NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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SevereMay 1923 Upper South Island Flooding ( 1923-05-05 )

20-55 years

Heavy rain caused flooding in Tasman-Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Wellington. Three people drowned in Marlborough as a result of the flooding. Canterbury was heavily affected by the flooding with very high stock losses occuring, and roads and bridges damaged.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Comments:

CauseOn the 3rd there was evidence of development of a low to west of the country, and by the 5th the low was centred west of Waikato. At the same time pressures were rising to the south, leading to a strong easterly gradient over Canterbury and Marlborough. The low was very slow-moving and did not start to move away to northeast of North Island until the 9th.

DurationThe heavy rain and flooding lasted from the 5th to the 9th of May.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentThere was a one hundred year rainfall event at three percent of the New Zealand rain gauge sites.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineTelegraph communication between North and South Islands was heavily delayed.

Wellington

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wellington City
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

CommentA gale with heavy rain was experienced in Wellington and at sea the conditions were very bad on the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWellington recorded 2.5 in (6.35 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFlood waters were rapidly subsiding on the 8th.

DamageThere was generally little damage done.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineSome landslips obstructed roads.

Tasman-Nelson

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tasman-Nelson
Comments:

CommentThere was intermittent rain and then a torrential downpour on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was severe flooding throughout the province.

FloodingFlooding at Motueka
Map Location: -41.10406 173.020407
Comments:

Affected LifelineOne pile of the new Motueka Bridge subsided and traffic was suspended for a period.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Nelson
Map Location: -41.268476 173.297338
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNelson recorded 3.42 in (8.69 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentRivers around the town were in high flood.

Marlborough

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Marlborough
Comments:

CommentThere was heavy rain throughout the province on the 5th and this was associated with heavy rainfall in Canterbury.

CommentHeavy rain fell along the hills feeding the Waihopai, Omaka, Fairhall and Taylor River.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

DamageThe disasterous floods ("Old Man Flood") caused widespread damage.

Damage CostThe damage to roads and public works in the province cost £41,800 ($3,689,700 2009 dollars).

Affected LifelineThere was enormous damage to roads and bridges throughout the province.

Affected LifelineThere were washouts on the Picton to Wharanui rail lines.

Affected LifelineThe Ure railway and traffic bridge was swept away.

Affected LifelineThe Flaxborne bridge and Medway bridge were washed away,

ImpactThe most severely inundated included Tuamarina, Spring Creek, Rosetown, Fairhall, Springlands and Riverlands.

Stock DamageA good deal of cattle and sheep were lost.

FloodingFlooding at Awatere River
Map Location: -41.672521 173.995712
Comments:

Affected LifelineFlaxbourne and Medway Bridges over the Upper Awatere River were washed away.

Stock DamageThere were large losses of stock.

DamageWidespread damage to farms occurred.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Blenheim
Map Location: -41.517124 173.949021
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicBlenheim received an estimated 125-150mm (12.5-15.0 cm) of rain overnight (which has a return period of over 150 years) but the gauge overflowed.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentThe winds blew for three days from south-east with heavy rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Blenheim railway yards flooded to a level 25 in (0.64 m) above the rail level (which was 11 in (0.28 m) above the level of the flood of March 1904).

Physical CharacteristicThe river burst its banks and floodwaters inundated Blenheim including the business area of town to a depth of 4 ft (1.22 m). Many houses in the low-lying areas were invaded with water.

DamageThere was serious damage to property in town.

ImpactMost of the shops were inundated and shopkeepers suffered heavy losses.

Damage CostOne owner lost £1000 ($88,270 2009 dollars) of stock.

Physical CharacteristicAt the eastern end of town many houses were flooded to a depth of 6 ft (1.83 m).

Affected LifelineTelegraph lines were washed away and the telephone service was interrupted.

Stock DamageStock losses were heavy.

Affected LifelineAll roads were blocked and impassable and there was no communication in any direction.

CommentThe flood was the highest on record.

DamageA cart was swamped in Hucheson Street.

Damage CostA draper had an estimated loss at £1000 (88,270 2009 dollars).

CommentAll rivers and streams on the plain contributed to the disaster which resembled the famous 1868 flood.

CommentThe flood was the severest within the memory of the present generation.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 3 ft (0.91 m) of water in the Ferry and Junction Hotels.

Crop DamageA number of corn stocks were swept away.

Affected LifelineThere was no road communication with Picton.

DamageLarge glass windows were smashed in shops.

CasualtiesA man and a boy went missing on the 8th and were feared drowned. On the way from Lower Wairau to Blenheim, their dray, horses and vest were found in deep water. Ther was still no sign of them on the 10th and they were feared dead.

InjuriesAt Springlands four drays were overturned and one horse drowned. At Hutcheson a cart overturned and two men spent 12 hours in tree before they were rescued. There were no reported injuries.

Crop DamageThousands of bushels of peas, seeds and grain ruined by the water.

DamageOne case of 20 tons of sugar melted away.

Affected LifelineThe road from Blenheim to Kaikoura was impassable.

Property DamageThere were huge property losses.

CommentThe town is now protected by a detention dam.

CommentThis event and that of 1868 are the only two known occasions when the weather pattern changed from eastsoutheast to northnorthwest (or vice-versa) and brought major floods to both Wairau floodplain river systems.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Duntroon
Map Location: -41.81428 173.76497
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicDuntroon recorded 6.35 in (16.13 cm) of rain on the 6th (which has a return period of 65 years).

Physical CharacteristicDuntroon recorded 2.85 in (7.24 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicDuntroon recorded 234mm (23.4 cm) of rain in two days (which has a return period of over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Erina
Map Location: -41.5465 173.59344
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicErina recorded 4.05 in (10.29 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicErina recorded 3.81 in (9.68 cm) of rain on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Grovetown
Map Location: -41.48226 173.97247
Comments:

CasualtiesA man drowned near Grovetown.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hapuka
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHapuka recorded 13.57 in (34.47 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHapuka recorded 10.31 in (26.19 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hartley Hills
Map Location: -41.63122 173.35117
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHartley Hills recorded 2.10 in (5.33 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Marshlands
Map Location: -41.44773 174.00906
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMarshlands recorded 3.46 in (8.79 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicMarshlands recorded 2.35 in (5.97 cm) of rain on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Pelorus district
Map Location: -41.296759 173.563139
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll bridges in the district were gone.

FloodingFlooding at Picton
Map Location: -41.295063 174.011495
Comments:

Affected LifelineNumerous washouts occurred along the railway to Wharenui and caused a complete stoppage of railway traffic..

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Spring Creek
Map Location: -41.45981 173.96435
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSpring Creek recorded 4.00 in (10.16 cm) of rain on the 6th (which has a return period of 10 years).

Physical CharacteristicSpring Creek recorded 2.50 in (6.35 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicSpring Creek recorded 165 mm (16.5 cm) of rain in two days (which has a return period of 50 years).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactWairau River broke its banks at Whitle's bend and inundated the whole of the Spring Creek district.

Affected LifelineRailway line at Spring Creek was severely damaged.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tophouse
Map Location: -41.76268 172.90389
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTophouse recorded 1.20 in (3.05 cm) of rain on the 6th.

