NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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August 2004 New Zealand Storm ( 2004-08-14 )

A storm affected much of New Zealand with combinations of high winds, heavy rain, flooding, heavy seas and snow. Cold southerlies affected much of the South Island. A tornado caused havoc in Taranaki, killing two people and injuring two others. Two men were drowned off Northland when their boat sank in rough weather, and a woman was drowned in a Wairarapa stream. A West Coast man was struck by lightning and four people were injured by an avalanche in Otago.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Duration:   5  days - From the 14th to the 18th of August.
Comments:

CauseAn active trough of low pressure moved onto New Zealand from the Tasman Sea on the 14th. A depression developed and intensified east of the North Island (985 hPa) on the 15th, bringing a southerly storm. An active front associated with the trough brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and a tornado in Taranaki. On the 18th, the low was in a similar position on the weather map as the one that caused the 1968 Wahine storm - between New Zealand and the Chatham Islands area.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentSevere southerly gales in Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay and Kaikoura had eased by mid-morning on the 18th.

North Island

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at North Island
Comments:

Affected LifelineIn the eastern ranges and central high country of the North Island, heavy snow closed many roads on the 17th and 18th. The Napier-Taupo road on State Highway 5 was closed due to heavy snow on the 17th. The Napier-Taihape road was closed on the 17th and remained closed from the Kaweka Camp on the 18th. The Desert Road (State Highway 1) was closed between Rangipo and Waiouru on the 17th becaue of ice.

ImpactSeveral accidents occurred in icy conditions on the Napier-Taupo Highway on the afternoon of the 15th. A number of trucks were stranded on the Napier-Taupo highway by snow.

InjuriesA woman was airlifted to Napier Hospital in a serious condition after an accident on the Napier-Taupo on the afternoon of the 15th.

CommentSnow continued to fall on central North Island ranges on the 18th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Stock DamageThere were high losses of lambs in the North Island.

Affected LifelineWidespread road closures hit much of the lower North Island on the 17th.

South Island

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at South Island
Comments:

CommentSnow fell in the eastern South Island on the 15th.

CauseA low moved on to the South Island over the weekend, bringing chilly southerlies to Canterbury and the Kaikoura coast and snowy conditions in Southland and Otago.

Affected LifelineMany roads in the South Island were shut by snow and ice on the 15th and 16th. State Highway 1 between Balcutha and Gore was closed and State Highway 93 between Clinton and Mataura was closed.

CommentSevere and extreme avalanche warnings were in place at ski fields in the Southern Alps on the 15th and 16th.

Northland

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Pandora
Map Location: -34.453485 172.776369
Comments:

CasualtiesTwo men aged 24 and 25 were drowned when high seas sank the 15-metre fishing boat 'Iron Maiden' near Pandora Bank, southwest of Cape Reinga, on the night of the 16th. The boat started taking on water at around 7pm about 6 nautical miles off Pandora's bank, and the men abandoned the boat soon after. The weather was extremely rough at the time.

Physical CharacteristicThere were 5 m swells at the time.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe winds were gusting at 40 knots (74 km/hr).

Hawke's Bay

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Hawke's Bay
Comments:

DamageHigh winds battered Hawke's Bay overnight on the 17th/18th, toppling trees, ripping roofing iron from houses and closing roads.

Physical CharacteristicWinds gusted up to 120 km/hr in Hawke's Bay overnight on the 17th/18th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Patoka
Map Location: -39.343759 176.602318
Comments:

Stock DamageA Patoka farmer lost about 100 lambs from a stud flock.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Sherenden
Map Location: -39.503311 176.573992
Comments:

Affected LifelinePower was cut to more than 300 homes around Sherenden on the 17th after branches fell onto lines. Power was restored by 3.30am on the 18th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Takapau
Map Location: -40.028683 176.33826
Comments:

Affected LifelinePower was cut at Takapau on the 17th after a line was felled. Some residents were still without power on the morning of the 18th.

Taranaki

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Motunui
Map Location: -38.993367 174.296224
Comments:

CommentMotonui experienced a thunderstorm on the 15th, with heavy rain, small hail, windy conditions and a tornado.

TornadoTornado
Comments:

CommentThe tornado came in from the sea at around 6am and tore a path of destruction across farmland.

Property DamageAt a Motunui property close to the Motunui Synfuel plant, the tornado tore a house from its foundations and dropped it, dumping the four sleeping occupants and debris several hundred metres away. The farmhouse was smashed into arm-length pieces, a nearby outbuilding was destroyed and the family's possessions were scattered over a 400m by 50m area of paddocks.

CasualtiesTwo people inside the house were killed. A woman aged 50 or 55 died at the scene and a 10-year-old boy had his life support unit turned off around 2:30pm the next day (the 16th) due to his critical injuries.

InjuriesThe two other people inside the house were seriously injured - a 28-year-old woman and a 3-year-old boy.

Property DamageThe tornado tore the roof of another house, damaged sheds and wrecked a commerical glasshouse. The tornado also smashed a hole through a shelter belt, uprooted many trees and snapped power poles.

