}

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Debbie’s Deluge

Minor surface flooding in Auckland from the remnants of Cyclone Debbie, Apr 5, 2017.
It rained last night—a lot. Some areas of the North Island received as much rain in six hours as they might expect for the whole of April, and more was promised. It’s fair to say, we’ve had enough of this.

The rain is what’s left of Cyclone Debbie, and while no longer a cyclone, there rains were pretty much more than any similar ex-cyclone to hit us in the 20+ years I’ve lived in New Zealand. Once again, there were landslips and roads closed and inconvenience, though no deaths.

This storm’s flooding was worse for many people than the recent “Tasman Tempest”, which was called a “once a hundred years” weather event. And while we all know such bad storms will become more frequent as the climate changes, I don’t think anyone expected so many bad storms so close together.

We’re on relatively high ground at our place, but that doesn’t mean we escaped unscathed. We had water pooling on the surface at several low points, including one place I’ve never seen it before: Around the path leading to the clothesline, as shown in the photos above and below. I took the photos just before 7 this morning, and the water stayed there all morning. The ground is saturated.

We were told there was more to come, and that it would hit around midday. Late morning, the clouds thickened, and about quarter to noon it started pouring, as if on cue. But about the same time, the severe thunderstorm warning for Auckland was cancelled, and within an hour or so, the rain stopped. It remained overcast, but didn’t rain again. The severe thunderstorm watch for the North Island was cancelled by early evening.

And yet some areas of the North Island may still have bad weather and flooding, especially Whanganui, which is downriver from other flooded areas, and the Whanganui River was already high. Eastern parts of the North Island may get some of the last of the rains tomorrow.

Auckland, meanwhile, is expected to clear tomorrow, and to be sunny by Saturday. We’ll see—we’ve had so much rain lately that it’s hard to believe there won’t be more.

It would be nice to dry out now.

Minor surface flooding in Auckland from the remnants of Cyclone Debbie, Apr 5, 2017.

Update – April 6: I was going to make a joke this morning about how the sunlight returned and we rejoiced, but Debbie's Deluge isn't funny. Parts of Auckland got 167mm of rain (6.6 inches), while 91 mm (3.58 inches is what Auckland normally gets in the entire month of April. Parts of Coromandel got 200mm (7.87 inches) and parts of the Bay of Plenty got 250mm (9.84 inches).

In today's news we learned that Edgecumbe was evacuated as a wall of water hits the town in what officials called a "once in 500 year event". Thanks to climate change, which will get worse thanks to the greed of Don and his regime in Washington, these sorts of things will become common—not that they care, of course.

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