FloodingFlooding at Tuamarina
Map Location: -41.432312 173.968736
Comments:

Affected LifelineTuamarina farmers were isolated.

FloodingFlooding at Wairau River
Map Location: -41.484059 173.79526
Comments:

CommentThere was flooding in the lower Wairau River.

Peak DischargeAt 5 pm on the 7th the Wairau River had a peak discharge of 165,000 cusecs (4672 cumecs) at Tuamarina.

Affected LifelineA large volume of water was escaping through the breaches above the railway bridge at Tuamarina.

CommentThe water level was within 2 ft (0.61 m) of the rail level at the bridge (which was 2 ft 2 in (0.66 m) higher than the flood of November 1906 and 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) higher than the flood of March 1904).

Canterbury

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Canterbury
Comments:

CommentA southwester of extraordinary violence sprang up and floods and torrential rain was severe in parts of Canterbury. It was the most disasterous flood since 1868.

CommentThere were phenomenal rainfalls recorded at Keinton Combe and at Emscote, Stag and Spey.

Physical CharacteristicEmscote, Stag and Spey recorded 934 mm (93.4 cm) of rain over four days (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicEmscote, Stag and Spey recorded 775 mm (77.5 cm) of rain in two days (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicEmscote, Stag and Spey recorded 424 mm (42.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9:00am on the 7th (which has a return period of over 150 years).

CommentThe rainfall in Canterbury was the heaviest for over 20 years and a record for the city of Christchurch.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFor a few days the face of North Canterbury was changed as creeks and rivers broke their bounds and floods covered the country.

DamageThere was colossal damage to public and private property.

Affected LifelineThree spans of the Waiau Bridge were washed away.

Affected LifelineConway and Hurunui Bridges were destroyed.

Affected LifelineMail services were interrupted.

Stock DamageA large number of stock drowned including sheep, pigs and fowls and there were big sheep losses on river flats.

ImpactNo part of the province escaped some loss through the floods.

CommentThe Ashburton, Selwyn and Hinds Rivers were in full flood, the Rakaia was very high and parts of Tinwald were flooded.

Affected LifelineFloods in Canterbury caused very serious interruptions in the railway services of the province. The line between Rangiora and Waiau was flooded in a number of places. There were washouts on the Cheviot line in several place and a considerable length of the line between Wilson's Siding and Kaiapoi was underwater. Washouts had occurred all along the Waiau branch of the rail line and the Springfield services were interrupted. No trains were running on the north road, north of Kaiapoi and the Eyreton, Oxford and Cheviot branches were all blocked. The Methven branch was flooded between Cairnbrae and Lyndhurst from 3 ft (0.91 m) of water over the rails.

Crop DamageIn the flooded areas, there are a large number of potato crops ruined.

ImpactThe whole district between the Ashley and the Waimakariri River was flooded to an alarming extent and the majority of owners of the submerged houses fled for refuge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Akaroa
Map Location: -43.806637 172.973757
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was excessive rainfall over the last five days with nearly 9 in (22.86 cm) being recorded in Akaroa.

ImpactThe heavy and long-continued downpour flooded all the creeks.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was much damage to the roads in this part of the Peninsula.

ImpactSlips and washouts were reported in almost every bay.

Affected LifelineBridges were down on the Valley Road. A temporary bridge was washed away at Le Bons on the main road near the factory.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Amberley
Map Location: -43.153786 172.731841
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAmberley recorded 19.5 in (49.53 cm) of rain from the 5th to the 8th.

Physical CharacteristicAmberley recorded over 400 mm (40.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKowai River overflowed and Amberley was badly flooded. Water was 2 ft (0.61 m) deep over the main road. The surrounding country was also underwater.

Physical CharacteristicThe Railway Hotel was invaded to depth 3.5 ft (1.07 m).

Physical CharacteristicA large number of business premises and private residences were flooded from a depth of 3 to 18 in (0.08-0.46 m).

Affected LifelineThe railway had washouts to the north and the south and there was extensive damage to the railway track and roads.

Stock DamageThere were great stock losses, some farmers lost all of their sheep and cattle.

ImpactDock stream was responsible for most of the damage. Water rushed into the township across the junction of the Douglas and Lawcock's Road to join the Kowai River.

EvacueesSeveral householders had to leave their dwellings.

ImpactPaddocks of several farmers were completely covered to a depth averaging from a few inches to several feet.

Damage CostSeveral thousand of pounds were required to restore the roadways to their pre-flood condition.

ImpactBusiness was completely disorganised.

Stock DamageGreat losses of stock were reported. Some lost all their sheep or all their cattle.

FloodingFlooding at Arthurs Pass
Map Location: -42.905834 171.549329
Comments:

CommentThe damage was severe at Arthurs Pass.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ashburton
Map Location: -43.902384 171.736416
Comments:

CommentExtensive flooding in Ashburton occurred.

Physical CharacteristicAshburton recorded 6.42 in (16.31 cm) of rain in four days to the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicAshburton recorded 4.58 in (11.63 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th (which is at least a 25 year record).

CommentAshburton experienced 30 hours of continuous rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe Ashburton River was in high flood and all along the road from Ashburton to Rakaia, long stretches of the road and big areas of paddocks were submerged.

Affected LifelineLongbeach, Waterton, Flemington, Eiffleton and other part in these localities were badly flooded and the road from Longbeach through Flemington and all through Wheatstone and Grabum Road was underwater.

ImpactThe Ashburton Forks district suffered badly.

Affected LifelineGreat sheets of water were all over the roads from Green Street to Spreadeagle.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ashley Gorge
Map Location: -43.22999 172.22308
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAshley Gorge recorded 6.14 in (15.6 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicAshley Gorge recorded 3.18 in (8.08 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicRainfall at Ashley Gorge for the 3rd to the 9th of May was 13.03 in (33.10 cm).

FloodingFlooding at Banks Peninsula
Map Location: -43.73644 173.024672
Comments:

CommentAll creeks were flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Belfast
Map Location: -43.447374 172.624292
Comments:

ImpactSome of the low-lying land near Belfast was underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Brookside
Map Location: -43.69561 172.29589
Comments:

ImpactSelwyn River broke over the bank above Brookside and flooded a portion of the country side. Brookside suffered severely.

EvacueesSeveral families were forced to vacate their houses.

FloodingFlooding at Cheviot
Map Location: -42.815812 173.265245
Comments:

Affected LifelineRoads were impassable.

Affected LifelineThe bridge at the mouth of Hurunui River was swept away.

ImpactThe river was in high flood and houses on the flat were invaded by water and all the low country was flooded.

Affected LifelineMain road between Waipara and Cheviot was closed to traffic because bridges were washed away.

Physical CharacteristicCheviot recorded 10.56 in (26.82 cm) of rain in two days to 8:00am on the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Christchurch
Map Location: -43.53112 172.636147
Comments:

CommentRain was still heavy in Christchurch on the 8th.

Physical CharacteristicChristchurch recorded 3.39 in (8.61 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9:30am on the 7th (which has a return period of 15 years).

Physical CharacteristicChristchurch recorded 4.49 in (11.40 cm) of rain from the 4th to the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicExtensive flooding occurred in Christchurch. Raven Street had water to a depth of 4 ft (1.22 m).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThere was 2 ft (0.61 m) of water in the Cathedral and Market (now Victoria) Squares and other low lying parts of the city were similarly swamped.