Affected LifelineThe tornado snapped four concrete power poles, damaged another six, and damaged power lines. Power was cut to 1200 homes in a large area from Motunui to Mt Messenger.

DamageThe damage trail from the Epiha Road devastation was 20 m wide and 10 km long. The damage at Epiha Road was assessed as F3 on the Fujita scale.

Stock Damage70 calves were killed after a cow shed was destroyed, with injured animals having to be put down.

Physical CharacteristicMaximum like wind strengths exceeded 150 knots (278 km/hr).

Physical CharacteristicThe tornado came in from the sea at 80 km/hr, with a wind speed of more than 150 km/hr.

CommentThe deputy chief of Waitara Volunteer Fire Brigade had never seen anything like the this devastation in 17 years as a fireman.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentIt was raining heavily at dawn on the 15th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at New Plymouth
Map Location: -39.051214 174.06972
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNew Plymouth Airport recorded northerly winds of 27 knots (50 km/hr).

Manawatu-Wanganui

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Manawatu-Wanganui
Comments:

Affected LifelineState Highway 4 was closed between Taumarunui and Raetihi on the 17th due to ice.

LandslideLandslide at Manawatu Gorge
Map Location: -40.31792 175.798027
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Manawatu Gorge on State Highway 3 was closed after slips came down on the 17th.

FloodingFlooding at Moutoa
Map Location: -40.507761 175.389825
Comments:

ImpactThe Moutoa floodgates near Shannon were opened on the 19th to relieve floodwaters on the Manawatu River.

Wellington

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wellington
Comments:

CommentWellington experienced gales and driving rain on the 15th.

Affected LifelineRoads around Wellington were closed due to huge seas, flooding, slips, wind-blown debris and fallen trees and power lines. Buses were cancelled, and thousands of commuters had their travels disrupted.

Affected LifelineRail services were cancelled due to slips and fallen trees. All train lines into Wellington were closed on the 18th, affecting about 12,000 commuters. Slips and downed trees and power lines closed the Paraparaumu and Johnsonville Transmetro lines into the city.

ImpactSchools were closed and shops and offices were short-staffed when trains were cancelled or had to turn back.

Property DamageExtensive property damage resulted from properties being flooded, roofs lifted and trees and fences blown over.

ImpactSome walking tracks were closed.

CauseThe weather pattern was similar to that which hit in February, but the cold front from Antarctica initially brought snow, rather than rain.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentWellington was battered by high winds overnight on the 17th. The severe southerly gales had eased by the night of the 18th.

DamageTrees and street signs were felled by the winds and a few power lines came down. The Fire Service was called out to hundreds of incidents, with house and shop roofs blown off, fences down, properties flooded and other widespread damage.

Physical CharacteristicWinds of 60-70 km/hr battered Wellington and Wairarapa on the morning of the 17th, with gusts up to 100 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicAt the height of the storm, the Wairarapa experienced average wind speeds of 100 km/hr.

Affected LifelineHundreds of people were left without power throughout Wellington, mostly because of clashing lines and trees falling across wires.

Affected LifelineFencing battens and corrugated iron were flying down some streets on the 18th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRainfall totalled 50-100 mm (5.0-10.0 cm) in many areas.

Physical CharacteristicWairarapa received 60 mm (6.0 cm) of rain.

Physical CharacteristicThe Wainui catchment (Hutt Valley) received 110 mm (11.0 cm) of rain.

CommentRain and sleet were driven sideways.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactProperties were flooded.

CommentIn eastern Wairarapa there were flood warnings in place on the Tinui, Taueru, Whangaehu and Huangaroa rivers.

Affected LifelineThere was surface flooding in much of the region. Several roads in the Wairarapa were closed due to flooding, in Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Affected LifelineCars struggled in coastal areas as waves dumped seaweed and debris on roads.

Physical CharacteristicThe peak swell waves were 4.5 m.

Physical CharacteristicWaves of up to 14.4 m smashed the coastline.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Baring Head
Map Location: -41.410043 174.868572
Comments:

Peak Wind SpeedBaring Head recorded a peak gust of 183 km/hr.

FloodingFlooding at Carterton
Map Location: -41.024015 175.535635
Comments:

Affected LifelineRoads were closed due to flooding in Carterton.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Castlepoint
Map Location: -40.89976 176.221927
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicCastlepoint recorded 90.2 mm (9.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe winds at Castlepoint averaged 100 km/hr on the 17th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Cook Strait
Map Location: -41.247772 174.473756
Comments:

Peak Wind SpeedCook Strait recorded a peak gust of 161 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicCook Strait recorded an average wind speed of 130 km/hr.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSwells in Cook Strait were as high as 7m on the 17th.

Affected LifelineOn the 16th, the 12:30pm Lynx ferry was forced to turn back to Picton after conditions in Cook Strait became too rough when it emerged from Marlborough Sounds. On the 17th, fierce weather and big swells in Cook Strait forced the cancellation of the interisland ferries and the Lynx ferry sailing was cancelled at 12:30pm. Hundreds of people were affected when all Interisland ferry sailings were suspended.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Eastbourne
Map Location: -41.292273 174.883144
Comments:

EvacueesHomes were evacuated in Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne due to slips and floods.

