For only the third time in our history, Aotearoa New Zealand is under a national state of emergency. This occasion has been caused by Cyclone Gabrielle which has closely followed several weeks of extreme weather events that has caused widespread flooding, landslides, roads, homes and bridges being washed away over much of the upper half of Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island). Even before the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle, the cost of the damage of the recent extreme weather events has been estimated to exceed the costs of the Christchurch Earthquakes of 2010/2011.
The land over much of Te Ika-a-Māui reached saturation level over recent weeks where some areas have received several months of rain in as little as a day. The forces of Cyclone Gabrielle – winds, rain and low atmospheric pressure – have added to the chaos with emergency services being overwhelmed over large areas of the country. For those who still insist that climate change is a hoax, all they need do is look the frequency of extreme weather events compared to previous decades.
In the Manawatu region where we live, we haven’t experienced much more than a severe storm. However some rivers in the region that have catchments to the east and north are now running above capacity and breaches can be expected. Our home is perched on the lip of the valley overlooking the township of Feilding, so our home can’t be threatened by flooding. The valley wall is not very steep so even if the land was waterlogged, it’s unlikely that significant landslides would occur. Over night we experienced winds with gusts of up to 120 km/h (75 mph), which is not exceptionally strong, and moderate to heavy rain. So in this corner of Aotearoa it’s been almost a non-event, and likely to remain so, unless more bridges get washed away or the Manawatu River rises significantly higher than expected.
14 Feb, 2023 at 11:16 pm
hope you’re ok
15 Feb, 2023 at 2:20 pm
It turned out to be a non event in this part of the country. Those to the north and east have not been so fortunate.
15 Feb, 2023 at 2:25 am
winds of 75kph you say are not exceptionally strong? I don’t think we experience winds that strong here.
keep safe. stay safe
15 Feb, 2023 at 2:18 pm
75 mph, not 75 kph. Gusts up to 120 kph 😊
It was very much an anticlimax – a disappointment from my perspective, although for many to the north and east they have lost everything including their homes, livelihoods and in some cases a loved ones. Not something I would want to happen to anyone. However in this part of the country it was no worse that any storm that might occur 10 or so times every year.
But I love storms. The more violent the better. In discussing the exhilarating effect that violent weather has on me, it seems similar to the adrenalin rush others get when sky diving or bungee jumping but it lasts much longer than either of those – with any luck, many hours.
These days I’m less inclined to go walking in extreme weather as I’m less able to compensate for sudden gusts and so more likely to be knocked over by them. However I still like to stand on our balcony, hand on rail, and feel the wind and rain on my face and smell the ozone that follows lightning in close proximity.
I’ve never taken mind altering or hallucinogenic drugs, not even cannabis, and as long as there are extreme weather events I see no reason to try them. If there’s a bonus to climate change, then for me it’s the increased frequency of extreme weather events.
15 Feb, 2023 at 7:25 pm
I haven’t experienced such extreme weather.
I have been rained on a good one while out riding but nothing extreme. I have tried cannabis and only the first time did I get such a high I was paranoid.
15 Feb, 2023 at 8:35 pm
A 5.7 earthquake just a few minutes ago is, I think, nature apologising for the “disappointing” weather. Even that was something of a letdown apart from the fact that it terrified the cat and the wife and I had to comfort both. That part I really enjoyed 😉
15 Feb, 2023 at 8:50 pm
Barry, you are funny.
Nature might come back with a vengeance with a 8.2 earthquake
15 Feb, 2023 at 9:05 pm
I expect it will before too long. The Southern fault, that runs the length of the south island and has its northern end not far from us, ruptures approximately every 300 years. Geological evidence suggests these events generate earthquakes between 8 and 9. The last one was almost 400 years ago, so we’re overdue for another…
We recently discovered that there’s a fault line just over 100 m from our house. There’s a reason why we’re sometimes referred to as the “shaky Isles”. We’ve had 10 greater than 4.0 in the past month.
16 Feb, 2023 at 4:45 am
10 in the past month! That’s an active site my friend. A small tremor here is national news.
15 Feb, 2023 at 4:20 pm
I thought about you when I heard about Gabrielle. I’m glad your home is safe, relative to so many others. Keep safe, my friend … thinking of you and the others affected by the extreme weather this year.
15 Feb, 2023 at 8:11 pm
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in these comments, Gabrielle was rather a disappointment as far as experiences go. That’s not to make light of the tragedy others have suffered as a consequence of the cyclone as many have lost everything including loved ones.
Just as entire suburbs in Christchurch were deemed uninhabitable after the 2011 earthquake and are now being slowly swallowed up by nature, I suspect some areas in Auckland and other cities are likely to be considered not suitable for human habitation. Climate change is going to force us to re-evaluate where we build our cities.
Just as I’m writing this, we’ve had an earthquake centred around 80 Km (50 miles) south of us. Terrified the cat and the wife but I was just beginning to enjoy the ride when it stopped after about 30 seconds. At 5.7 it only was relatively mild and only one or two items toppled over. I’m a sucker for the thrills that nature can deliver 🙂
16 Feb, 2023 at 6:08 am
No doubt you are right, that the demographics will need to shift as climate change takes its toll. But you are perhaps more optimistic than I am, for I think that if everyone doesn’t wake up and start doing their own part to repair the damage we’ve done over the last 100 or so years, there will be no humans left to need cities for in 100 years.
I would probably be more like your cat, and would have run under the sofa if I felt the earth move under my feet!