ImpactThe north-eastern part of the city was so badly flooded that people had to be rescued from their homes by boats.

Physical CharacteristicThe water lay nearly 3 ft (0.61 m) deep in the west end of Hereford and Cashel Street and along Cambridge Terrace.

ImpactSydenham suffered severely.

ImpactThe country districts were inundated.

ImpactThe drains had overflowed and filled the yards with stormwater and the Northcote road settlement.

ImpactThe drains at the Northcote Settlement proved inadequate to carry off stormwater and overflowed and left half a dozen houses in the middle of a pond of water.

ImpactA portion of north-east St Albans was badly flooded.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

ImpactThe high tide caused the flooding of the Avon and grazing land in Richmond Terrace was inundated.

ImpactHeavy seas experienced at New Brighton in the vicinity of the Pier caused considerable scouring away of sand.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

ImpactThe force of the wind and sea on the night of the 6th caused some of the boats to break away and drift up the channel.

FloodingFlooding at Clarence
Map Location: -42.156138 173.929325
Comments:

Affected LifelineIn Clarence, two spans of bridge and the northern approach were washed away.

ImpactClarence River diverted from the bridge to a new course 200 yards on the north side of the bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Clarkville
Map Location: -43.40509 172.630726
Comments:

ImpactEyre River overflowed at Clarkville flooding all surrounding area.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Coalgate
Map Location: -43.47975 171.96153
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicCoalgate recorded 11.00 in (27.94 cm) of rain up to 4:30pm on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicCoalgate recorded 25 points (0.88 cm) of rain in an hour.

FloodingFlooding at Coldstream
Map Location: -43.29882 172.6135
Comments:

Crop DamageThere were heavy crop losses. One farmer lost 2000 bushels of grain which were stacked in his shed.

ImpactThere was scarcely a house not surrounded by water.

Physical CharacteristicIn some instances there were houses submerged to a depth of 2 ft (0.61 m). Their occupants were removed to safety.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Culverden
Map Location: -42.776159 172.855413
Comments:

EvacueesPractically all of Culverden was underwater and several families were rescued from their homes by boats.

Affected LifelineIn parts of the district roads were impassable.

Affected LifelineSeveral telephone lines were down.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Cust
Map Location: -43.314016 172.384732
Comments:

CommentThe rainfall at Cust is regarded as the worst for 30 years.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Darfield
Map Location: -43.484623 172.113507
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicDarfield recorded 6.58 in (16.71 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Physical CharacteristicA rainfall of 12.13 in (30.81 cm) was recorded over four days.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe country about Darfield was heavily flooded.

ImpactHawkins River was in a state of flood and the Waireka was in a similar state. Both overflowed their banks.

Stock DamageThere were stock losses reported.

FloodingFlooding at Doyleston
Map Location: -43.74348 172.32265
Comments:

ImpactOn the Leeston side of Doyleston, the road and fields were a great sheet of water.

ImpactBoggy Creek was over its banks and a large expanse of water spread over the township at this part.

LandslideLandslide at Duvauchelle
Map Location: -43.74858 172.93405
Comments:

Affected LifelineAt Duvauchelle, a slip blocked the road to Barry's Bay and French Farm.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Ellesmere
Map Location: -43.66356 172.3564
Comments:

CommentIt was blowing a gale and rain was pouring down in driving sheets.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

DamageThe flood caused much damage.

CommentIt was the worst flood experienced in Ellesmere district for 45 years.

ImpactFarmlands were flooded and stock losses were serious.

ImpactThe store was carried some hundreds of yards.

Affected LifelineThe traffic bridge over Selwyn River was damaged and impassable.

Physical Characteristic4 ft (1.22 m) of water covered the Little River station, and all of Ellesmere was underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Eyre River
Map Location: -43.40959 172.51063
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Eyre River was running bank high annd overflowed its banks in several places, flooding parts of Clarkville, Ohapuku, Waverley and the low-lying parts of Sneyd street, Kaiapoi.

FloodingFlooding at Eyreton
Map Location: -43.413786 172.546094
Comments:

ImpactThe Eyre River broke its banks on the south side and flooded Eyreton.

FloodingFlooding at Flaxton
Map Location: -43.354224 172.627951
Comments:

Stock DamageA farmer lost 111 valuable stud sheep and 600 sacks of potatoes.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Geraldine
Map Location: -44.091052 171.227259
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicGeraldine recorded 4.62 in (11.73 cm) of rain up to 9:00am on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe rivers were in flood and the water lying in low level places was blocking traffic.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Gore Bay
Map Location: -42.85892 173.30886
Comments:

Stock DamageGore Bay was littered with dead sheep from the sea.

FloodingFlooding at Hanmer Springs
Map Location: -42.525185 172.834432
Comments:

Affected LifelineHanmer Springs was completely cut off and was still isolated from telegraphic communication on the 9th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Highfield
Map Location: -42.64009 173.06456
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHighfield recorded 9.55 in (24.26 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHighfield recorded 7.78 in (19.76 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Hinds
Map Location: -44.004239 171.573723
Comments:

ImpactA big volume of water was flowing down the main road from Hinds to Lynford. Between Hinds and Tinwald, large areas of land were submerged along with long lengths of the main road.

CommentHinds River was in high flood.

FloodingFlooding at Hinds River
Map Location: -43.928524 171.529735
Comments:

ImpactThe Hinds River broke its banks near the Maimau traffic bridge on the 7th. There was flooding of considerable areas of land.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hororata
Map Location: -43.53589 171.94819
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHororata recorded 4.65 in (11.81 cm) of rain on the night of the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHororata recorded 8.5 in (21.59 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactHororata River flooded and water come down through the township and inundated stores. All the farm lying along the lower course of the Hororata were underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Hurunui River
Map Location: -42.901096 173.135196
Comments:

Property DamageThere was severe damage to farms along the Hurunui River.

FloodingFlooding at Kaiapoi
Map Location: -43.383984 172.645664
Comments:

ImpactBoats were employed to take food to occupants of houses taking refuge in their upper floors.

Physical CharacteristicWater in some houses was 4 ft (1.22 m) deep.

Evacuees80 homes (approximately 320 people) in Kaiapoi were evacuated. Approximately half the population was rendered homeless.

DamageThere was severe damage to the Kaiapoi Woollen Company's mills which were flooded to a depth of 2ft (0.61 m). 2000 blankets were damaged and there was destruction to stocks of acids and ammonia and machinery.

ImpactThe water was up to the mantelpieces of homes in some cases.

CommentFloodwaters rose rapidly on the night of the 7th.

ImpactThe north branch of Waimakariri River was sandbagged at 10:30am on the 8th but water broke through, flooding most of the towns streets.

Physical CharacteristicRaven Street, parallel to Waimakariri River, was covered in water up to 4 ft (1.22 m) in places.

ImpactThe school was closed due to inaccessibility.

CommentFlood waters were receding on the 9th.

Physical CharacteristicRainfall at Kaiapoi for three days up to the 8th was 8 in (20.32 cm).

Affected LifelineWater overflowed the banks on both sides of the Cam Bridge flooding all the low-lying land between the river and Ranfurly Street.