FloodingFlooding at Hungaroa Stream
Map Location: -41.489103 175.542173
Comments:

Affected LifelineHungaroa Stream flooded over a bridge that crosses it.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lower Hutt
Map Location: -41.216677 174.934068
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLower Hutt recorded 80 mm (8.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineSurface flooding occurred in Lower Hutt on the 17th.

ImpactWaiwhetu Stream burst its banks, flooding properties, some of which had only recently been reinhabited after evacutions during the February floods.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

EvacueesHomes were evacuated in Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne due to slips and floods.

Affected LifelineHigh winds caused a large tree to fall near the Dowse Drive intersection on Western Hutt Road, blocking one northbound lane of State Highway 2 just after 5pm on the 17th.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Affected LifelineHuge waves swamped the Hutt Valley railway line.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Lyall Bay
Map Location: -41.328842 174.792189
Comments:

Affected LifelinePolice closed off roads at Lyall Bay on the 18th due to the danger of flying debris.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Masterton
Map Location: -40.964296 175.667649
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMasterton recorded 66 mm (6.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineSurface flooding occurred in Masterton on the 17th. Some roads were closed.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Mt Kaukau
Map Location: -41.231345 174.77761
Comments:

Peak Wind SpeedMt Kaukau recorded a peak gust of 183 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicMt Kaukau recorded an average wind speed of 133 km/hr.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ngawi
Map Location: -41.58683 175.235276
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNgawai recorded 52.2 mm (5.2 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Orongorongo River
Map Location: -41.240206 175.058257
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Orongaronga Ranges recorded 140 mm (14.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Physical CharacteristicOrongorongo Hill received 130 mm (13.0 cm) of rain.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Petone
Map Location: -41.23076 174.871845
Comments:

Affected LifelineSeawaves swept across railway lines in Petone.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Porirua
Map Location: -41.141089 174.818671
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Porirua motorway was closed to southbound traffic for 20 minutes after 7pm on the 17th when a large tree fell and blocked both lanes.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Rimutaka Hill
Map Location: -41.119029 175.230172
Comments:

CommentSnow fell at the summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road on the 15th and generally on the Rimutakas on the 16th.

Physical CharacteristicThe snow was 10 cm deep.

Affected LifelineThe Rimutaka Hill Road on State Highway 2 was open only briefly on the morning of the 17th and closed again that night with heavy snow falling in the area.

FloodingFlooding at Wainuiomapu Stream
Map Location: -40.835516 175.890838
Comments:

CasualtiesA 46-year-old female postie died while driving to work in the storm around 5:30am on the 18th. Her vehicle was found in the swollen Wainuiomapu Stream beside Maringi Road that night and on the morning of the 19th her body was found just downstream from the submerged car.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wainuiomata
Map Location: -41.258208 174.954979
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWainuiomata recorded 96 mm (9.6 cm) of rai in 24 hours.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

EvacueesHomes were evacuated in Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne due to slips and floods.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Wellington City
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

Property DamagePanels were blown off two buildings at Queens Wharf on the waterfront, and windows were blown in at the former Herd Street Post Office Building.

Property DamageBroken glass littered roads and footpaths around Basin Reserve, where more than 12 windows on the R.A. Vance stand were blown out. More glass and other debris was flying around on the waterfront.

ImpactNew Zealand Post cancelled postal deliveries in the city.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Wellington International Airport
Map Location: -41.329538 174.805351
Comments:

Property DamagePart of the roof of the Koru Lounge at Wellington Airport was blown off, and the interior was subsequently partially flooded.

Affected LifelineWellington Airport was closed. All 190 Air New Zealand flights on the 18th were suspended, affecting 9000 domestic and international passengers.

Peak Wind SpeedWellington Airport recorded a peak gust of 119 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicWellington Airport recorded wind speeds averaging 87 km/hr.

Marlborough

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Marlborough
Comments:

CommentGale force winds hammered Marlborough on the morning of the 18th.

Affected LifelineThe travel plans of hundreds of people were disrupted.

Property DamageProperties in the outer Marlborough Sounds were damaged by high winds.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Arapawa Island
Map Location: -41.185781 174.311429
Comments:

CommentA resident of Arapawa Island, at the entrance to the Tory Channel, described the weather as "shocking".

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere were winds of 80 knots (148 km/hr).

Property DamageA garden was torn up and a neighbouring shed was blown down.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was a huge sea running, with 6-metre rolls.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Tory Channel
Map Location: -41.238967 174.224793
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe entrance to Tory Channel was closed on the 17th due to fierce weather and big swells. This was only the third time it had been closed in 10 years.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Ward
Map Location: -41.826945 174.143136
Comments:

Affected LifelineUp to 150 homes on the east coast south of Ward were without power overnight from 9pm on the 17th. The affected areas included the Ure (Waima) River area, and Kekerengu and Clarence in Canterbury.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Woodbourne
Map Location: -41.509671 173.865652
Comments:

Affected LifelineFlights were affected at Marlborough Airport.

