NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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SevereMarch 1990 North Island Ex-tropical Cyclone Hilda ( 1990-03-08 )

50-69 years

Ex-tropical cyclone Hilda drifted onto the Taranaki coast resulting in heavy rain and flooding. There was hundreds of people evacuated, high stock losses and millions of dollars worth of damage.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Comments:

CauseCyclone Hilda moved into the north Tasman Sea, then transitioned on the 8th into a large low-pressure area. By midnight on the 8th there was a very anticyclonic-looking flow over Taranaki and a low-level flow over the area quite northeasterly. However, 500 hPa analysis shows air at this altitude was being brought from very low latitudes. Air was rising as it moved through the eastern Tasman Sea and onto Taranaki. A frontal band was extending right up into tropical latitudes. Very humid air was being advected onto Taranaki – dew points reached as high as 21C. Twenty-four hours later flow turned more northerly, while air still being fetched from low latitudes. WCB, in a weakened state, finally moved off the area on the afternoon of the 10th.

DurationFrom the 8th to the 15th of March.

Taranaki

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Taranaki
Comments:

CauseRemants of Cyclone Hilda drifted onto Taranaki coast and was trapped by stationary weather, when the moist air from the tropics rose.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentTaranaki experienced several days of heavy rainfall. The heaviest rainfalls occurred in 24 hours to 9:00am on the 9th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was severe flooding.

CommentThere were major stock losses in the Taranaki region.

ImpactFarmland was inundated.

Affected LifelineThere was extensive damage to roads.

ImpactMany remote parts of the region were isolated.

CommentThe similarity to the 1971 weather event was quite marked and the main causes were the same.

Declared EmergencyA Civil Defence emergency was declared for the Taranaki region at 9:30am on the 10th until 4:00pm on the 15th.

Evacuees130 residents from 50 homes were evacuated.

CommentThe event had a estimated return period of 50 years.

Affected LifelineThere was damage to the sewage system by Waiwakaiho River and sewage was flowing raw into the sea.

Affected LifelineState Highway 3, 43 and 45 were closed.

Crop DamageThere was extensive crop damage.

Damage CostThe damage cost for Federated Farmers was $3,994,300 (1990 dollars). Access damage was $1,614,900, pasture damage was $416,100, damage to fencing and yards was $470,900, damage to dams, drains and water supply was $297,100, other losses were $242,900. Capital losses cost $74,900 and livestock losses were $67,500. Estimated loss of income in 1990 was $560,000 and the estimated loss of income in 1991 was $250,000.

Damage CostThe estimated damage costs for the New Plymouth District Council was $2,163,800 (1990 dollars).

Damage CostThe estimated damage costs for the South Taranaki District Council was $300,000 (1990 dollars).

Stock DamageStock losses included 1277 Sheep, 66 Cattle, 104 Goats and 2 Deer.

Insurance PaymentThere was $1,800,000 (1990 dollars) in insurance payouts.

Affected LifelineHeavy rain over last four days which caused washouts was to blame for 3 locomotives and 11 freight cars to derail.

FloodingFlooding at Inglewood
Map Location: -39.163073 174.187246
Comments:

Affected LifelineTelecom cable was washed out near Inglewood and cut all phone lines to the rest of New Zealand.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lake Mangamahoe
Map Location: -39.12159 174.1243
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLake Mangamahoe recorded 498 mm (49.8 cm) of rain in six days.

Physical CharacteristicLake Mangamahoe recorded 751 mm (75.1 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

Physical CharacteristicLake Mangamahoe recorded 294 mm (29.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9am on the 9th (which has a return period of over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lepperton
Map Location: -39.06323 174.21172
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLepperton recorded 338 mm (33.8 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe washed out railway line sent a freight train plummeting 15 m down a bank.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at New Plymouth
Map Location: -39.051214 174.06972
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNew Plymouth Township recorded 324 mm (32.4 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at New Plymouth Airport
Map Location: -39.00617 174.17691
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNew Plymouth Airport recorded 277 mm (27.7 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at North Egmont
Map Location: -39.269979 174.085413
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNorth Egmont Visitor Centre recorded 970 mm (97.0 cm) of rain in six days.

