Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weather woes

Well, this weather has certainly been causing problems around the place -

Sewage overflows, surface flooding, slips & road closures, and unfortunate incidents like the train collision north of Plimmerton -

Some very quick thinking on the part of the staff on the trains probably prevented serious injury. The drivers were very lucky to escape with their lives.

The rain is expected to ease after midnight, thankfully.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wind & rain

You'll never guess... More wind & rain!

The friendly folks at the MetService have issued yet another Severe Weather Warning, this time for heavy rain in the Tararuas and Wellington area.

Rain is expected to become persistent and heavier on Thursday morning. In the 15 to 18 hours from about 9am Thursday expect 150-200mm on upper slopes and 70 to 100mm lower down including about the hills on the Kapiti Coast and about the Hutt Valley.

There's also a Severe Weather Watch out for a spell of north to northwest gales with gusts around 100 km/h likely in Wellington, and southern Wairarapa from mid/late morning on Thursday until evening.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deja vu

If you read yesterday's post and change the day to Friday, and the times to midday to midnight, you'll get the idea of tomorrow's weather warning.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yet more wind...

Just in case you hadn't had enough already, the MetService has issued a Severe Weather Warning for more severe northesterly gales for us, gusting to 120km/hr in exposed places - from 8pm tonight to 3am tomorrow morning.

Mind you, looking out the window over the past two days, I'm rather enjoying this "storm the size of Australia" - it's gorgeous out there today! I do feel sorry for those who aren't in Porirua, however.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Windy afternoon

Thankfully we appear to have been spared the worst of what was forecast for us over the weekend, though I had two trees come down at my place on Friday night. Looking at some of the picture here -, you would hardly believe we're almost 3 weeks into Spring!

The MetService is forcasting more wind for us today - severe northwest gales with gusts up to 120km/h in exposed places this afternoon. Winds that strong can damage powerlines and trees, and make driving conditions dangerous, so take care out there!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

The latest in from our friends at the MetService

Two fronts are expected to cross the North Island today. The first lies at mid morning from Waitomo to the northwest, and is expected to clear the East Cape area this evening. A second front lying over the upper South Island is expected to intensify this afternoon and may organise into a squall line as it crosses the upper North Island late afternoon/early evening to lie east of East Cape by late evening.

There is a high risk of quite squally thunderstorms on both of these features as they cross the west and north of the North Island.

Over the Kapiti Coast to Taranaki, and from Waitomo/Waikato north, and also over northern Coromandel Peninsula, central and eastern Bay of Plenty and far northern Gisborne, some of these thunderstorms may be SEVERE due to thepotential for damaging wind gusts to 130km/hr or so. There is also a risk of a tornado.

Wind gusts of this strength can cause some structural damage, including trees and power lines, and may make driving hazardous. If any tornados occur, they will only affect very localised areas.

Should severe weather approach or if you feel threatened, take shelter immediately.

Issued by: Paul Mallinson
This watch will be updated by: 02:30 pm Friday 17 September 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Severe gales & significant wave heights around Porirua shores

Residents living in coastal areas of Porirua should be aware that there is a large storm affecting the seas of the western coast (not the interior harbour). Wave heights this weekend may reach between 6 and 8 metres at sea, with significant if not similar wave heights on land around Pukerua Bay and Centennial Highway.

High tide times can be found in the table below.

Thursday 16 Sept03:24 1.3m09:22 0.6m16:01 0.7m22:13 0.7m
Friday 17 Sept04:39 1.3m10:37 0.7m17:23 1.3m23:30 0.7m
Saturday 18 Sept05:36 1.3m11:53 0.7m
Sunday 19 Sept00:34 0.6m07:00 1.3m12:54 0.6m19:24 1.4m

If you are concerned, or think that you may be in danger, you should ring 111 and ask for Police, who will coordinate the first response.

Northwesterly winds are expected to rise to gale overnight Thursday with severe gale gusts for a time during Friday. In the period 12 hour period from 6am to 6pm Friday, northwesterly gusts of 120 km/h are likely in exposed places.