Affected LifelineOn the south side of the town, Eyre River flooded Sneyd, Broom, Otaki, Hugh and Akaroa Street.

ImpactFrom Kaiapoi to Woodend, the paddocks on either side of the road were severely flooded and many farmhouses were completely surrounded by water.

DamageThere was a great deal of damage to crops and agricultural land and also to houses in the area.

Impact200 families were rendered homeless in Kaiapoi.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kaikoura
Map Location: -42.402255 173.685685
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKaikoura recorded 25.8 in (65.53 cm) of rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was severe flooding along the Kaikoura coast.

ImpactLyell Creek, fed from the overflowing Kowhai River, broke its banks to flood Kaikoura town. The residences near the banks of the Lyell Creek suffered heavily.

Physical CharacteristicParts of the town were under 3 ft (0.91 m) of water.

Affected LifelineThe approaches to Hapuka and Kowhai Bridges were washed away.

CommentIt was the heaviest flood in Kaikoura's history.

Affected LifelineMiddle Creek rose over the bridge making it impassable.

DamageShops and much stock was damaged.

DamageThe Long Creek sawmill was washed away and hundreds of cords of wood, with engine and sawbench were lost.

Affected LifelineKaikoura was isolated from both ends by washouts on the roads and washed away bridges.

Affected LifelineTelegraph comunication was totally interrupted north of Kaikoura and west of Darfield.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were landslides on the roads to Blenheim and Christchurch which blocked traffic.

FloodingFlooding at Kairaki Flat
Map Location: -43.384606 172.706132
Comments:

ImpactKairaki Flat was huge lake and was flooded by the swollen waters of Ashley and Little Ashley River.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

CommentHeavy seas caused the inland water to bank up.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Keinton Combe
Map Location: -42.6072 173.10901
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKeinton Combe recorded 366 mm (36.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 6th (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicKeinton Combe recorded 330 mm (33.0 cm) of rain in 12 hours on the 6th (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicKeinton Combe recorded 258 mm (25.8 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kirwee
Map Location: -43.499328 172.217164
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKirwee recorded 2.73 in (6.93 cm) of rain on the 6th and by 3:30pm on the 7th, 4.38 in (11.13 cm) had fallen.

Physical CharacteristicKirwee recorded 8.25 in (20.96 cm) of rain from the 4th to the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll the roads in the district were flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Coleridge
Map Location: -43.366134 171.532816
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Glenroy Bridge on the road to Lake Coleridge through Coalgate was washed away.

FloodingFlooding at Leithfield
Map Location: -43.195184 172.727966
Comments:

ImpactKowhai River broke its banks and was rushing through the township. The water was rushing down the North Road in Leithfield, resulting in the flooding of several houses.

Stock DamageHeavy losses of stock were reported and one farmer in the district lost 400 sheep.

FloodingFlooding at Lincoln
Map Location: -43.639928 172.490496
Comments:

Affected LifelineRailway traffic beyond Lincoln was suspended.

FloodingFlooding at Lyndhurst
Map Location: -43.69425 171.71904
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe railway line from the vicinity of Cairnbrae on towards Lyndhurst suffered severely.

FloodingFlooding at Lyndon
Map Location: -42.62795 173.01457
Comments:

Affected LifelineCommunication with Lyndon was entirely cut off because the telephone poles across the Mason River were carried away.

Affected LifelineUpper Dog Creek bridge and the private bridge to Lyndon Homestead were washed away.

Stock DamageOne farmer suffered a loss of 80 sheep.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Methven
Map Location: -43.637403 171.629133
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMethven recorded 5.5 in (13.97 cm) of rain over two days to 9:00am on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Crop DamageThere were extensive damage to wheat.

Crop DamageLongbeach and Methven reported that the potato and onion crops were under water.

DamageExtensive damage was reported from the adjoining districts.

CommentIt was the worst storm to visit the district for a great number of years.

Affected LifelineThe road from Methven to Ashburton was impassable.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mount Palm
Map Location: -42.67876 173.11584
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMount Palm received 17 in (43.18 cm) of rain from the 5th to the 8th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe flat was a sea of water and many fences were completely destroyed.

FloodingFlooding at Otarama
Map Location: -43.27963 171.93228
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPeak discharge of Waimakariri River at Otarama was 28,000 cusecs (793 cumecs).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Oxford
Map Location: -43.296138 172.188342
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOxford received 8.49 in (21.56 cm) of rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentAll the creeks were full and the oldest resident claimed to have never seen the Eyre so full.

Affected LifelineThe approaches to Coppers Creeks and the bridge were washed away.

CommentThe rains were the heaviest known for 30 years.

ImpactMuch of the land was underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Pareora River
Map Location: -44.45133 171.12485
Comments:

ImpactThe low-lying country in the region of the Pareora River was covered with sheets of water.

ImpactStock and agricultural land suffered considerably.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Rakaia
Map Location: -43.759851 172.030625
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRakaia recorded 7.50 in (19.05 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Physical CharacteristicIn 24 hours on the 8th, Rakaia recorded 2.13 in (5.41 cm), making a total of 9.33 in (23.70 cm) of rain since the commencement of the storm.

Physical CharacteristicRakaia recorded 4.80 in (12.19 cm) of rain in 17 hours on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Crop DamagePotato farmers sustained heavy losses.

ImpactSchools were closed throughout the district.

FloodingFlooding at Rangiora
Map Location: -43.310007 172.570781
Comments:

Affected LifelineNo trains were running beyond Rangiora.

CommentAshley River was impassable.

Peak DischargeAshley River peaked at 45,000 cusecs (1274 cumecs) at Rangiora.

CommentIt was the worst flood for 20 years. The surrounding country was a sheet of water.

ImpactThe south-west side of Rangiora suffered considerably.

ImpactHouses were surrounded by flood waters. Water was rushing down John Street like a river. Southbrook was a sea of water.

Affected LifelineThere was no gas available in Rangiora on the night of the 9th owing to the Municipal gasworks being flooded.

CommentFlood waters were receding from Rangiora township on the 8th.

ImpactA wide area of country was covered with water. Stormwater was overflowing the banks and all the low-lying lands were underwater.

Affected LifelineThere was a great volume of water rushing through Ashley, Blackett and Cone Street.

ImpactFrom Southbrook to the Cam River practically the whole of the low-lying land on either side of the railway area was a sea of water extending over miles of country.

Affected LifelineThe railway line which runs through the district was considerably undermined as the shingle was washed away. At Bennett's Junction the railway and road were underwater for about a mile and a half (2.4 km).

ImpactEyre river broke through in six places on the north side at West Eyreton, Swannanoa and just above Burgess's ford with the result that all the country between this and the girder bridge was underwater. The main drain was overflowing on both sides above the stopbanks and flooding the whole of Flaxton down to Kaiapoi and on the other side through Ohoka down the the girder bridge.

Affected LifelineThere was a washout on the railway at Wilsons siding and Ohoka.

Stock DamageA lot of stock was lost.

Crop DamageMuch grain and grass was destroyed.

FloodingFlooding at Saltwater Creek
Map Location: -43.264896 172.70856
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was over 3 ft (0.91 m) of water in one house.

Stock DamageOne resident lost 100 cattle and another lost about 300 sheep.

