NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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May 1904 Manawatu-Wanganui and West Coast Flooding ( 1904-05-22 )

Heavy rain caused extensive flooding and damage in the Wanganui area. In Brunner on the West Coast, heavy rain caused landslides, one of which killed seven children and one man.

Manawatu-Wanganui

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Manawatu-Wanganui
Duration:   5  days - From the 22nd to the 26th of May.
Comments:
Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wanganui
Map Location: -39.932232 175.028352
Comments:

CauseA 992hPa low moved southeastwards onto South Island, and another (985hPa) followed it. There was a prolonged period of northwesterlies which affected the Whanganui River headwaters. Fronts were not analysed in those days, but possible frontal analysis suggests that a front remained stationary over or near area for three days.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain and melting of snow caused flooding of the river and surrounding areas.

Physical CharacteristicWanganui recorded 4 in (10.16 cm) of rain in three days (which has a return period of 15 years).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentWhanganui River reached its highest flood to that time.

Affected LifelineAt its peak, the Whanganui River covered Taupo Quay and up The Avenue.

ImpactSeveral punts and ferries lost and a 2 two-storey houses at Taylorville was washed away.

ImpactEast Town was extensively flooded.

Physical CharacteristicWhanganui River peaked 219,000 cusecs (6201 cumecs) and flowed at a velocity of 11 knots (20.4 km/hr).

Stock DamageThere were considerable stock losses.

CommentThe river was 3 ft (0.91 m) higher than it had been during the flood of February 1891 and was possibly bigger than the flood of 1940, although opinions differ.

Physical CharacteristicOver 4 ft (1.22 m) of water coursed through the buildings on Taupo Quay.

ImpactAt Taylorville, the riverbank became so eroded houses and business fell into the current and were swept away.

ImpactRiver was running at a terrific height, carrying huge trees and large quantities of drift wood.

ImpactThe cellar of Siddells Railway Hotel was full of water. Manson's store had over 4 in of water on the floor. McCarthy's Hotel had water flowing in it.

Affected LifelineRoads were greatly damaged by the recent floods.

Affected LifelineMany setters were completely cut off from supplies.

FloodingFlooding at Whangaehu River
Map Location: -39.845139 175.319738
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWhangaehu River was in very high flood. It had swollen to two miles wide (3.2 km).

Physical CharacteristicThe hotel had 2 ft (0.61 m) of water inside.

ImpactA large number of settlers were flooded out.

FloodingFlooding at Hunterville
Map Location: -39.936572 175.554055
Comments:

ImpactThe Porewa Stream overflowed its banks and a number of people were flooded out.

Affected LifelineCommunication was practically suspended.

Affected LifelineTraffic was suspended.

Affected LifelineThe Hunterville railway line was underwater in several places.

FloodingFlooding at Makirikiri
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe ferry was washed away, making the south river bank impassable.

Affected LifelineThe Makirikiri area was cut off.

FloodingFlooding at Upokongaro
Map Location: -39.8683 175.1177
Comments:

ImpactA ferry was carried away.

FloodingFlooding at Okoia
Map Location: -39.921921 175.124587
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was submergence of the railway at Okoia and the train was stopped.

FloodingFlooding at Mangawhero River
Map Location: -39.819987 175.270968
Comments:

CommentMangawhero River was in high flood.

Affected LifelineThree bridges were washed out.

West Coast

LandslideLandslide at Brunner
Map Location: -42.43624 171.31636
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain resulted in a landslide occurring in Brunner on the 25th, with an estimated 200 yards of earth, trees and rocks in the slip.

ImpactA portion of the loose material on the hill-side was carried away by the recent heavy rains, striking in its course a cottage and cutting a cornor out of the Terminus Hotel.

CasualtiesEight people were killed by the landslide. Seven children that were in a cottage were killed. This was a 13 year old girl, 12 year old girl, 10 year old girl, 8 year old boy, 5 year old boy, 4 year old girl and an 18 month old girl. A 60 year old man in the hotel was also killed.

DamageThe mass slipped bodily down 20 or 30 ft (6.1-9.1 m) and there was a wreck of broken houses, mud, stones, boulders, trees and water.

DamageBrunner Companys stables was damaged.

Affected LifelineThe bridge at Wallsend was undermined.

Affected LifelineThe road and railway bridge was carried away.

DamageA chemists shop at Wallsend was carried bodily across the road and landed in a gully.

FloodingFlooding at Greymouth
Map Location: -42.451212 171.206779
Comments:

DamageRainfall was considerable in Greymouth and caused floods throughout the district resulting in much damage.

CommentGrey River was running bank high.

Affected LifelineThere was damage to railway lines, bridges and dredges.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

InjuriesA slip coming down on the passing train from Otira. One man was seriously injured.

Affected LifelineA slip occurred on the Reefton railway line.

References

Benn, J.L. (2005). Landslide events on the West Coast, South Island, 1867-2002. New Zealand Geographer (2005) 61, 3-13.
Cowie, C.A; Attwood, A.K.(1957) FLOODS in NEW ZEALAND 1920 -53, The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand 239p.
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~sooty/brunnerlandslide1904.html
Hutchins, Graham. (2006). High Water: Floods in New Zealand.
New Zealand Disasters and Tragedies:
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Headline: Wanganui Floods.
Taranaki Herald, 31 May 1904.
Headline: Terrible Disaster, A house carried away bodily.
The Greymouth Evening Star, 25 May 1904.
Headline: Great Floods in Wanganui.
The Greymouth Evening Star, 26 May 1904.
Headline: Floods on the West Coast.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 25 May 1904.
Headline: Great Floods in the Wanganui District.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 26 May 1904.