West Coast

LightningLightning at West Coast
Comments:

InjuriesA West Coast farmer was struck by lightning on the 15th while riding his farmbike. He was taken to Grey Hospital during a spectacular thunderstorm, but did not suffer any burns.

Canterbury

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Canterbury
Comments:

CommentThere were snow showers from Banks Peninsula to the Kaikoura Coast on the 15th and 16th.

Physical CharacteristicA few inches of snow fell in Canterbury on the 15th.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Christchurch
Map Location: -43.53112 172.636147
Comments:

Affected LifelineFlights into Christchurch Airport were cancelled on the 15th because of sleet and snow. Hundreds of passengers were stranded.

Peak Snow DepthChristchurch received up to 15 cm of snow overnight on the 15th/16th.

Affected LifelineSummit Road was closed on the 15th and 16th.

DamageSeveral trees fell under the weight of the snow.

ImpactSeveral schools and businesses in Christchurch were closed on 16th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Clarence
Map Location: -42.156138 173.929325
Comments:

Affected LifelineHomes in Clarence were without power overnight from 9pm on the 17th.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Kaikoura
Map Location: -42.402255 173.685685
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSnow fell to 300m along the Kaikoura coast.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Kekerengu
Map Location: -42.003758 174.009837
Comments:

Affected LifelineHomes in Kekerengu were without power overnight from 9pm on the 17th.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Mount Cook
Map Location: -43.734653 170.103918
Comments:

Affected LifelineSome of Air New Zealand's Mt Cook flights were cancelled on the 15th.

Otago

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Otago
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNorth Otago received 10 cm of snow.

ImpactAll primary / intermediate and most secondary schools were closed between Waitati and Mosgiel.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Dunedin
Map Location: -45.87911 170.502707
Comments:

Affected LifelineDunedin was virtually cut off from the outside world on the 15th. The main arterial routes in and out of Dunedin were closed on the 15th and 16th: Three Mile Hill Road, State Highway 1 to the south between Dunedin and Milton and State Highway 1 to the north between Waikouaiti and Dunedin.

ImpactMost Dunedin businesses had to close on the 16th because of the bad weather and closed roads.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Dunedin Airport
Map Location: -45.928643 170.198772
Comments:

Affected LifelineDunedin Airport was closed on the 15th and 16th. A least five flights were affected and up to 360 people were stranded.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 1-2 cm of snow on the airport runway.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Humboldt Mountains
Map Location: -44.756587 168.243771
Comments:

InjuriesFour people were injured when an avalanche hit a heliskiing party in the Humboldt Mountains, near Glenorchy. One woman was flown to hospital with a moderate spinal injury, and three others received minor injuries.

Southland

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Southland
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere were light snowfalls in Southland on the 15th. About 8 cm of snow fell in some areas.

Affected LifelineState Highway 96 between Winton and Ohai was closed on the 16th. State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound was also closed.

References

Major weather events in New Zealand, Floods and High Rainfall to 31st May 2006.
Major weather events in New Zealand, Snowstorms to 14 June 2006.
Meteorological Society of New Zealand (Inc.) Newsletter 98, September 2004.
Meteorological Society of New Zealand (Inc.) Newsletter 99, December 2004.
www.metservice.co.nz / Learning Center / Notable Recent Weather / Winter 2004 / 14 - 19 August.
www.metservice, notable weather events.govt.nz.
Headline: Tornado victim's name released.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: Newstalk ZB, 15 August 2004.
Headline: Big chill maintains grip on country.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 16 August 2004, 6:30pm.
Headline: Icy blast heads north.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZ Herald and NZPA, 16 August 2004.
Headline: Rescuers cleared over tuna boat deaths.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 16 June 2005.
Headline: Storm blasts Dunedin, extends north.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 16 August 2004, 10:45am.
Headline: Tornado claims second life with death of 10-year-old.
www.nzherald.co.nz, source: NZPA, 16 August 2004.
Headline: Twister shatters lives of Taranaki farming family.
www.nzherald.co.nz, 16 August 2004.
Headline: Ferries cancelled, roads closed as weather worsens.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 17 August 2004.
Headline: Snow closes North Island roads, disrupts ferry services.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 17 August 2004, 10:10am.
Headline: Gale compared with Wahine storm.
www.nzherald.co.nz, 18 August 2004, 10:45pm.
Headline: Postie missing as violent storm batters lower North Island.
New Zealand Herald, Source: NZPA, 18 August 2004.
Headline: Postie's vehicle found in stream.
www.nzherald.co.nz, 19 August 2004.
Headline: Man dead, another lost in fierce seas.
The Northern Advocate, 17 August 2004.
Headline: Searchers give up hope: Wind conditions hinder.
The Northern Advocate, 18 August 2004.
Headline: Tornado victim named.
tvnz.co.nz, Source: ONE News and RNZ, 15 August 2004, 11:06am.
Headline: Body of missing postie found.
tvnz.co.nz, Source: RNZ, 18 August 2004, 3:21pm.

