January 1997 New Zealand Ex-tropical Cyclone Drena ( 1997-01-10 )
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Ex-tropical Cyclone Drena brought high winds and high seas to the upper North Island, which caused damage to property. A CDE was in place for Thames-Coromandel. There were also high seas in Taranaki and Tasman-Nelson, and there was flooding in Canterbury, Otago and Southland. In Auckland, a man was killed by fallen powerlines and there were weather-related road fatalities. Three people were killed at Thames.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard

Duration:   3  days - From the 10th to the 12th of January.

CauseEx-tropical Cyclone Drena. Cyclone Drena moved steadily south-south east, towards central New Zealand, passing west of the northern districts.

Insurance PaymentInsurance Industry Payouts totalled $3,200,000 ($4,200,000 2008 dollars).

North Island

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at North Island

CommentSevere gale force winds were experienced in exposed places in the north-east North Island (Northland and Auckland) on the 10th.

CommentA deep low lay near Cook Strait at midday 11th and moved off the country in the afternoon, leaving a west southwest flow to become established over the country.

CommentA shallow low over the eastern Tasman Sea drifted northeast and weakened, while a large high near Tasmania moved east over the lower south Island.

CommentA low developed in a trough to the east of Northland, which was moving sotheas to the Bay of Plenty on the 15th/16th, while a ridge of high pressure remained slow moving over the South Island.

Property DamageConsiderable damage was done, with house roofs lifted and trees felled.

Affected LifelinePowerlines were downed.

Northland

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Northland

Property DamageHuge damage was done to a Northland camp ground. The owners and campers packed up and left with the cyclone warnings.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Cape Reinga

Peak Wind SpeedCape Reinga recorded winds of up to 126 km/hr on the 10th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Helena Bay

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Helena Bay.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Kaiwaka

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Kaiwaka.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Mangawhai

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Mangawai.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Maungatapere

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Maungatapere and Kara (Road).

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Mimiwhangata Bay

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Mimiwhangata.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Oakleigh

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Oakleigh.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Oakura

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Oakura.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at One Tree Point

DamageA 7-metre launch was totally swamped at One Tree Point.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Otaika Valley

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Otaika Valley.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Pataua

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Pataua North.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Pipiwai

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Pipiwai.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Portland

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Portland.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Reotahi Bay

Property DamageThe roof was ripped off a house at Reotahi Bay.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Ruatangata West

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Ruatangata.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Springs Flat

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Springs Flat.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Tangiteroria

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Tangiteroria.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Tutamoe

Property DamageAt Tutamoe, half of a house roof and deck were lost in high winds.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Whangarei

Physical CharacteristicWhangarei Airport recorded winds of 46 km/hr.

Peak Wind SpeedWhangarei Airport recorded wind gusts of up to 75 km/hr on the 10th.

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Onerahi.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Whatitiri

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in Whatitiri.

Auckland

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Auckland

CasualtiesThere were a number of road fatalities attributed to Cyclone Drena.

Physical CharacteristicAuckland had easterly winds of up to 100 km/hr on land.

ImpactBoats broke free from their moorings.

DamageSeveral boats broke their moorings and were smashed against sea walls.

ImpactVehicles were blown across lanes.

Affected LifelinePower lines were blown down and power was cut to parts of Auckland.

Property DamageRoofs were ripped loose by the wind.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain

CommentThere was no torrential rain.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust

CommentTrees were felled.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Auckland City

DamageThere was widesperad damage and flooding in the city.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Hauraki Gulf

Peak Wind SpeedHauraki Gulf recorded gale force winds of up to 160 km/hr on the 11th.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Mission Bay

Affected LifelineTamaki Drive was closed between Ngapipi Road and the Strand because of seawater washing over the road in places.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust

CasualtiesA man was killed when he was electrocuted by downed powerlines.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Waiheke Island

Affected LifelinePower was cut to Waiheke Island.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal

Affected LifelineFerries to Waiheke Island were cancelled from late on the 11th until the afternoon of the 12th.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Waitemata Harbour

Affected LifelineFerries to Devonport were cancelled.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust

ImpactSeveral motorcyclists were blown into barriers on the bridge.