EvacueesFamilies in a dangerous position on the banks of the creek were rescued in carts.

Stock DamageA grazier between Saltwater Creek and the Ashley River had 100 head of cattle washed out to sea and a Waikuku settler lost 50 pigs.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

ImpactThe heavy seas had thrown up a high bank of shingle, which banked up floodwaters, allowing them no escape.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Sheffield
Map Location: -43.388462 172.02233
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe total rainfall at Sheffeild for four days was 8.5 in (21.59 cm).

FloodingFlooding at Sefton
Map Location: -43.24541 172.660632
Comments:

EvacueesAt least one family (four people) had to leave their home.

Physical Characteristic3 ft (0.91 m) of water was in one store.

Affected LifelineSefton was partically isolated and a considerable portion of the railway line was damaged through washouts.

Stock DamageSefton farmers suffered considerably through the loss of stock. One resident lost a number of valuable stud sheep and up to 150 sheep were lost from other farms.

FloodingFlooding at Selwyn River
Map Location: -43.6641 172.294396
Comments:

ImpactThe whole of Springston and Ellesmere districts was flooded after the Selwyn River broke its banks.

CommentSelywyn River was running high and was two miles (3.22 km) wide at the Selwyn crossing.

ImpactMany farmlands around Selwyn River were flooded. Several families were removed to Dunsandel.

CommentResidents state that it was the worst flood seen in the Selwyn River in 40 years.

Affected LifelineTelegraph wires over the Selwyn came down and communication was cut. An iron telegraph pole fell across the Selwyn railway bridge and blocked the line.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at South Malvern
Map Location: -43.469746 171.902368
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSouth Malvern recorded 4.68 in (11.89 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicFor a total for the five days, South Malvern recorded 13.29 in (33.76 cm) of rain.

Affected LifelineA pile was torn away from the Glentunnel Bridge causing it to sag and making it unsafe for heavy traffic.

Stock DamageThere was considerable loss of stock in the low lying land.

FloodingFlooding at Springfield
Map Location: -43.334894 171.921445
Comments:

Affected LifelineBetween Springfield and Arthurs Pass there were interruptions to the Midland Railway line and there was no communication from Arthurs Pass.

Affected LifelineNear Otarama, six miles beyond Springfield, a large washout occurred on the railway line on the night of the 6th. 132 ft of railway line and sleepers hung suspended over a 60 ft chasm. The whole face of cliff had fallen in due to the continous rain and there were occasional further slides. One tunnel was also blocked and there wasw another big washout between two tunnels. The course of the river in that part of gorge was significantly altered by the falling earth. The railway line had to be deviated as it was impossible to replace the foundations. A huge amount of work was needed to restore the railway line.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Taitapu
Map Location: -43.666244 172.541731
Comments:

CommentHeavy rains fell in the Taitapu district.

FloodingFlooding at Temuka
Map Location: -44.235036 171.283734
Comments:

CommentThe Opihi and Temuka Rivers overflowed their banks in several places.

Affected LifelineAt Temuka, the water was rushing across the road at the traffic bridge and all the low-lying lands from Fraser and Vine streets to the river were underwater.

Physical CharacteristicIn some places the water is up to the top of the wire fences. On the main road between Fraser Street and the river there is over 2 ft (0.61 m) of water.

EvacueesResidents had to leave their homes.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Timaru
Map Location: -44.398445 171.2552
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTimaru recorded 2.36 in (5.99 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineBetween Fairlie and Timaru there were some bad washouts.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waiau
Map Location: -42.6518 173.046278
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiau township recorded 19.78 in (50.24 cm) of rain from the morning of the 4th to 9:00am on the 9th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentWaiau and Mason rivers were seething torrents and the Mason overflowed at a point above the Waiau township.

ImpactA stream of considerable dimensions was rushing through meadow lands and along a road between the river and the township. On the other side of the township, at the foot of the terrace, there was a rushing torrent which spread out and completely inundated the tennis court and the flat land in the vicinity. The residents of the flats below the township who had been surrounded by water were removed to the township.

Affected LifelineA number of telephone wires were out of commission.

Affected LifelineOn the railway line between Waiau and Rotherham there were four washouts each two chains (40 m) long.

DamageOn the Tongue, there was considerable damage done including washed out crops and destroyed fences.

Stock DamageOne farmer lost 90 sheep.

FloodingFlooding at Waiau district
Map Location: -42.65338 172.97371
Comments:

DamageThere was severe damage in the Waiau district.

CommentFloods had subsided considerably on the morning of the 9th.

Property DamageRiver flats and grazing lands were stripped of vegetation and left barren.

DamageAt Lyndon No. 2 Settlement, the old, dried up watercourses were scoured out, fences were destroyed and willow trees 2 ft (0.61 m) in diameter were torn out by the roots.

FloodingFlooding at Waikuku
Map Location: -43.29544 172.68438
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaikuku wool works were flooded to a depth of 8 ft (2.44 m) along with the flat land towards the sea.

ImpactPeople at Waikuku holiday resort were isolated until rescued by boat.

ImpactThe face of the landscape was greatly altered by flood waters pouring out to the sea.

DamageOne store was carried for 100 yards on to the beach, one bach had similar fate and two bathing shelters were washed out to sea.

FloodingFlooding at Waimakariri River
Map Location: -43.459744 172.289962
Comments:

CommentWaimakariri River was in high flood.

FloodingFlooding at Waverley
Map Location: -43.52793 171.73427
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Eyre branch line at Waverley was broken through by the floods and traffic was stopped.

FloodingFlooding at Woodend
Map Location: -43.32104 172.66576
Comments:

ImpactWhole farms were still inundated on the 9th.

Stock DamageThere were heavy stock losses.

References

Cowie, C.A.: Attwood, A.K. (1957) Floods in New Zealand 1920-53, The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand, p.239.
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955, Soil Conservation and River Control Council
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Headline: Floods in the North: Country a Series of Lakes.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Damage to Railways.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Highest on Record.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Holidaymakers' Experience.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Kaiapoi Badly Affected.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Midland Railway Damaged.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Position at Ashburton.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Railway Surfacemen's Task, Selwyn River Falling.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Residents' Anxious Time.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Restricted Telegraphic Service.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Telegraph and Mail Services.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: The Wellington Storm.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: A Phenomenal Rainfall.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Destruction of Grain Produce.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Drowning Fatality Feared.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Four Feet of Water in Raven Street.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Position at Kaiapoi.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Some Heavy Losses.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: A terrible night.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 08 May 1923.
Headline: At Cheviot, 10 1/2 inches of rain.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 08 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Position a Blenheim.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 08 May 1923.
Headline: Eighty house vacated, serious damage at wollen mills.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
Headline: In Canterbury, Sheet of Water Round Rangiora.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Serious position at Kaiapoi.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Blenheim's Terrible Experience.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923. Disaster at Arthurs Pass.
Headline: The Flood, In Canterbury.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Over 25 Inches of Rain.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Selwyn River Breaks Banks.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Two Fatalities Feared At Blenheim.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Record Rainfall, Floods throughout Province, Widespread Damage.
The Press, 08 May 1923.
Headline: The Floods.
The Press, 08 May 1923.
Headline: Widespread damage, Serious Effects of Floods, Railway service still interrupted.
The Press, 09 May 1923.
Headline: The Floods.
The Press, 10 May 1923.