Winds of this strength have the potential to lift roofs, topple trees and powerlines and make driving conditions hazardous.

A storm the size of Australia? Crikey!

According to the latest news - - a storm the size of Australia will be lurking 1000km south of New Zealand, the edges of which will bring some remarkably foul weather our way.

See also -

The MetService has issued a Severe Weather Warning for a good chunk of the country - Wellington included.

Northwesterlies are expected to rise to gale overnight, and severe gale about Wellington, Wairarapa & Marlborough Sounds tomorrow morning, with gusts of 120kph. Winds that strong can lift roofs, topple trees and powerlines, and make driving dangerous, especially if you are on a motorbike, or driving a high-sided vehicle.

It'll be raining too, and also likely to be bitterly cold (many places are expecting snow to low levels), so keep an eye on vulnerable farm stock if you have them.

With all the rain we've had lately I'd expect a few slips around the place, so if you come across one that is causing problems, or surface flooding, don't hesitate to ring the council - 04-237-5089 (24hrs)

Take care out there!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Doing our bit

A team of three Porirua City Council building inspectors have been dispatched to assist in assessing the many damaged buildings in Canterbury over the next few days. We also have three staff assisting at the National Crisis Management Centre under the Beehive this week.

And our waterworks and drainage team remain on standby to be deployed if required.

Good luck to the guys & gals heading down, I'm sure your skills will be much appreciated - even if your assessments of the buildings possibly won't be liked much by the owners!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Animated aftershock map

Someone posted a link to a rather awesome animated map of the aftershocks of the Darfield quake - it's a bit like watching fireworks.
The bigger circles represent bigger quakes, and the different colours indicate the focal depth of each aftershock.

Local quakes

What I thought were yet more notifications of aftershocks in Canterbury, were actually notifications of quakes near Wellington! One at 15:48 & one at 16:18. I didn't feel a thing. Don't forget to fill in a Felt Report if you noticed them.

The following earthquake has been recorded by GNS:
Reference number: 3368099/G
Universal Time: 2010/09/07 03:48:42
Local time (NZST): 03:48 PM on Tuesday 07 September 2010
Latitude, Longitude: 41.35S, 174.54E
NZ Map Grid (E, N): 2639000, 5983000
NZ Trans Merc (E, N): 1729000, 5421000
Location: 20 km west of Wellington
Focal depth: 40
Magnitude: 4.0
Web page:

The following earthquake has been recorded by GNS:
Reference number: 3368110/G
Universal Time: 2010/09/07 04:18:56
Local time (NZST): 04:18 PM on Tuesday 07 September 2010
Latitude, Longitude: 41.36S, 174.54E
NZ Map Grid (E, N): 2639000, 5982000
NZ Trans Merc (E, N): 1729000, 5421000
Location: 20 km south-west of Wellington
Focal depth: 40
Magnitude: 3.8
Web page:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Aftershocks & aid

While many of my friends in Christchurch are doing okay, the most common complaint is the nervousness that the aftershocks cause - the constant fear that it's going to be another "big one", and that it's not over yet, and the repeated surges of adrenaline aren't doing wonders for anyone's stress levels.

Mind you, some of them are taking a much lighter approach to the shakes, and playing "let's guess the magnitude".

The litany of aftershocks is quite sobering - many of these could be considered significant quakes on their own - they pretty much aren't bothering to list the ones under magnitude 3.2

Local emergency management staff have been assisting at the National Crisis Management Centre under the Beehive, and Porirua City Council has offered the support of drainage and waterworks crews, and building inspectors equipped with some vehicles & equipment, as well as some relief staff for incident management teams, but for now there have been no requests for our aid. We remain ready & willing to help - after all, we may need the favour returned some day.