Physical CharacteristicNorth Egmont Visitor Centre recorded 419 mm (41.9 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9am on the 9th (which has a return period 45 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Oakura
Map Location: -39.115805 173.953382
Comments:

Evacuees54 people were evacuated from Oakura Marae and four homes.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pukeiti Hill
Map Location: -39.193883 173.986924
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPukeiti recorded 751 mm (75.1 cm) of rain in six days.

Physical CharacteristicPukeiti recorded 445 mm (44.5 cm) of rain in 24 hours to 9am on the 9th (which has a return period of 140 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tariki
Map Location: -39.239059 174.241308
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTariki Hydro recorded 370 mm (37.0 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

FloodingFlooding at Waitara
Map Location: -38.99656 174.213734
Comments:

EvacueesIn Waitara there were evacuations due to fears from a breach which didn't eventuate.

CommentWaitara River rose to 25 year flood.

Manawatu-Wanganui

LandslideLandslide at Manawatu-Wanganui
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe road from Pipiriki to Raetihi was closed. There were 30 slips along it.

FloodingFlooding at Wanganui
Map Location: -39.932232 175.028352
Comments:

Declared EmergencyA Civil Defence emergency was declared at 8:15pm on the 10th to 12:30pm on the 14th.

Evacuees96 homes were evacuated including 119 people from 90 houses along Anzac Parade between Helmore Street and Mount View Road.

Damage CostFarm damage cost an estimated $1,200,000 (1990 dollars).

Insurance PaymentInsurance costs $1,800,000 (1994 dollars) excluding EQC.

Impact150 boarders at Wanganui Girls High had to be relocated due to sewage problems.

Impact22 homes were flooded with mud and silt.

CommentIt was the most destructive Wanganui flood since 1940. This flood was slightly bigger than the 1958 flood, identical to the 1921 flood, but no where near as big as 1940.

ImpactSilt-laden waters charged through dozens of riverside buildings from Wanganui East and the central city to Balgownie. Residential properties along Anzac Parade were inundated.

CommentWhanganui River breached the Kowhai park stopbank. It also burst its banks in several places along the River Road.

CommentThe estimated return period for the flood was 30 years.

Affected LifelineRiver Road was closed.

ImpactTonnes of silt, sand, mud were deposited.

CommentThe jetty was covered by several metres of water.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentThere was a slip along Anzac Parade.

FloodingFlooding at Whanganui River
Map Location: -39.755973 175.156753
Comments:

EvacueesWhanganui River broke its banks and several houses were evacuated.

Peak DischargeWhanganui River had a peak discharge of 4250 cumecs. A rate of discharge identical to the 1926 flood.

Physical CharacteristicWhanganui River peaked at approximately 15 m above normal.

Wellington

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wellington
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWellington received 109 mm (10.9 cm) of rain in five days.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThere was flooding in some areas of Wellington on the 13th.

Affected LifelineWellington airport was closed.

Affected LifelineThe road between Levin and Shannon was closed.

Property DamageHomes were flooded and gardens scoured at Stokes Valley and Otaihanga on the 13th. The flooding was the worst in 10 years.

Affected LifelineMud and rubble blocked drains and roads.

FloodingFlooding at Lower Hutt
Map Location: -41.216677 174.934068
Comments:

ImpactThere was flooding in Lower Hutt.

FloodingFlooding at Ohau River
Map Location: -40.65874 175.36442
Comments:

CommentOhau River broke its banks.

FloodingFlooding at Otaki
Map Location: -40.750818 175.14738
Comments:

CommentOtaki was badly hit by the flooding.

CommentWaitohu Stream burst its banks.

Affected LifelineThe water supply was cut to the township.

FloodingFlooding at Pauatahanui
Map Location: -41.106378 174.918341
Comments:

Affected LifelineGrays Road at Pauatahanui was closed.

FloodingFlooding at Stokes Valley
Map Location: -41.18277 174.9873
Comments:

Property DamageThe most severely affected area was Stokes Valley where a number of properties and houses were flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tararua Range
Map Location: -40.903116 175.33038
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTararua Range recorded 15-25 mm (1.5-2.5 cm) of rain in one hour on the 13th.

FloodingFlooding at Te Horo Beach
Map Location: -40.7932 175.071107
Comments:

Affected LifelineTe Horo Beach Road was closed due to washouts.