Waikato

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Waikato

Declared EmergencyA State of Emergency was declared for the Thames-Coromandel District at 9:40am on the 11th and lasted until 5:00pm on the 12th.

CommentWorst sea flood in 50 years.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Firth of Thames

CommentIn the Firth of Thames, high waves were driven by northerly gales, combined with a spring tide.

Peak Water LevelThere was a 3.6 m spring tide.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Hamilton

CommentHigh winds were experienced in Hamilton on the 11th.

Affected LifelineThere were power cuts in some areas after trees came down on powerlines.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Tararu

Peak Water LevelAt Tararu, the first high tide on the 11th was 1.87 m hindcast, relative to the Tararu MSL datum.

Peak Water LevelAt Tararu, the second high tide on the 11th was 1.75 m hindcast, relative to the Tararu MSL datum.

Peak Water LevelAt Tararu, the first high tide on the 12th was 1.91 m hindcast, relative to the Tararu MSL datum.

Peak Water LevelAt Tararu, the second high tide on the 12th was 1.78 m hindcast, relative to the Tararu MSL datum.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Thames

Evacuees140 people were evacuated at Moanatairi on the 11th. 20 houses were evacuated at Moanatairi, Te Puru and Waiomu. Further homes were evacuated during the morning.

Casualties2 people killed. An elderly couple from Auckland died when their car slid sideways into an oncoming vehicle on the Kopu Hikuai Road.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal

ImpactThe 3.6 m swell sent waves crashing onto properties and houses.

Property DamageOver $1.5 million ($1,970,000 2008 dollars) of damage was done to homes and properties. 44 homes were flooded and badly damaged. 33 homes had sewerage-soaked carpets and ruined wall coverings, furniture and belongings.

Affected LifelineThe Thames Coast road on State Highway 25 was closed for 30 hours. Parts of the road were ripped up and undermined for up to 30km.

Affected Lifeline30 Maramarua customers were without power for approximately 5 hours on the 11th.

Damage CostRestoring roads estimated at costing as much as $2 million.

FloodingFlooding at Waikawau

ImpactSven trams were flooded with a metre of water.

Taranaki

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at New Plymouth

CommentAt New Plymouth, high waves were driven by northerly gales, combined with a spring tide pushed the water level a metre higher than expected.

Peak Water LevelThere was a 3.6 m spring tide.

ImpactHomes were flooded by the sea.

EvacueesHolidaymakers had to be evacuated from the north of Taranaki coast.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Port Taranki

DamageBoats were ripped from their moorings.

DamageA car was swept almost 20 m across the lee breakwater car-park.

Tasman-Nelson

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Ruby Bay

CommentAt Ruby Bay, high waves were driven by northerly gales, combined with a spring tide.

Peak Water LevelThere was a 3.6 m spring tide.

ImpactHomes were flooded by the sea.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Nelson

Affected LifelineBig seas combined with high tide caused some coastal roads were closed in the Nelson area and properties flooded.

Canterbury

FloodingFlooding at Canterbury

CommentHeavy rain and flooding occurred in Canterbury.

FloodingFlooding at Ashburton

CommentAshburton and Banks Peninsula were the worst affected areas in Canterbury.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain

Physical CharacteristicAshburton received 45 mm (4.5 cm) of rain between Friday (11th) night and 2 pm on the 12th.

FloodingFlooding at Banks Peninsula

CommentAshburton and Banks Peninsula were the worst affected areas in Canterbury.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Christchurch

Physical CharacteristicChristchurch Airport received 47 mm (4.7 cm) of rain between Friday (11th) and 2 pm on the 12th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Le Bons Bay

Physical CharacteristicGale force winds of 91 kmh were recorded at Le Bons Bay on the 12th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kaikoura

Physical CharacteristicKaikoura received 19 mm (1.9 cm) of rain between Friday (11th) night and 2 pm on the 12th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Timaru

Physical CharacteristicTimaru Airport received 32 mm (3.2 cm) of rain between Friday (11th) night and 2 pm on the 112th.