Flooding in the region

While Canterbury keeps shaking in seemingly endless aftershocks, here in the Wellington region we've been dealing with the weather instead - with heavy rain in the Tararuas bring the Hutt River well up -, and also causing flooding in Wairarapa, and in Horowhenua (where a boil water notice has been issued) - High winds have also been a problem in the past couple of days, with winds gusting to 140kph in the Rimutakas, blowing over an ambulance which was attending to a van than had been blown over by the winds.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Severe weather

Back to a computer again.

In case you'd been too busy keeping up on the current events in Canterbury to notice that it's been awfully windy outside, we have a Severe Weather Warning in place for severe gales in the south of the North Island, and also a heavy rain warning for 150mm of rain for the Tararuas.

Drive carefully - take extra care if you are going over the Rimutakas, they've been getting gusts up to 14okph.

The wind and rain in Canterbury isn't going to help the clean up efforts at all, and heavy rain in the headwaters of the Waimakariri River may cause flooding due to breaches in the stopbanks caused by the recent quake.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Christchurch quake - 7.4!

(Latest edit @ 0915 - I'm not going to be near a computer again until tomorrow, so keep up with the latest info on National Radio and the rest of the internet will provide.)

I've just received notification of a magnitude 7.4 (revised to 7.1) quake centred 30km west of Christchurch, and 33km down, and Facebook updates from friends down there are indicating things like power outages (someone is reporting transformers blowing, and power is out in most of rural Canterbury), and broken pipes (including sewer & water mains), cracked swimming pools, things thrown off shelves, toppled furniture, chimneys and walls down, structural damage, and aftershocks keep happening.

Reports that people had self-evacuated from shoreside suburbs in case of tsunami - which is exactly what we tell people to do in a large local quake. Fortunately with the quake being centred on land, it doesn't appear to have generated any - but you don't know that at the time, and you shouldn't wait around to find out.

Some images appearing online of damage to unreinforced masonry & shop facades, and the entire brick side of someone's house, many streets are blocked by debris, and some roads have been damaged by ground spreading, probably due to liquefaction. The airport is currently closed while they check the runways, same for South Island rail until the lines are checked.

Minor injuries are now being reported - I'd guess a good number will be people cutting their feet on broken glass or china as they tried to find a torch in the dark.

Updates to Facebook & Twitter from people's mobile phones are a useful source of information - and a good way of finding that your friends are okay! - The first notification I received was a text forwarding the PTWC tsunami bulletin at about , saying that there was no tsunami threat - didn't feel the quake at all. I only get a text for that if NZ is involved, so I revved up the laptop to find out the story, and the Geonet report came in shortly after.

0710 - Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker giving a textbook perfect interview on National Radio - good factual information & key messages. Was also good to hear the Sting played earlier, followed by official emergency messages.

Major damage to the sewerage network, so people are advised to not flush their toilets, even if they still have water.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Severe Thunderstorm Watch - EDIT - lifted

EDIT: 18:62 - The watch has been lifted for Wellington...

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the Wellington, Wairarapa & Marlborough
Note the short time frame.

Valid until 07:00 pm Friday 03 September 2010

A very squally southerly change is expected to sweep over Wellington, southern Wairarapa and the Marlborough Sounds about 5pm. Winds are forecast to rise to gale and gusts could reach 110km/hr in exposed places with the southerly change before easing duriing the evening.

Wind gusts of this strength can cause some structural damage, including trees and power lines, and may make driving hazardous.

This watch will be updated by: 06:30 pm Friday 03 September 2010

I will be away from a computer around that time, so to keep up with the weather this evening, check out , or if you have a mobile with the web

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wind, rain & possibly snow?

The first day of Spring provided us with absolutely gorgeous weather, and now it all turns to custard again in time for the weekend, with the lovely weather cruelly snatched away by Winter.

We currently have a Severe Weather Watch for northerly gales for this afternoon, and some rain on the way (I can see a rapidly approaching band on the rain radar) and the forecast for tomorrow brings news of a southerly change and possible snow on the Rimutaka Road overnight and the following morning (brrr!), and then a switch back to northerlies rising to gale force norwesters for Sunday, with showers pretty much all the way through.

Might have to stick to the indoor spring cleaning this weekend.