckland

Wettest December hour on record: Person hurt by lightning, flights delayed, schools closed as storm rages across Auckland

5 December, 2018


A short but brutal storm has delivered two hours of thunder, lightning and heavy downpours to Auckland.

Thunderstorms battered the region starting around 8am causing power outages, flight cancellations, flooding and school closures, with lightning injuring a worker at a south Auckland business.

The storms hit the entire region with lightning strikes reported from Orewa down to Manukau.

At 9:30am Metservice was showing more than 860 lightning strikes had struck the region.


The storm had seen the wettest hour in December in Auckland on record, NIWA said, adding it was also the wettest summer hour since 1975.

There were ongoing disruptions at Auckland airport, with flights delayed or cancelled as a result of the weather. Several aircraft required engineering inspections due to possible lightning strikes.

Air New Zealand chief operational integrity standards officer Captain David Morgan said while aircraft were insulated and designed to withstand lightning strikes, they must be inspected before they could depart.

"While we regret the disruption to our customers, safety must come first and we ask customers to bear with us as we manage through the effects of the weather and carry out inspections."

The airline was expecting significant flow-on disruption across its domestic network throughout the day.

In Blockhouse Bay, resident Amy Buncuga said lightning had hit right outside her home.

"It gave me such a fright, I screamed, I hate thunder and lightning it was going on pretty steadily for around an hour it was pretty crazy."


with lightning strikes reported from Orewa down to Manukau.

Lightning and thunder in Auckland

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At 9:30am Metservice was showing more than 860 lightning strikes had struck the region.
READ MORE:
Torrential downpours flooded homes in Hamilton
Auckland wakes to hail, thunder and lightning strikes
Heavy rain and thunder to come for North
The storm had seen the wettest hour in December in Auckland on record, NIWA said, adding it was also the wettest summer hour since 1975.

There were ongoing disruptions at Auckland airport, with flights delayed or cancelled as a result of the weather. Several aircraft required engineering inspections due to possible lightning strikes.
Air New Zealand chief operational integrity standards officer Captain David Morgan said while aircraft were insulated and designed to withstand lightning strikes, they must be inspected before they could depart.
"While we regret the disruption to our customers, safety must come first and we ask customers to bear with us as we manage through the effects of the weather and carry out inspections."

Bad weather hit Auckland around 8.30am on Tuesday
NICOLE LAWTON/STUFF
Bad weather hit Auckland around 8.30am on Tuesday

The airline was expecting significant flow-on disruption across its domestic network throughout the day.
In Blockhouse Bay, resident Amy Buncuga said lightning had hit right outside her home.
"It gave me such a fright, I screamed, I hate thunder and lightning it was going on pretty steadily for around an hour it was pretty crazy."

The lightning in Blockhouse Bay struck Natalie McNamara's television antenna, attached to her house. 
McNamara said the antenna caught on fire and there were sparks. 
"It singed all the wires, fried our TV, modem and phone," McNamara said. 

Lightning hit Natalie McNamara's television antenna in Blockhouse Bay on Tuesday.
SUPPLIED
Lightning hit Natalie McNamara's television antenna in Blockhouse Bay on Tuesday.

The guttering on her home had also been burnt, she said. 
McNamara had been sitting on the couch – a couple of metres away from the TV – with her two children, comforting them when the thunder and lightning hit, she said. 
"The kids were mortified and petrified – it was surreal.

Lightning struck the water by Red Beach on Auckland's North Shore
TRAVIS CLEETON
Lightning struck the water by Red Beach on Auckland's North Shore

"It sounded like a massive firework but it was another level with how loud it was."
Since the morning, her ears were still ringing and she had a massive headache, she said. 
Fire Services spokesman Colin Underdown said they were "inundated" with emergency callouts and there had been about 100 calls between 8am and 10am.



View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Morning commute heads up: heavy showers and thunderstorms are just offshore. Impact on area possible near/after 8 am. If thunder roars, head indoors. ~Chris
See NIWA Weather's other Tweets

The bulk of the calls were lightning strikes, flooding and alarm activations due to the electrical storm, he said.

"There were a couple trees down, we have had a building or two struck by lightning, there was a well involved garage fire in Mangere that they think was struck by lightning strike."
Woman injured
A woman was injured by a lightning strike in Māngere and was in a moderate condition.

Rain and thunderstorms are expected across the top of the north island.
SUPPLIED
Rain and thunderstorms are expected across the top of the north island.

The incident happened at Happy Campers campervan rental and the receptionist, Andy Carpentier, said one of his colleagues fainted after a huge crash of thunder overhead. 
He was unsure if lightning struck the building but said: "It sounded really, really close."
Photo frames fell off the wall, the lights went out and the phones were dead for a few moments.


Carpentier said the woman, in her 50s, fell unconscious around 8.40am and was still not fully conscious half an hour later.
Power outages
Vector spokeswoman Murielle Baker said the strikes caused Vector's network to trip in some suburbs including Whangaparaoa, Piha, Laingholm, Oratia, and Helensville, Maraetai, and Clevedon.

Metservice is showing more than 860 strikes across Auckland this morning as a consequence of the thunder storm that is passing across the city.
SUPPLIED
Metservice is showing more than 860 strikes across Auckland this morning as a consequence of the thunder storm that is passing across the city.