Otago

FloodingFlooding at Otago

CommentHeavy rain and flooding occurred in Otago.

FloodingFlooding at Dunedin

CommentDunedin and Mosgiel were the worst affected areas in Otago.

FloodingFlooding at Mosgiel

CommentDunedin and Mosgiel were the worst affected areas in Otago.

Southland

FloodingFlooding at Southland

CommentHeavy rain and flooding occurred in Otago.

Peak River LevelThe Oreti River at Three Kings reached a height of 0.77 m in January (normal 0.50 m).

FloodingFlooding at Cattle Flat

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Cattle Flat reached a height of 2.84 m in January (normal 0.85 m).

FloodingFlooding at Centre Bush

Peak River LevelThe Oreti River at Centre Bush reached a height of 2.59 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Clifden

Peak River LevelThe Waiau River at Clifden reached a height of 2.73 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Dunrobin

Peak River LevelThe Aparima River at Dunrobin reached a height of 1.78 m in January (normal 0.80 m).

FloodingFlooding at Etalvale Station

Peak River LevelThe Aparima River at Etalvale reached a height of 2.37 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Fairlight

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Fairlight reached a height of 1.69 m in January (normal 0.90 m).

FloodingFlooding at Freshford

Peak River LevelThe Waikaia River at Freshford reached a height of 4.13 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Gore

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Gore reached a height of 3.98 m in January (normal 0.80 m).

FloodingFlooding at Hamilton Burn

Peak River LevelThe Hamilton Burn at Waterloo Road reached a height of 2.03 m in January (normal 1.20 m).

FloodingFlooding at Invercargill

Peak River LevelThe Waihopai River at the Dam H/W reached a height of 4.37 m in January (normal 3.50 m).

Peak River LevelOtepuni Creek at the Dam H/W reached a height of 8.43 m in January (normal 7.80 m).

Peak River LevelKingswell Creek at the Dam H/W reached a height of 8.56 m in January (normal 8.60 m).

FloodingFlooding at Irthing Stream

Peak River LevelIrthing Stream at Ellis Road reached a height of 3.46 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Kennington

Peak River LevelThe Waihopai River at Kennington reached a height of 2.82 m in January (normal 2.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Lumsden

Peak River LevelThe Oreti River at Lumsden C/W reached a height of 3.82 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Makarewa Junction

Peak River LevelThe Makarewa River at Counsell Road reached a height of 4.40 m in January (normal 1.40 m).

FloodingFlooding at Mandeville

Peak River LevelWaimea Stream at Mandeville reached a height of 1.93 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Otapiri Stream

Peak River LevelThe Otapiri at McBrides reached a height of 2.69 m in January (normal 0.70 m).

FloodingFlooding at Otautau

Peak River LevelOtautau Stream at Otautau reached a height of 3.09 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Parawa

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Parawa reached a height of 3.02 m in January (normal 1.20 m).

FloodingFlooding at Piano Flat

Peak River LevelThe Waikaia River at Piano Flat reached a height of 2.76 m in January (normal 0.80 m).

FloodingFlooding at Pyramid Hill

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Pyramid reached a height of 3.73 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Seaward Downs

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Seaward Downs reached a height of 4.78 m in January (normal 1.50 m).

FloodingFlooding at Sunnyside station

Peak River LevelThe Waiau River at Sunnyside reached a height of 4.11 m in January (normal 2.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Thornbury

Peak River LevelThe Aparima River at Thornbury reached a height of 2.68 m in January (normal 0.90 m).