August 2004 New Zealand Storm ( 2004-08-14 )

A storm affected much of New Zealand with combinations of high winds, heavy rain, flooding, heavy seas and snow. Cold southerlies affected much of the South Island. A tornado caused havoc in Taranaki, killing two people and injuring two others. Two men were drowned off Northland when their boat sank in rough weather, and a woman was drowned in a Wairarapa stream. A West Coast man was struck by lightning and four people were injured by an avalanche in Otago.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Duration:   5  days - From the 14th to the 18th of August.
Comments:

CauseAn active trough of low pressure moved onto New Zealand from the Tasman Sea on the 14th. A depression developed and intensified east of the North Island (985 hPa) on the 15th, bringing a southerly storm. An active front associated with the trough brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and a tornado in Taranaki. On the 18th, the low was in a similar position on the weather map as the one that caused the 1968 Wahine storm - between New Zealand and the Chatham Islands area.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentSevere southerly gales in Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay and Kaikoura had eased by mid-morning on the 18th.

North Island

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at North Island
Comments:

Affected LifelineIn the eastern ranges and central high country of the North Island, heavy snow closed many roads on the 17th and 18th. The Napier-Taupo road on State Highway 5 was closed due to heavy snow on the 17th. The Napier-Taihape road was closed on the 17th and remained closed from the Kaweka Camp on the 18th. The Desert Road (State Highway 1) was closed between Rangipo and Waiouru on the 17th becaue of ice.

ImpactSeveral accidents occurred in icy conditions on the Napier-Taupo Highway on the afternoon of the 15th. A number of trucks were stranded on the Napier-Taupo highway by snow.

InjuriesA woman was airlifted to Napier Hospital in a serious condition after an accident on the Napier-Taupo on the afternoon of the 15th.

CommentSnow continued to fall on central North Island ranges on the 18th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Stock DamageThere were high losses of lambs in the North Island.

Affected LifelineWidespread road closures hit much of the lower North Island on the 17th.

South Island

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at South Island
Comments:

CommentSnow fell in the eastern South Island on the 15th.

CauseA low moved on to the South Island over the weekend, bringing chilly southerlies to Canterbury and the Kaikoura coast and snowy conditions in Southland and Otago.

Affected LifelineMany roads in the South Island were shut by snow and ice on the 15th and 16th. State Highway 1 between Balcutha and Gore was closed and State Highway 93 between Clinton and Mataura was closed.

CommentSevere and extreme avalanche warnings were in place at ski fields in the Southern Alps on the 15th and 16th.

Northland

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Pandora
Map Location: -34.453485 172.776369
Comments:

CasualtiesTwo men aged 24 and 25 were drowned when high seas sank the 15-metre fishing boat 'Iron Maiden' near Pandora Bank, southwest of Cape Reinga, on the night of the 16th. The boat started taking on water at around 7pm about 6 nautical miles off Pandora's bank, and the men abandoned the boat soon after. The weather was extremely rough at the time.

Physical CharacteristicThere were 5 m swells at the time.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe winds were gusting at 40 knots (74 km/hr).

Hawke's Bay

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Hawke's Bay
Comments:

DamageHigh winds battered Hawke's Bay overnight on the 17th/18th, toppling trees, ripping roofing iron from houses and closing roads.

Physical CharacteristicWinds gusted up to 120 km/hr in Hawke's Bay overnight on the 17th/18th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Patoka
Map Location: -39.343759 176.602318
Comments:

Stock DamageA Patoka farmer lost about 100 lambs from a stud flock.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Sherenden
Map Location: -39.503311 176.573992
Comments:

Affected LifelinePower was cut to more than 300 homes around Sherenden on the 17th after branches fell onto lines. Power was restored by 3.30am on the 18th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Takapau
Map Location: -40.028683 176.33826
Comments:

Affected LifelinePower was cut at Takapau on the 17th after a line was felled. Some residents were still without power on the morning of the 18th.

Taranaki

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Motunui
Map Location: -38.993367 174.296224
Comments:

CommentMotonui experienced a thunderstorm on the 15th, with heavy rain, small hail, windy conditions and a tornado.

TornadoTornado
Comments:

CommentThe tornado came in from the sea at around 6am and tore a path of destruction across farmland.

Property DamageAt a Motunui property close to the Motunui Synfuel plant, the tornado tore a house from its foundations and dropped it, dumping the four sleeping occupants and debris several hundred metres away. The farmhouse was smashed into arm-length pieces, a nearby outbuilding was destroyed and the family's possessions were scattered over a 400m by 50m area of paddocks.

CasualtiesTwo people inside the house were killed. A woman aged 50 or 55 died at the scene and a 10-year-old boy had his life support unit turned off around 2:30pm the next day (the 16th) due to his critical injuries.

InjuriesThe two other people inside the house were seriously injured - a 28-year-old woman and a 3-year-old boy.

Property DamageThe tornado tore the roof of another house, damaged sheds and wrecked a commerical glasshouse. The tornado also smashed a hole through a shelter belt, uprooted many trees and snapped power poles.