May 1904 Manawatu-Wanganui and West Coast Flooding ( 1904-05-22 )

Heavy rain caused extensive flooding and damage in the Wanganui area. In Brunner on the West Coast, heavy rain caused landslides, one of which killed seven children and one man.

Manawatu-Wanganui

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Manawatu-Wanganui
Duration:   5  days - From the 22nd to the 26th of May.
Comments:
Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wanganui
Map Location: -39.932232 175.028352
Comments:

CauseA 992hPa low moved southeastwards onto South Island, and another (985hPa) followed it. There was a prolonged period of northwesterlies which affected the Whanganui River headwaters. Fronts were not analysed in those days, but possible frontal analysis suggests that a front remained stationary over or near area for three days.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain and melting of snow caused flooding of the river and surrounding areas.

Physical CharacteristicWanganui recorded 4 in (10.16 cm) of rain in three days (which has a return period of 15 years).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentWhanganui River reached its highest flood to that time.

Affected LifelineAt its peak, the Whanganui River covered Taupo Quay and up The Avenue.

ImpactSeveral punts and ferries lost and a 2 two-storey houses at Taylorville was washed away.

ImpactEast Town was extensively flooded.

Physical CharacteristicWhanganui River peaked 219,000 cusecs (6201 cumecs) and flowed at a velocity of 11 knots (20.4 km/hr).

Stock DamageThere were considerable stock losses.

CommentThe river was 3 ft (0.91 m) higher than it had been during the flood of February 1891 and was possibly bigger than the flood of 1940, although opinions differ.

Physical CharacteristicOver 4 ft (1.22 m) of water coursed through the buildings on Taupo Quay.

ImpactAt Taylorville, the riverbank became so eroded houses and business fell into the current and were swept away.

ImpactRiver was running at a terrific height, carrying huge trees and large quantities of drift wood.

ImpactThe cellar of Siddells Railway Hotel was full of water. Manson's store had over 4 in of water on the floor. McCarthy's Hotel had water flowing in it.

Affected LifelineRoads were greatly damaged by the recent floods.

Affected LifelineMany setters were completely cut off from supplies.

FloodingFlooding at Whangaehu River
Map Location: -39.845139 175.319738
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWhangaehu River was in very high flood. It had swollen to two miles wide (3.2 km).

Physical CharacteristicThe hotel had 2 ft (0.61 m) of water inside.

ImpactA large number of settlers were flooded out.

FloodingFlooding at Hunterville
Map Location: -39.936572 175.554055
Comments:

ImpactThe Porewa Stream overflowed its banks and a number of people were flooded out.

Affected LifelineCommunication was practically suspended.

Affected LifelineTraffic was suspended.

Affected LifelineThe Hunterville railway line was underwater in several places.

FloodingFlooding at Makirikiri
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe ferry was washed away, making the south river bank impassable.

Affected LifelineThe Makirikiri area was cut off.

FloodingFlooding at Upokongaro
Map Location: -39.8683 175.1177
Comments:

ImpactA ferry was carried away.

FloodingFlooding at Okoia
Map Location: -39.921921 175.124587
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was submergence of the railway at Okoia and the train was stopped.

FloodingFlooding at Mangawhero River
Map Location: -39.819987 175.270968
Comments:

CommentMangawhero River was in high flood.

Affected LifelineThree bridges were washed out.

West Coast

LandslideLandslide at Brunner
Map Location: -42.43624 171.31636
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain resulted in a landslide occurring in Brunner on the 25th, with an estimated 200 yards of earth, trees and rocks in the slip.

ImpactA portion of the loose material on the hill-side was carried away by the recent heavy rains, striking in its course a cottage and cutting a cornor out of the Terminus Hotel.

CasualtiesEight people were killed by the landslide. Seven children that were in a cottage were killed. This was a 13 year old girl, 12 year old girl, 10 year old girl, 8 year old boy, 5 year old boy, 4 year old girl and an 18 month old girl. A 60 year old man in the hotel was also killed.

DamageThe mass slipped bodily down 20 or 30 ft (6.1-9.1 m) and there was a wreck of broken houses, mud, stones, boulders, trees and water.

DamageBrunner Companys stables was damaged.

Affected LifelineThe bridge at Wallsend was undermined.

Affected LifelineThe road and railway bridge was carried away.

DamageA chemists shop at Wallsend was carried bodily across the road and landed in a gully.

FloodingFlooding at Greymouth
Map Location: -42.451212 171.206779
Comments:

DamageRainfall was considerable in Greymouth and caused floods throughout the district resulting in much damage.

CommentGrey River was running bank high.

Affected LifelineThere was damage to railway lines, bridges and dredges.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

InjuriesA slip coming down on the passing train from Otira. One man was seriously injured.

Affected LifelineA slip occurred on the Reefton railway line.

References

Benn, J.L. (2005). Landslide events on the West Coast, South Island, 1867-2002. New Zealand Geographer (2005) 61, 3-13.
Cowie, C.A; Attwood, A.K.(1957) FLOODS in NEW ZEALAND 1920 -53, The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand 239p.
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~sooty/brunnerlandslide1904.html
Hutchins, Graham. (2006). High Water: Floods in New Zealand.
New Zealand Disasters and Tragedies:
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Headline: Wanganui Floods.
Taranaki Herald, 31 May 1904.
Headline: Terrible Disaster, A house carried away bodily.
The Greymouth Evening Star, 25 May 1904.
Headline: Great Floods in Wanganui.
The Greymouth Evening Star, 26 May 1904.
Headline: Floods on the West Coast.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 25 May 1904.
Headline: Great Floods in the Wanganui District.
The Wanganui Chronicle, 26 May 1904.