FloodingFlooding at Tuatapere

Peak River LevelThe Waiau River at Tuatapere reached a height of 4.18 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Tussock Creek

Peak River LevelThe Makarewa River at Tussock Creek reached a height of 4.10 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Tuturau

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Tuturau reached a height of 6.01 m in January (normal 2.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Waiau River

Peak River LevelThe Waiau River at Mararoa reached a height of 4.02 m in January (normal 3.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Waikaia

Peak River LevelThe Waikaia River at Waikaia reached a height of 3.50 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

FloodingFlooding at Waikiwi Stream

Peak River LevelWaikiwi Stream at Ferry Road reached a height of 1.83 m in January (normally tidal).

FloodingFlooding at Wallacetown

Peak River LevelThe Oreti River at Wallacetown reached a height of 3.99 m in January (normal 1.40 m).

FloodingFlooding at Willowbank

Peak River LevelWaikaka Stream at Willowbank reached a height of 1.82 m in January (normal 0.75 m).

FloodingFlooding at Wyndham

Peak River LevelThe Mataura River at Wyndham reached a height of 3.69 m in January (normal 1.00 m).

Peak River LevelWyndham Stream at McKays reached a height of 2.85 m in January (normal 1.70 m).

FloodingFlooding at Yellow Bluff

Peak River LevelThe Aparima River at Yellow Bluff reached a height of 2.58 m in January (normal 0.80 m).

References

Bell, R.G; Hill, A.F. (1997). Tidal and meteorological conditions for previous major sea storms at Thames.
"Civil Defender", The Thames Valley 1997. The Official Publication of The Thames Valley Combined District Civil Defence Organisation.
Environment Southland. Flood report July 2003.
Environment Waikato. State of Emergency Declarations in the district since 1976.
Insurance Councils. The Cost of Weather Loses, Claims history (Updated 2004).
MCDEM, 2002.
www.metservice.co.nz/ Notable Weather Events Archives / 1996-1997 Summer.
Ministy of Civil Defence. Storms, Tephra June 1997, Volume 16.
Headline: Drena lashes north.
The New Zealand Herald, 11 January 1997.
Headline: Bulldoze our homes say sad residents.
The New Zealand Herald, 13 January 1997.
Headline: Cost still being counted of cyclone that never was.
The Northern Advocate, 10 January 1997.
Headline: Storm rips off Reotahi home.
The Northern Advocate, 11 January 1997.
Headline: Thames emergency.
The Waikato Times, 11 January 1997.
Headline: Thames emergency in Drena's wake.
The Waikato Times, 11 January 1997.
Headline: Second cyclone heads to NZ packing rain, 220 km/h winds.
The New Zealand Herald, 9 January 1997 (Thursday).
Headline: Drena gives Auckland a lashing and roars off.
The New Zealand Herald, 13 January (Monday) 1997.
Headline: Heavy rain expected as cyclone nears.
Hauraki Herald, 10 January (Friday)1997.
Headline: Mayor: No quick fix to flooding.
Hauraki Herald, 17 January (Friday) 1997.
Headline: Mopping up after Drena.
Hauraki Herald, 17 January (Friday) 1997.
Headline: Cyclone Drena set to inflict fury on city.
The Waikato Times, 9 January 1997 (Thursday).
Headline: Cyclone threat hangs over NZ.
The Waikato Times, 13 January 1997 (Monday).
Headline: Cyclone-hit residents slam council inaction over flooding.
The Waikato Times, 14 January 1997 (Tuesday).
Headline: Cyclone Drena sparks flood protection storm.
The Waikato Times, 15 January 1997 (Wednesday).
Headline: Hit by Drena's Fury.
Star News, 15 January (Wednesday) 1997.
Headline: Year's work in one weekend.
Star News, 15 January (Wednesday) 1997.
Headline: Cyclone blamed for three deaths.
Star News, 15 January (Wednesday) 1997.
Headline: Huge job by band of volunteers.
Star News, 15 January (Wednesday) 1997.
Headline: Heavy rain delights farmers.
The Press, 13 January 1997.
Headline: Man killed by live line.
The Press, Source: NZPA, 13 January 1997.
Headline: State of emergency lifted as cyclone departs.
The Press, Source: NZPA, 13 January 1997.