Affected LifelineThe tornado snapped four concrete power poles, damaged another six, and damaged power lines. Power was cut to 1200 homes in a large area from Motunui to Mt Messenger.

DamageThe damage trail from the Epiha Road devastation was 20 m wide and 10 km long. The damage at Epiha Road was assessed as F3 on the Fujita scale.

Stock Damage70 calves were killed after a cow shed was destroyed, with injured animals having to be put down.

Physical CharacteristicMaximum like wind strengths exceeded 150 knots (278 km/hr).

Physical CharacteristicThe tornado came in from the sea at 80 km/hr, with a wind speed of more than 150 km/hr.

CommentThe deputy chief of Waitara Volunteer Fire Brigade had never seen anything like the this devastation in 17 years as a fireman.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentIt was raining heavily at dawn on the 15th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at New Plymouth
Map Location: -39.051214 174.06972
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNew Plymouth Airport recorded northerly winds of 27 knots (50 km/hr).

Manawatu-Wanganui

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Manawatu-Wanganui
Comments:

Affected LifelineState Highway 4 was closed between Taumarunui and Raetihi on the 17th due to ice.

LandslideLandslide at Manawatu Gorge
Map Location: -40.31792 175.798027
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Manawatu Gorge on State Highway 3 was closed after slips came down on the 17th.

FloodingFlooding at Moutoa
Map Location: -40.507761 175.389825
Comments:

ImpactThe Moutoa floodgates near Shannon were opened on the 19th to relieve floodwaters on the Manawatu River.

Wellington

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wellington
Comments:

CommentWellington experienced gales and driving rain on the 15th.

Affected LifelineRoads around Wellington were closed due to huge seas, flooding, slips, wind-blown debris and fallen trees and power lines. Buses were cancelled, and thousands of commuters had their travels disrupted.

Affected LifelineRail services were cancelled due to slips and fallen trees. All train lines into Wellington were closed on the 18th, affecting about 12,000 commuters. Slips and downed trees and power lines closed the Paraparaumu and Johnsonville Transmetro lines into the city.

ImpactSchools were closed and shops and offices were short-staffed when trains were cancelled or had to turn back.

Property DamageExtensive property damage resulted from properties being flooded, roofs lifted and trees and fences blown over.

ImpactSome walking tracks were closed.

CauseThe weather pattern was similar to that which hit in February, but the cold front from Antarctica initially brought snow, rather than rain.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentWellington was battered by high winds overnight on the 17th. The severe southerly gales had eased by the night of the 18th.

DamageTrees and street signs were felled by the winds and a few power lines came down. The Fire Service was called out to hundreds of incidents, with house and shop roofs blown off, fences down, properties flooded and other widespread damage.

Physical CharacteristicWinds of 60-70 km/hr battered Wellington and Wairarapa on the morning of the 17th, with gusts up to 100 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicAt the height of the storm, the Wairarapa experienced average wind speeds of 100 km/hr.

Affected LifelineHundreds of people were left without power throughout Wellington, mostly because of clashing lines and trees falling across wires.

Affected LifelineFencing battens and corrugated iron were flying down some streets on the 18th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRainfall totalled 50-100 mm (5.0-10.0 cm) in many areas.

Physical CharacteristicWairarapa received 60 mm (6.0 cm) of rain.

Physical CharacteristicThe Wainui catchment (Hutt Valley) received 110 mm (11.0 cm) of rain.

CommentRain and sleet were driven sideways.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactProperties were flooded.

CommentIn eastern Wairarapa there were flood warnings in place on the Tinui, Taueru, Whangaehu and Huangaroa rivers.

Affected LifelineThere was surface flooding in much of the region. Several roads in the Wairarapa were closed due to flooding, in Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Affected LifelineCars struggled in coastal areas as waves dumped seaweed and debris on roads.

Physical CharacteristicThe peak swell waves were 4.5 m.

Physical CharacteristicWaves of up to 14.4 m smashed the coastline.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Baring Head
Map Location: -41.410043 174.868572
Comments:

Peak Wind SpeedBaring Head recorded a peak gust of 183 km/hr.

FloodingFlooding at Carterton
Map Location: -41.024015 175.535635
Comments:

Affected LifelineRoads were closed due to flooding in Carterton.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Castlepoint
Map Location: -40.89976 176.221927
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicCastlepoint recorded 90.2 mm (9.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe winds at Castlepoint averaged 100 km/hr on the 17th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Cook Strait
Map Location: -41.247772 174.473756
Comments:

Peak Wind SpeedCook Strait recorded a peak gust of 161 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicCook Strait recorded an average wind speed of 130 km/hr.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSwells in Cook Strait were as high as 7m on the 17th.

Affected LifelineOn the 16th, the 12:30pm Lynx ferry was forced to turn back to Picton after conditions in Cook Strait became too rough when it emerged from Marlborough Sounds. On the 17th, fierce weather and big swells in Cook Strait forced the cancellation of the interisland ferries and the Lynx ferry sailing was cancelled at 12:30pm. Hundreds of people were affected when all Interisland ferry sailings were suspended.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Eastbourne
Map Location: -41.292273 174.883144
Comments:

EvacueesHomes were evacuated in Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne due to slips and floods.