SevereMay 1923 Upper South Island Flooding ( 1923-05-05 )

20-55 years

Heavy rain caused flooding in Tasman-Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Wellington. Three people drowned in Marlborough as a result of the flooding. Canterbury was heavily affected by the flooding with very high stock losses occuring, and roads and bridges damaged.

New Zealand

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at New Zealand
Comments:

CauseOn the 3rd there was evidence of development of a low to west of the country, and by the 5th the low was centred west of Waikato. At the same time pressures were rising to the south, leading to a strong easterly gradient over Canterbury and Marlborough. The low was very slow-moving and did not start to move away to northeast of North Island until the 9th.

DurationThe heavy rain and flooding lasted from the 5th to the 9th of May.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentThere was a one hundred year rainfall event at three percent of the New Zealand rain gauge sites.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineTelegraph communication between North and South Islands was heavily delayed.

Wellington

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wellington City
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

CommentA gale with heavy rain was experienced in Wellington and at sea the conditions were very bad on the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWellington recorded 2.5 in (6.35 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFlood waters were rapidly subsiding on the 8th.

DamageThere was generally little damage done.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineSome landslips obstructed roads.

Tasman-Nelson

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tasman-Nelson
Comments:

CommentThere was intermittent rain and then a torrential downpour on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was severe flooding throughout the province.

FloodingFlooding at Motueka
Map Location: -41.10406 173.020407
Comments:

Affected LifelineOne pile of the new Motueka Bridge subsided and traffic was suspended for a period.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Nelson
Map Location: -41.268476 173.297338
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNelson recorded 3.42 in (8.69 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentRivers around the town were in high flood.

Marlborough

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Marlborough
Comments:

CommentThere was heavy rain throughout the province on the 5th and this was associated with heavy rainfall in Canterbury.

CommentHeavy rain fell along the hills feeding the Waihopai, Omaka, Fairhall and Taylor River.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

DamageThe disasterous floods ("Old Man Flood") caused widespread damage.

Damage CostThe damage to roads and public works in the province cost £41,800 ($3,689,700 2009 dollars).

Affected LifelineThere was enormous damage to roads and bridges throughout the province.

Affected LifelineThere were washouts on the Picton to Wharanui rail lines.

Affected LifelineThe Ure railway and traffic bridge was swept away.

Affected LifelineThe Flaxborne bridge and Medway bridge were washed away,

ImpactThe most severely inundated included Tuamarina, Spring Creek, Rosetown, Fairhall, Springlands and Riverlands.

Stock DamageA good deal of cattle and sheep were lost.

FloodingFlooding at Awatere River
Map Location: -41.672521 173.995712
Comments:

Affected LifelineFlaxbourne and Medway Bridges over the Upper Awatere River were washed away.

Stock DamageThere were large losses of stock.

DamageWidespread damage to farms occurred.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Blenheim
Map Location: -41.517124 173.949021
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicBlenheim received an estimated 125-150mm (12.5-15.0 cm) of rain overnight (which has a return period of over 150 years) but the gauge overflowed.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentThe winds blew for three days from south-east with heavy rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Blenheim railway yards flooded to a level 25 in (0.64 m) above the rail level (which was 11 in (0.28 m) above the level of the flood of March 1904).

Physical CharacteristicThe river burst its banks and floodwaters inundated Blenheim including the business area of town to a depth of 4 ft (1.22 m). Many houses in the low-lying areas were invaded with water.

DamageThere was serious damage to property in town.

ImpactMost of the shops were inundated and shopkeepers suffered heavy losses.

Damage CostOne owner lost £1000 ($88,270 2009 dollars) of stock.

Physical CharacteristicAt the eastern end of town many houses were flooded to a depth of 6 ft (1.83 m).

Affected LifelineTelegraph lines were washed away and the telephone service was interrupted.

Stock DamageStock losses were heavy.

Affected LifelineAll roads were blocked and impassable and there was no communication in any direction.

CommentThe flood was the highest on record.

DamageA cart was swamped in Hucheson Street.

Damage CostA draper had an estimated loss at £1000 (88,270 2009 dollars).

CommentAll rivers and streams on the plain contributed to the disaster which resembled the famous 1868 flood.

CommentThe flood was the severest within the memory of the present generation.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 3 ft (0.91 m) of water in the Ferry and Junction Hotels.

Crop DamageA number of corn stocks were swept away.

Affected LifelineThere was no road communication with Picton.

DamageLarge glass windows were smashed in shops.

CasualtiesA man and a boy went missing on the 8th and were feared drowned. On the way from Lower Wairau to Blenheim, their dray, horses and vest were found in deep water. Ther was still no sign of them on the 10th and they were feared dead.

InjuriesAt Springlands four drays were overturned and one horse drowned. At Hutcheson a cart overturned and two men spent 12 hours in tree before they were rescued. There were no reported injuries.

Crop DamageThousands of bushels of peas, seeds and grain ruined by the water.

DamageOne case of 20 tons of sugar melted away.

Affected LifelineThe road from Blenheim to Kaikoura was impassable.

Property DamageThere were huge property losses.

CommentThe town is now protected by a detention dam.

CommentThis event and that of 1868 are the only two known occasions when the weather pattern changed from eastsoutheast to northnorthwest (or vice-versa) and brought major floods to both Wairau floodplain river systems.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Duntroon
Map Location: -41.81428 173.76497
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicDuntroon recorded 6.35 in (16.13 cm) of rain on the 6th (which has a return period of 65 years).

Physical CharacteristicDuntroon recorded 2.85 in (7.24 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicDuntroon recorded 234mm (23.4 cm) of rain in two days (which has a return period of over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Erina
Map Location: -41.5465 173.59344
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicErina recorded 4.05 in (10.29 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicErina recorded 3.81 in (9.68 cm) of rain on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Grovetown
Map Location: -41.48226 173.97247
Comments:

CasualtiesA man drowned near Grovetown.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hapuka
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHapuka recorded 13.57 in (34.47 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHapuka recorded 10.31 in (26.19 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hartley Hills
Map Location: -41.63122 173.35117
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHartley Hills recorded 2.10 in (5.33 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Marshlands
Map Location: -41.44773 174.00906
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMarshlands recorded 3.46 in (8.79 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicMarshlands recorded 2.35 in (5.97 cm) of rain on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Pelorus district
Map Location: -41.296759 173.563139
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll bridges in the district were gone.

FloodingFlooding at Picton
Map Location: -41.295063 174.011495
Comments:

Affected LifelineNumerous washouts occurred along the railway to Wharenui and caused a complete stoppage of railway traffic..

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Spring Creek
Map Location: -41.45981 173.96435
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSpring Creek recorded 4.00 in (10.16 cm) of rain on the 6th (which has a return period of 10 years).

Physical CharacteristicSpring Creek recorded 2.50 in (6.35 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicSpring Creek recorded 165 mm (16.5 cm) of rain in two days (which has a return period of 50 years).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactWairau River broke its banks at Whitle's bend and inundated the whole of the Spring Creek district.

Affected LifelineRailway line at Spring Creek was severely damaged.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tophouse
Map Location: -41.76268 172.90389
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTophouse recorded 1.20 in (3.05 cm) of rain on the 6th.

