New Zealand Flooding (Ex-Severe Tropical Cyclone Cook)

Prolonged intense rainfall on April 13-14, associated with the remnants of former Severe Tropical Cyclone Cook, has led to flash and river flooding and mudslides across New Zealand. At this time, Christchurch (South Island), Hawke’s Bay and the Bay of Plenty (North Island) appear to be worst affected. In Christchurch, the Avon and Heathcote rivers overtopped their banks, causing flooding to residential properties in the St Albans and Flockton suburbs of the city. There are currently no estimates of the number of buildings impacted. Local media reports floodwater depths of up to 0.3 m (1 ft) . The city council has activated several temporary pumps to clear the floodwaters. In Hawke’s Bay, northwest New Zealand, strong winds tore roofs off several commercial and residential properties . In Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, several dozen homes have been severely damaged due to strong winds and downed trees. Damage reports include smashed windows and doors, damaged roofs, and destroyed outbuildings. A state of emergency has been declared in Whakatane District . Damage in Auckland is limited to minor localized street flooding and downed trees and powerlines. Minor property damage has been caused by localized mudslides across the North Island. Around 20,000 buildings in Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Wairarapa, Whanganui and the Bay of Plenty lost power during the event due to downed powerlines. Power has since been restored to the majority of buildings apart from the town of Whakatane which remains without power. Two injuries have been attributed to the event. The flooding comes a week after rainfall from former Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie inundated at least 400 homes in the town of Edgecumbe, Bay of Plenty, after a river breached its stopbanks, and several mudslides and landslides damaged numerous buildings including several luxury apartment complexes in Auckland. Meteorological Conditions and Forecast . According to New Zealand’s MetService, sustained wind speeds of up to 120 km/hr (74 mph) were recorded at Hawke’s Bay, North Island. A peak gust of 209 km/hr (130 mph) was recorded at White Island. According to the MetService, former Severe Tropical Cyclone Cook did not intensify strongly as forecast by global and small-scale weather models. The system was compact and the strongest winds remained east of Auckland, but significantly impacted the Bay of Plenty . Rainfall amounts of up to 350 mm (13.7 in) were recorded in a 60-hour period to April 15 in Nelson. Widespread amounts of 200 mm (7.8 in) were recorded across New Zealand. The MetService has lifted all severe gale and heavy rainfall warnings associated with former Severe Tropical Cyclone Cook. Thunderstorms are forecast to impact central and northern parts of New Zealand through Sunday April 16, with heavy rain forecast to impact the West Coast, Otago and Canterbury areas in the coming 48 hours, which could cause localized flash flooding given the saturated ground conditions.

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