ImpactA chicken farm was flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Waiohine River
Map Location: -40.968689 175.383781
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiohine River peaked in the gorge at 4.71 m.

CommentWaiohine River spilled over its stopbanks.

FloodingFlooding at Wairarapa
Map Location: -41.207855 175.248076
Comments:

CommentThere was a crack in the stopbank at Fullers Bend.

EvacueesFive homes (approximately 20 people) were evacuated (3km north of Greytown).

ImpactFarmland was swamped.

Affected LifelineThe road between Greytown and Martinborough was flooded.

Affected LifelineWaikawa, Te Horo, and Kuku beaches were cut off.

FloodingFlooding at Wellington city
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

InjuriesTwo people were injured when a car flipped in Mt Victoria. There were several minor accidents along the motorway.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentSlips were reported in hillside suburbs.

References

Civil Defence Declarations Since 1 January 1963, Declared Civil Defence Emergencies, 31 December 1999
Cyclone Hilda Civil Defence Report: Taranaki RC (1990)
Insurance Councils, The Cost of Weather Loses, Claims history (Updated 2004)
Major weather events in New Zealand, FLOODS AND HIGH RAINFALL, Floods to 30 Sep 2005
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Saunders, W.(2000) Planning and Resources, Hazard and Emergency Management Section, WAIRARAPA DIVISION, Wairarapa Storm Events 1880 - 1998, Technical Report No. 00/17
Taranaki Regional Council. Taranaki Flood, 10-15 March 1990.
Headline: Rain relentless over region.
The Evening Post, March 13 1990.
Headline: Rain relentless over region.
The Evening Post, March 13 1990.
Headline: Families flee flood waters.
The Evening Post, March 14 1990.
Headline: Families flee flood waters.
The Evening Post, March 14 1990.
Headline: Coastal towns, raods soaking wet.
The Evening Post, March 14, 1990.
Headline: Chaos confronts clean-up crews.
The Evening Post, March 14, 1990.
Headline: Assistance from computer.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 12 March 1990.
Headline: Flooding leaves mess, damage.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 12 March 1990.
Headline: River rose at an alarming rate.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 12 March 1990.

SevereMarch 1990 North Island Ex-tropical Cyclone Hilda ( 1990-03-08 )

50-69 years

Ex-tropical cyclone Hilda drifted onto the Taranaki coast resulting in heavy rain and flooding. There was hundreds of people evacuated, high stock losses and millions of dollars worth of damage.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Comments:

CauseCyclone Hilda moved into the north Tasman Sea, then transitioned on the 8th into a large low-pressure area. By midnight on the 8th there was a very anticyclonic-looking flow over Taranaki and a low-level flow over the area quite northeasterly. However, 500 hPa analysis shows air at this altitude was being brought from very low latitudes. Air was rising as it moved through the eastern Tasman Sea and onto Taranaki. A frontal band was extending right up into tropical latitudes. Very humid air was being advected onto Taranaki – dew points reached as high as 21C. Twenty-four hours later flow turned more northerly, while air still being fetched from low latitudes. WCB, in a weakened state, finally moved off the area on the afternoon of the 10th.

DurationFrom the 8th to the 15th of March.

Taranaki

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Taranaki
Comments:

CauseRemants of Cyclone Hilda drifted onto Taranaki coast and was trapped by stationary weather, when the moist air from the tropics rose.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentTaranaki experienced several days of heavy rainfall. The heaviest rainfalls occurred in 24 hours to 9:00am on the 9th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was severe flooding.

CommentThere were major stock losses in the Taranaki region.

ImpactFarmland was inundated.

Affected LifelineThere was extensive damage to roads.

ImpactMany remote parts of the region were isolated.

CommentThe similarity to the 1971 weather event was quite marked and the main causes were the same.

Declared EmergencyA Civil Defence emergency was declared for the Taranaki region at 9:30am on the 10th until 4:00pm on the 15th.

Evacuees130 residents from 50 homes were evacuated.

CommentThe event had a estimated return period of 50 years.

Affected LifelineThere was damage to the sewage system by Waiwakaiho River and sewage was flowing raw into the sea.

Affected LifelineState Highway 3, 43 and 45 were closed.

Crop DamageThere was extensive crop damage.