FloodingFlooding at Tuamarina
Map Location: -41.432312 173.968736
Comments:

Affected LifelineTuamarina farmers were isolated.

FloodingFlooding at Wairau River
Map Location: -41.484059 173.79526
Comments:

CommentThere was flooding in the lower Wairau River.

Peak DischargeAt 5 pm on the 7th the Wairau River had a peak discharge of 165,000 cusecs (4672 cumecs) at Tuamarina.

Affected LifelineA large volume of water was escaping through the breaches above the railway bridge at Tuamarina.

CommentThe water level was within 2 ft (0.61 m) of the rail level at the bridge (which was 2 ft 2 in (0.66 m) higher than the flood of November 1906 and 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) higher than the flood of March 1904).

Canterbury

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Canterbury
Comments:

CommentA southwester of extraordinary violence sprang up and floods and torrential rain was severe in parts of Canterbury. It was the most disasterous flood since 1868.

CommentThere were phenomenal rainfalls recorded at Keinton Combe and at Emscote, Stag and Spey.

Physical CharacteristicEmscote, Stag and Spey recorded 934 mm (93.4 cm) of rain over four days (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicEmscote, Stag and Spey recorded 775 mm (77.5 cm) of rain in two days (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicEmscote, Stag and Spey recorded 424 mm (42.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9:00am on the 7th (which has a return period of over 150 years).

CommentThe rainfall in Canterbury was the heaviest for over 20 years and a record for the city of Christchurch.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFor a few days the face of North Canterbury was changed as creeks and rivers broke their bounds and floods covered the country.

DamageThere was colossal damage to public and private property.

Affected LifelineThree spans of the Waiau Bridge were washed away.

Affected LifelineConway and Hurunui Bridges were destroyed.

Affected LifelineMail services were interrupted.

Stock DamageA large number of stock drowned including sheep, pigs and fowls and there were big sheep losses on river flats.

ImpactNo part of the province escaped some loss through the floods.

CommentThe Ashburton, Selwyn and Hinds Rivers were in full flood, the Rakaia was very high and parts of Tinwald were flooded.

Affected LifelineFloods in Canterbury caused very serious interruptions in the railway services of the province. The line between Rangiora and Waiau was flooded in a number of places. There were washouts on the Cheviot line in several place and a considerable length of the line between Wilson's Siding and Kaiapoi was underwater. Washouts had occurred all along the Waiau branch of the rail line and the Springfield services were interrupted. No trains were running on the north road, north of Kaiapoi and the Eyreton, Oxford and Cheviot branches were all blocked. The Methven branch was flooded between Cairnbrae and Lyndhurst from 3 ft (0.91 m) of water over the rails.

Crop DamageIn the flooded areas, there are a large number of potato crops ruined.

ImpactThe whole district between the Ashley and the Waimakariri River was flooded to an alarming extent and the majority of owners of the submerged houses fled for refuge.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Akaroa
Map Location: -43.806637 172.973757
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was excessive rainfall over the last five days with nearly 9 in (22.86 cm) being recorded in Akaroa.

ImpactThe heavy and long-continued downpour flooded all the creeks.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was much damage to the roads in this part of the Peninsula.

ImpactSlips and washouts were reported in almost every bay.

Affected LifelineBridges were down on the Valley Road. A temporary bridge was washed away at Le Bons on the main road near the factory.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Amberley
Map Location: -43.153786 172.731841
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAmberley recorded 19.5 in (49.53 cm) of rain from the 5th to the 8th.

Physical CharacteristicAmberley recorded over 400 mm (40.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKowai River overflowed and Amberley was badly flooded. Water was 2 ft (0.61 m) deep over the main road. The surrounding country was also underwater.

Physical CharacteristicThe Railway Hotel was invaded to depth 3.5 ft (1.07 m).

Physical CharacteristicA large number of business premises and private residences were flooded from a depth of 3 to 18 in (0.08-0.46 m).

Affected LifelineThe railway had washouts to the north and the south and there was extensive damage to the railway track and roads.

Stock DamageThere were great stock losses, some farmers lost all of their sheep and cattle.

ImpactDock stream was responsible for most of the damage. Water rushed into the township across the junction of the Douglas and Lawcock's Road to join the Kowai River.

EvacueesSeveral householders had to leave their dwellings.

ImpactPaddocks of several farmers were completely covered to a depth averaging from a few inches to several feet.

Damage CostSeveral thousand of pounds were required to restore the roadways to their pre-flood condition.

ImpactBusiness was completely disorganised.

Stock DamageGreat losses of stock were reported. Some lost all their sheep or all their cattle.

FloodingFlooding at Arthurs Pass
Map Location: -42.905834 171.549329
Comments:

CommentThe damage was severe at Arthurs Pass.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ashburton
Map Location: -43.902384 171.736416
Comments:

CommentExtensive flooding in Ashburton occurred.

Physical CharacteristicAshburton recorded 6.42 in (16.31 cm) of rain in four days to the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicAshburton recorded 4.58 in (11.63 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th (which is at least a 25 year record).

CommentAshburton experienced 30 hours of continuous rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe Ashburton River was in high flood and all along the road from Ashburton to Rakaia, long stretches of the road and big areas of paddocks were submerged.

Affected LifelineLongbeach, Waterton, Flemington, Eiffleton and other part in these localities were badly flooded and the road from Longbeach through Flemington and all through Wheatstone and Grabum Road was underwater.

ImpactThe Ashburton Forks district suffered badly.

Affected LifelineGreat sheets of water were all over the roads from Green Street to Spreadeagle.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ashley Gorge
Map Location: -43.22999 172.22308
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicAshley Gorge recorded 6.14 in (15.6 cm) of rain on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicAshley Gorge recorded 3.18 in (8.08 cm) of rain on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicRainfall at Ashley Gorge for the 3rd to the 9th of May was 13.03 in (33.10 cm).

FloodingFlooding at Banks Peninsula
Map Location: -43.73644 173.024672
Comments:

CommentAll creeks were flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Belfast
Map Location: -43.447374 172.624292
Comments:

ImpactSome of the low-lying land near Belfast was underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Brookside
Map Location: -43.69561 172.29589
Comments:

ImpactSelwyn River broke over the bank above Brookside and flooded a portion of the country side. Brookside suffered severely.

EvacueesSeveral families were forced to vacate their houses.

FloodingFlooding at Cheviot
Map Location: -42.815812 173.265245
Comments:

Affected LifelineRoads were impassable.

Affected LifelineThe bridge at the mouth of Hurunui River was swept away.

ImpactThe river was in high flood and houses on the flat were invaded by water and all the low country was flooded.

Affected LifelineMain road between Waipara and Cheviot was closed to traffic because bridges were washed away.

Physical CharacteristicCheviot recorded 10.56 in (26.82 cm) of rain in two days to 8:00am on the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Christchurch
Map Location: -43.53112 172.636147
Comments:

CommentRain was still heavy in Christchurch on the 8th.

Physical CharacteristicChristchurch recorded 3.39 in (8.61 cm) of rain in 24 hours 9:30am on the 7th (which has a return period of 15 years).