FloodingFlooding at Hungaroa Stream
Map Location: -41.489103 175.542173
Comments:

Affected LifelineHungaroa Stream flooded over a bridge that crosses it.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lower Hutt
Map Location: -41.216677 174.934068
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLower Hutt recorded 80 mm (8.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineSurface flooding occurred in Lower Hutt on the 17th.

ImpactWaiwhetu Stream burst its banks, flooding properties, some of which had only recently been reinhabited after evacutions during the February floods.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

EvacueesHomes were evacuated in Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne due to slips and floods.

Affected LifelineHigh winds caused a large tree to fall near the Dowse Drive intersection on Western Hutt Road, blocking one northbound lane of State Highway 2 just after 5pm on the 17th.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Affected LifelineHuge waves swamped the Hutt Valley railway line.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Lyall Bay
Map Location: -41.328842 174.792189
Comments:

Affected LifelinePolice closed off roads at Lyall Bay on the 18th due to the danger of flying debris.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Masterton
Map Location: -40.964296 175.667649
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMasterton recorded 66 mm (6.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineSurface flooding occurred in Masterton on the 17th. Some roads were closed.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Mt Kaukau
Map Location: -41.231345 174.77761
Comments:

Peak Wind SpeedMt Kaukau recorded a peak gust of 183 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicMt Kaukau recorded an average wind speed of 133 km/hr.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ngawi
Map Location: -41.58683 175.235276
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNgawai recorded 52.2 mm (5.2 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Orongorongo River
Map Location: -41.240206 175.058257
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Orongaronga Ranges recorded 140 mm (14.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Physical CharacteristicOrongorongo Hill received 130 mm (13.0 cm) of rain.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Petone
Map Location: -41.23076 174.871845
Comments:

Affected LifelineSeawaves swept across railway lines in Petone.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Porirua
Map Location: -41.141089 174.818671
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Porirua motorway was closed to southbound traffic for 20 minutes after 7pm on the 17th when a large tree fell and blocked both lanes.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Rimutaka Hill
Map Location: -41.119029 175.230172
Comments:

CommentSnow fell at the summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road on the 15th and generally on the Rimutakas on the 16th.

Physical CharacteristicThe snow was 10 cm deep.

Affected LifelineThe Rimutaka Hill Road on State Highway 2 was open only briefly on the morning of the 17th and closed again that night with heavy snow falling in the area.

FloodingFlooding at Wainuiomapu Stream
Map Location: -40.835516 175.890838
Comments:

CasualtiesA 46-year-old female postie died while driving to work in the storm around 5:30am on the 18th. Her vehicle was found in the swollen Wainuiomapu Stream beside Maringi Road that night and on the morning of the 19th her body was found just downstream from the submerged car.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wainuiomata
Map Location: -41.258208 174.954979
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWainuiomata recorded 96 mm (9.6 cm) of rai in 24 hours.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

EvacueesHomes were evacuated in Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne due to slips and floods.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Wellington City
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

Property DamagePanels were blown off two buildings at Queens Wharf on the waterfront, and windows were blown in at the former Herd Street Post Office Building.

Property DamageBroken glass littered roads and footpaths around Basin Reserve, where more than 12 windows on the R.A. Vance stand were blown out. More glass and other debris was flying around on the waterfront.

ImpactNew Zealand Post cancelled postal deliveries in the city.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Wellington International Airport
Map Location: -41.329538 174.805351
Comments:

Property DamagePart of the roof of the Koru Lounge at Wellington Airport was blown off, and the interior was subsequently partially flooded.

Affected LifelineWellington Airport was closed. All 190 Air New Zealand flights on the 18th were suspended, affecting 9000 domestic and international passengers.

Peak Wind SpeedWellington Airport recorded a peak gust of 119 km/hr.

Physical CharacteristicWellington Airport recorded wind speeds averaging 87 km/hr.

Marlborough

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Marlborough
Comments:

CommentGale force winds hammered Marlborough on the morning of the 18th.

Affected LifelineThe travel plans of hundreds of people were disrupted.

Property DamageProperties in the outer Marlborough Sounds were damaged by high winds.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Arapawa Island
Map Location: -41.185781 174.311429
Comments:

CommentA resident of Arapawa Island, at the entrance to the Tory Channel, described the weather as "shocking".

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere were winds of 80 knots (148 km/hr).

Property DamageA garden was torn up and a neighbouring shed was blown down.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was a huge sea running, with 6-metre rolls.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Tory Channel
Map Location: -41.238967 174.224793
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe entrance to Tory Channel was closed on the 17th due to fierce weather and big swells. This was only the third time it had been closed in 10 years.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Ward
Map Location: -41.826945 174.143136
Comments:

Affected LifelineUp to 150 homes on the east coast south of Ward were without power overnight from 9pm on the 17th. The affected areas included the Ure (Waima) River area, and Kekerengu and Clarence in Canterbury.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Woodbourne
Map Location: -41.509671 173.865652
Comments:

Affected LifelineFlights were affected at Marlborough Airport.