Damage CostThe damage cost for Federated Farmers was $3,994,300 (1990 dollars). Access damage was $1,614,900, pasture damage was $416,100, damage to fencing and yards was $470,900, damage to dams, drains and water supply was $297,100, other losses were $242,900. Capital losses cost $74,900 and livestock losses were $67,500. Estimated loss of income in 1990 was $560,000 and the estimated loss of income in 1991 was $250,000.

Damage CostThe estimated damage costs for the New Plymouth District Council was $2,163,800 (1990 dollars).

Damage CostThe estimated damage costs for the South Taranaki District Council was $300,000 (1990 dollars).

Stock DamageStock losses included 1277 Sheep, 66 Cattle, 104 Goats and 2 Deer.

Insurance PaymentThere was $1,800,000 (1990 dollars) in insurance payouts.

Affected LifelineHeavy rain over last four days which caused washouts was to blame for 3 locomotives and 11 freight cars to derail.

FloodingFlooding at Inglewood
Map Location: -39.163073 174.187246
Comments:

Affected LifelineTelecom cable was washed out near Inglewood and cut all phone lines to the rest of New Zealand.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lake Mangamahoe
Map Location: -39.12159 174.1243
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLake Mangamahoe recorded 498 mm (49.8 cm) of rain in six days.

Physical CharacteristicLake Mangamahoe recorded 751 mm (75.1 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

Physical CharacteristicLake Mangamahoe recorded 294 mm (29.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9am on the 9th (which has a return period of over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Lepperton
Map Location: -39.06323 174.21172
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLepperton recorded 338 mm (33.8 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe washed out railway line sent a freight train plummeting 15 m down a bank.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at New Plymouth
Map Location: -39.051214 174.06972
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNew Plymouth Township recorded 324 mm (32.4 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at New Plymouth Airport
Map Location: -39.00617 174.17691
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNew Plymouth Airport recorded 277 mm (27.7 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at North Egmont
Map Location: -39.269979 174.085413
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNorth Egmont Visitor Centre recorded 970 mm (97.0 cm) of rain in six days.

Physical CharacteristicNorth Egmont Visitor Centre recorded 419 mm (41.9 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9am on the 9th (which has a return period 45 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Oakura
Map Location: -39.115805 173.953382
Comments:

Evacuees54 people were evacuated from Oakura Marae and four homes.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pukeiti Hill
Map Location: -39.193883 173.986924
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPukeiti recorded 751 mm (75.1 cm) of rain in six days.

Physical CharacteristicPukeiti recorded 445 mm (44.5 cm) of rain in 24 hours to 9am on the 9th (which has a return period of 140 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tariki
Map Location: -39.239059 174.241308
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTariki Hydro recorded 370 mm (37.0 cm) of rain from the 8th to the 15th of March.

FloodingFlooding at Waitara
Map Location: -38.99656 174.213734
Comments:

EvacueesIn Waitara there were evacuations due to fears from a breach which didn't eventuate.

CommentWaitara River rose to 25 year flood.

Manawatu-Wanganui

LandslideLandslide at Manawatu-Wanganui
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe road from Pipiriki to Raetihi was closed. There were 30 slips along it.

FloodingFlooding at Wanganui
Map Location: -39.932232 175.028352
Comments:

Declared EmergencyA Civil Defence emergency was declared at 8:15pm on the 10th to 12:30pm on the 14th.

Evacuees96 homes were evacuated including 119 people from 90 houses along Anzac Parade between Helmore Street and Mount View Road.

Damage CostFarm damage cost an estimated $1,200,000 (1990 dollars).

Insurance PaymentInsurance costs $1,800,000 (1994 dollars) excluding EQC.

Impact150 boarders at Wanganui Girls High had to be relocated due to sewage problems.

Impact22 homes were flooded with mud and silt.

CommentIt was the most destructive Wanganui flood since 1940. This flood was slightly bigger than the 1958 flood, identical to the 1921 flood, but no where near as big as 1940.

ImpactSilt-laden waters charged through dozens of riverside buildings from Wanganui East and the central city to Balgownie. Residential properties along Anzac Parade were inundated.

CommentWhanganui River breached the Kowhai park stopbank. It also burst its banks in several places along the River Road.

CommentThe estimated return period for the flood was 30 years.

Affected LifelineRiver Road was closed.