"Vector's network managers are back-feeding electricity to those affected areas from nearby powerlines and other infrastructure, and power is being continuously restored to these areas where possible.
"However, in some areas, some customers may remain without power until it is safe for Vector's outage crews to repair the faults in the storm.
"During a power outage, please remember the safety of the public and Vector's contracting field staff is of primary importance and please, always treat downed lines as live and stay clear."



A great shot from Karen Wilson out in Orewa this morning as the storms rolled through . 1848 strikes, 148 of these were positive (the most energetic) strikes ⚡⚡⚡ Main band of storms currently over eastern Bay of Plenty. Radar @ http://bit.ly/BayOfPlentyRadar  ^JM
See MetService's other Tweets

Flights cancelled
Flights in and out from Auckland Airport have been delayed and an Air New Zealand spokesperson said there were "significant delays" to both international and domestic flights.
Customers were being advised to delay non-urgent travel and consult the airline's arrivals and departures page.
Steve Boukaram said his flight to Sydney was delayed about four hours after it was struck by lightning. 
Boukaram said they were advised electrical and engineering checks had to be completed before they were given the all clear.
A spokesman for Auckland Airport said a lightning alert had been issued just after 8am.

Flooding in Glenesk Valley, Piha.
HEIDI PADAIN/SUPPLIED
Flooding in Glenesk Valley, Piha.

"All refuelling aircraft have stopped on the airfield," he said.
Earlier there was an evacuation at the Jetstar end of the domestic terminal, an Auckland Airport spokesperson confirmed.
"The strength of the lightening triggered an alert in the domestic terminal, which then instigated a brief evacuation of the terminal," he said.

Flooding along the road in Glenesk Valley, Piha.
BOBBIE CARROLL
Flooding along the road in Glenesk Valley, Piha.

"Travellers were bought back inside shortly afterwards."
Schools closed
Henderson Valley School in West Auckland was forced to close as they had no power or phones as the storm hit.

An Auckland Transport bus braving the floodwaters on Glengarry Rd, Glen Eden.
SUPPLIED
An Auckland Transport bus braving the floodwaters on Glengarry Rd, Glen Eden.

In a Facebook post, the school said the Ministry of Education had advised it to close due to health and safety and children should be kept at home.
Oratia District School, Kelston Boys' High School and Papatoetoe Central School had also been closed due to the weather and related power outages.
Children who were already dropped at Oratia were being supervised by staff until parents or caregivers could collect them.



The storms which rolled over are now moving through the Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel Peninsula. Auckland weather improving, but the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua regions can also expect heavy and thundery showers over the next few hours. Radar @ http://bit.ly/NZRainRadar  ^JM
See MetService's other Tweets

"No power at school means our septic tank system will not be operational which creates an unsafe environment for students and staff."
Flooding
Glenesk Rd in Piha became flooded with water during the deluge.



Auckland: you just had your wettest December hour on record (31.4 mm) 🌧️

It was also the 2nd wettest summer hour on record, surpassed only by 08-01-1975.

[Recorded at our station in Mangere where hourly records began in 1965]
See NIWA Weather's other Tweets

Piha resident Bobbie Carroll said the storm and its lightning was intense but only lasted about half an hour - unlike the storm in February and April this year when the rain was constant.
"This was a flash thunder storm. The lightning was ferocious."
Glen Eden in West Auckland also had flooding problems.
Resident Linda Baird said the bottom of Glengarry Rd had been completely covered by the swollen stream.
The calm after the storm
At 10am MetService confirmed the bad weather was moving away from Auckland and further down the country to the Hauraki Gulf and the Coromandel Peninsula.
On the brighter side, Millward said once the storms passed through, the weather should fine up by the afternoon.
"We can expect to see some lighter showers overnight and through to Thursday but it should be nicer on the weekend.
"It's been quite a turbulent few weeks in terms of weather."
 

Hamilton farmer 'bloody lucky' after four cows killed by lightning


4 December, 2018

A Hamilton farmer says he and his boss had a lucky escape after four of their cows were struck by lightning and killed.

No captionPhoto: Supplied / James Miles
Thunderstorms lashed parts of the North Island this morning, particularly Auckland.
More than 1800 lightning strikes were recorded in the region by the Metservice with 148 hitting the ground.

On a farm on Onion Road just out of Hamilton, herd manager James Miles said he was "bloody lucky" not to have been struck by the storm.

He and his boss, the farm owner, joked about going home because of the risk of getting hit by lightning as they sent their cows on their way from milking.

"Little did we know that maybe we shouldn't have been making those little jokes because it very easily could have been our last trips up that race because we were only five or 10 minutes away from following those cows.

"I got a call back from the boss say 'turn off the power as fast as you can, we've had four cows struck by lightning and I hope that's it."

He said the cows were a big loss for them.

"It must have hit one of them and forked off on to the other couple."
There were 130 lightning strikes reported in the Auckland region in five minutes.There were 130 lightning strikes reported in the Auckland region in five minutes. Photo: Niwa

He said they couldn't be used for animal feed and they'd arranged for them to be picked up by a disposal company.

"We were bloody lucky to be honest.

"When I went down there and I took the video I was a little bit shaken myself and I rang the boss's wife when I got home and I said 'I'm a bit bloody nervous to go outside' but at the end of the day it did clear up a bit and of course we've got a lot to do.

He said he wasn't the only one counting his lucky stars.

"We actually have a contractor on the farm cleaning some council drains and they said they saw a lightning bolt hit about 40 metres away from them in the paddock.
"They were in a digger with the boom fully extended. So he was very lucky also."


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