West Coast

LightningLightning at West Coast
Comments:

InjuriesA West Coast farmer was struck by lightning on the 15th while riding his farmbike. He was taken to Grey Hospital during a spectacular thunderstorm, but did not suffer any burns.

Canterbury

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Canterbury
Comments:

CommentThere were snow showers from Banks Peninsula to the Kaikoura Coast on the 15th and 16th.

Physical CharacteristicA few inches of snow fell in Canterbury on the 15th.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Christchurch
Map Location: -43.53112 172.636147
Comments:

Affected LifelineFlights into Christchurch Airport were cancelled on the 15th because of sleet and snow. Hundreds of passengers were stranded.

Peak Snow DepthChristchurch received up to 15 cm of snow overnight on the 15th/16th.

Affected LifelineSummit Road was closed on the 15th and 16th.

DamageSeveral trees fell under the weight of the snow.

ImpactSeveral schools and businesses in Christchurch were closed on 16th.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Clarence
Map Location: -42.156138 173.929325
Comments:

Affected LifelineHomes in Clarence were without power overnight from 9pm on the 17th.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Kaikoura
Map Location: -42.402255 173.685685
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSnow fell to 300m along the Kaikoura coast.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Kekerengu
Map Location: -42.003758 174.009837
Comments:

Affected LifelineHomes in Kekerengu were without power overnight from 9pm on the 17th.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Mount Cook
Map Location: -43.734653 170.103918
Comments:

Affected LifelineSome of Air New Zealand's Mt Cook flights were cancelled on the 15th.

Otago

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Otago
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNorth Otago received 10 cm of snow.

ImpactAll primary / intermediate and most secondary schools were closed between Waitati and Mosgiel.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Dunedin
Map Location: -45.87911 170.502707
Comments:

Affected LifelineDunedin was virtually cut off from the outside world on the 15th. The main arterial routes in and out of Dunedin were closed on the 15th and 16th: Three Mile Hill Road, State Highway 1 to the south between Dunedin and Milton and State Highway 1 to the north between Waikouaiti and Dunedin.

ImpactMost Dunedin businesses had to close on the 16th because of the bad weather and closed roads.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Dunedin Airport
Map Location: -45.928643 170.198772
Comments:

Affected LifelineDunedin Airport was closed on the 15th and 16th. A least five flights were affected and up to 360 people were stranded.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 1-2 cm of snow on the airport runway.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Humboldt Mountains
Map Location: -44.756587 168.243771
Comments:

InjuriesFour people were injured when an avalanche hit a heliskiing party in the Humboldt Mountains, near Glenorchy. One woman was flown to hospital with a moderate spinal injury, and three others received minor injuries.

Southland

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Southland
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere were light snowfalls in Southland on the 15th. About 8 cm of snow fell in some areas.

Affected LifelineState Highway 96 between Winton and Ohai was closed on the 16th. State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound was also closed.

References

Major weather events in New Zealand, Floods and High Rainfall to 31st May 2006.
Major weather events in New Zealand, Snowstorms to 14 June 2006.
Meteorological Society of New Zealand (Inc.) Newsletter 98, September 2004.
Meteorological Society of New Zealand (Inc.) Newsletter 99, December 2004.
www.metservice.co.nz / Learning Center / Notable Recent Weather / Winter 2004 / 14 - 19 August.
www.metservice, notable weather events.govt.nz.
Headline: Tornado victim's name released.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: Newstalk ZB, 15 August 2004.
Headline: Big chill maintains grip on country.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 16 August 2004, 6:30pm.
Headline: Icy blast heads north.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZ Herald and NZPA, 16 August 2004.
Headline: Rescuers cleared over tuna boat deaths.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 16 June 2005.
Headline: Storm blasts Dunedin, extends north.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 16 August 2004, 10:45am.
Headline: Tornado claims second life with death of 10-year-old.
www.nzherald.co.nz, source: NZPA, 16 August 2004.
Headline: Twister shatters lives of Taranaki farming family.
www.nzherald.co.nz, 16 August 2004.
Headline: Ferries cancelled, roads closed as weather worsens.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 17 August 2004.
Headline: Snow closes North Island roads, disrupts ferry services.
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZPA, 17 August 2004, 10:10am.
Headline: Gale compared with Wahine storm.
www.nzherald.co.nz, 18 August 2004, 10:45pm.
Headline: Postie missing as violent storm batters lower North Island.
New Zealand Herald, Source: NZPA, 18 August 2004.
Headline: Postie's vehicle found in stream.
www.nzherald.co.nz, 19 August 2004.
Headline: Man dead, another lost in fierce seas.
The Northern Advocate, 17 August 2004.
Headline: Searchers give up hope: Wind conditions hinder.
The Northern Advocate, 18 August 2004.
Headline: Tornado victim named.
tvnz.co.nz, Source: ONE News and RNZ, 15 August 2004, 11:06am.
Headline: Body of missing postie found.
tvnz.co.nz, Source: RNZ, 18 August 2004, 3:21pm.