ImpactTonnes of silt, sand, mud were deposited.

CommentThe jetty was covered by several metres of water.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentThere was a slip along Anzac Parade.

FloodingFlooding at Whanganui River
Map Location: -39.755973 175.156753
Comments:

EvacueesWhanganui River broke its banks and several houses were evacuated.

Peak DischargeWhanganui River had a peak discharge of 4250 cumecs. A rate of discharge identical to the 1926 flood.

Physical CharacteristicWhanganui River peaked at approximately 15 m above normal.

Wellington

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wellington
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWellington received 109 mm (10.9 cm) of rain in five days.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThere was flooding in some areas of Wellington on the 13th.

Affected LifelineWellington airport was closed.

Affected LifelineThe road between Levin and Shannon was closed.

Property DamageHomes were flooded and gardens scoured at Stokes Valley and Otaihanga on the 13th. The flooding was the worst in 10 years.

Affected LifelineMud and rubble blocked drains and roads.

FloodingFlooding at Lower Hutt
Map Location: -41.216677 174.934068
Comments:

ImpactThere was flooding in Lower Hutt.

FloodingFlooding at Ohau River
Map Location: -40.65874 175.36442
Comments:

CommentOhau River broke its banks.

FloodingFlooding at Otaki
Map Location: -40.750818 175.14738
Comments:

CommentOtaki was badly hit by the flooding.

CommentWaitohu Stream burst its banks.

Affected LifelineThe water supply was cut to the township.

FloodingFlooding at Pauatahanui
Map Location: -41.106378 174.918341
Comments:

Affected LifelineGrays Road at Pauatahanui was closed.

FloodingFlooding at Stokes Valley
Map Location: -41.18277 174.9873
Comments:

Property DamageThe most severely affected area was Stokes Valley where a number of properties and houses were flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tararua Range
Map Location: -40.903116 175.33038
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTararua Range recorded 15-25 mm (1.5-2.5 cm) of rain in one hour on the 13th.

FloodingFlooding at Te Horo Beach
Map Location: -40.7932 175.071107
Comments:

Affected LifelineTe Horo Beach Road was closed due to washouts.

ImpactA chicken farm was flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Waiohine River
Map Location: -40.968689 175.383781
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiohine River peaked in the gorge at 4.71 m.

CommentWaiohine River spilled over its stopbanks.

FloodingFlooding at Wairarapa
Map Location: -41.207855 175.248076
Comments:

CommentThere was a crack in the stopbank at Fullers Bend.

EvacueesFive homes (approximately 20 people) were evacuated (3km north of Greytown).

ImpactFarmland was swamped.

Affected LifelineThe road between Greytown and Martinborough was flooded.

Affected LifelineWaikawa, Te Horo, and Kuku beaches were cut off.

FloodingFlooding at Wellington city
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

InjuriesTwo people were injured when a car flipped in Mt Victoria. There were several minor accidents along the motorway.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentSlips were reported in hillside suburbs.

References

Civil Defence Declarations Since 1 January 1963, Declared Civil Defence Emergencies, 31 December 1999
Cyclone Hilda Civil Defence Report: Taranaki RC (1990)
Insurance Councils, The Cost of Weather Loses, Claims history (Updated 2004)
Major weather events in New Zealand, FLOODS AND HIGH RAINFALL, Floods to 30 Sep 2005
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Saunders, W.(2000) Planning and Resources, Hazard and Emergency Management Section, WAIRARAPA DIVISION, Wairarapa Storm Events 1880 - 1998, Technical Report No. 00/17
Taranaki Regional Council. Taranaki Flood, 10-15 March 1990.
Headline: Rain relentless over region.
The Evening Post, March 13 1990.
Headline: Rain relentless over region.
The Evening Post, March 13 1990.
Headline: Families flee flood waters.
The Evening Post, March 14 1990.
Headline: Families flee flood waters.
The Evening Post, March 14 1990.
Headline: Coastal towns, raods soaking wet.
The Evening Post, March 14, 1990.
Headline: Chaos confronts clean-up crews.
The Evening Post, March 14, 1990.
Headline: Assistance from computer.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 12 March 1990.
Headline: Flooding leaves mess, damage.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 12 March 1990.
Headline: River rose at an alarming rate.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 12 March 1990.