Physical CharacteristicChristchurch recorded 4.49 in (11.40 cm) of rain from the 4th to the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicExtensive flooding occurred in Christchurch. Raven Street had water to a depth of 4 ft (1.22 m).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThere was 2 ft (0.61 m) of water in the Cathedral and Market (now Victoria) Squares and other low lying parts of the city were similarly swamped.

ImpactThe north-eastern part of the city was so badly flooded that people had to be rescued from their homes by boats.

Physical CharacteristicThe water lay nearly 3 ft (0.61 m) deep in the west end of Hereford and Cashel Street and along Cambridge Terrace.

ImpactSydenham suffered severely.

ImpactThe country districts were inundated.

ImpactThe drains had overflowed and filled the yards with stormwater and the Northcote road settlement.

ImpactThe drains at the Northcote Settlement proved inadequate to carry off stormwater and overflowed and left half a dozen houses in the middle of a pond of water.

ImpactA portion of north-east St Albans was badly flooded.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

ImpactThe high tide caused the flooding of the Avon and grazing land in Richmond Terrace was inundated.

ImpactHeavy seas experienced at New Brighton in the vicinity of the Pier caused considerable scouring away of sand.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

ImpactThe force of the wind and sea on the night of the 6th caused some of the boats to break away and drift up the channel.

FloodingFlooding at Clarence
Map Location: -42.156138 173.929325
Comments:

Affected LifelineIn Clarence, two spans of bridge and the northern approach were washed away.

ImpactClarence River diverted from the bridge to a new course 200 yards on the north side of the bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Clarkville
Map Location: -43.40509 172.630726
Comments:

ImpactEyre River overflowed at Clarkville flooding all surrounding area.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Coalgate
Map Location: -43.47975 171.96153
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicCoalgate recorded 11.00 in (27.94 cm) of rain up to 4:30pm on the 7th.

Physical CharacteristicCoalgate recorded 25 points (0.88 cm) of rain in an hour.

FloodingFlooding at Coldstream
Map Location: -43.29882 172.6135
Comments:

Crop DamageThere were heavy crop losses. One farmer lost 2000 bushels of grain which were stacked in his shed.

ImpactThere was scarcely a house not surrounded by water.

Physical CharacteristicIn some instances there were houses submerged to a depth of 2 ft (0.61 m). Their occupants were removed to safety.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Culverden
Map Location: -42.776159 172.855413
Comments:

EvacueesPractically all of Culverden was underwater and several families were rescued from their homes by boats.

Affected LifelineIn parts of the district roads were impassable.

Affected LifelineSeveral telephone lines were down.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Cust
Map Location: -43.314016 172.384732
Comments:

CommentThe rainfall at Cust is regarded as the worst for 30 years.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Darfield
Map Location: -43.484623 172.113507
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicDarfield recorded 6.58 in (16.71 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Physical CharacteristicA rainfall of 12.13 in (30.81 cm) was recorded over four days.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe country about Darfield was heavily flooded.

ImpactHawkins River was in a state of flood and the Waireka was in a similar state. Both overflowed their banks.

Stock DamageThere were stock losses reported.

FloodingFlooding at Doyleston
Map Location: -43.74348 172.32265
Comments:

ImpactOn the Leeston side of Doyleston, the road and fields were a great sheet of water.

ImpactBoggy Creek was over its banks and a large expanse of water spread over the township at this part.

LandslideLandslide at Duvauchelle
Map Location: -43.74858 172.93405
Comments:

Affected LifelineAt Duvauchelle, a slip blocked the road to Barry's Bay and French Farm.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Ellesmere
Map Location: -43.66356 172.3564
Comments:

CommentIt was blowing a gale and rain was pouring down in driving sheets.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

DamageThe flood caused much damage.

CommentIt was the worst flood experienced in Ellesmere district for 45 years.

ImpactFarmlands were flooded and stock losses were serious.

ImpactThe store was carried some hundreds of yards.

Affected LifelineThe traffic bridge over Selwyn River was damaged and impassable.

Physical Characteristic4 ft (1.22 m) of water covered the Little River station, and all of Ellesmere was underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Eyre River
Map Location: -43.40959 172.51063
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Eyre River was running bank high annd overflowed its banks in several places, flooding parts of Clarkville, Ohapuku, Waverley and the low-lying parts of Sneyd street, Kaiapoi.

FloodingFlooding at Eyreton
Map Location: -43.413786 172.546094
Comments:

ImpactThe Eyre River broke its banks on the south side and flooded Eyreton.

FloodingFlooding at Flaxton
Map Location: -43.354224 172.627951
Comments:

Stock DamageA farmer lost 111 valuable stud sheep and 600 sacks of potatoes.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Geraldine
Map Location: -44.091052 171.227259
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicGeraldine recorded 4.62 in (11.73 cm) of rain up to 9:00am on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe rivers were in flood and the water lying in low level places was blocking traffic.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Gore Bay
Map Location: -42.85892 173.30886
Comments:

Stock DamageGore Bay was littered with dead sheep from the sea.

FloodingFlooding at Hanmer Springs
Map Location: -42.525185 172.834432
Comments:

Affected LifelineHanmer Springs was completely cut off and was still isolated from telegraphic communication on the 9th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Highfield
Map Location: -42.64009 173.06456
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHighfield recorded 9.55 in (24.26 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHighfield recorded 7.78 in (19.76 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Hinds
Map Location: -44.004239 171.573723
Comments:

ImpactA big volume of water was flowing down the main road from Hinds to Lynford. Between Hinds and Tinwald, large areas of land were submerged along with long lengths of the main road.

CommentHinds River was in high flood.

FloodingFlooding at Hinds River
Map Location: -43.928524 171.529735
Comments:

ImpactThe Hinds River broke its banks near the Maimau traffic bridge on the 7th. There was flooding of considerable areas of land.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hororata
Map Location: -43.53589 171.94819
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHororata recorded 4.65 in (11.81 cm) of rain on the night of the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHororata recorded 8.5 in (21.59 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactHororata River flooded and water come down through the township and inundated stores. All the farm lying along the lower course of the Hororata were underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Hurunui River
Map Location: -42.901096 173.135196
Comments:

Property DamageThere was severe damage to farms along the Hurunui River.

FloodingFlooding at Kaiapoi
Map Location: -43.383984 172.645664
Comments:

ImpactBoats were employed to take food to occupants of houses taking refuge in their upper floors.

Physical CharacteristicWater in some houses was 4 ft (1.22 m) deep.

Evacuees80 homes (approximately 320 people) in Kaiapoi were evacuated. Approximately half the population was rendered homeless.

DamageThere was severe damage to the Kaiapoi Woollen Company's mills which were flooded to a depth of 2ft (0.61 m). 2000 blankets were damaged and there was destruction to stocks of acids and ammonia and machinery.

ImpactThe water was up to the mantelpieces of homes in some cases.

CommentFloodwaters rose rapidly on the night of the 7th.

ImpactThe north branch of Waimakariri River was sandbagged at 10:30am on the 8th but water broke through, flooding most of the towns streets.

Physical CharacteristicRaven Street, parallel to Waimakariri River, was covered in water up to 4 ft (1.22 m) in places.

ImpactThe school was closed due to inaccessibility.

CommentFlood waters were receding on the 9th.

Physical CharacteristicRainfall at Kaiapoi for three days up to the 8th was 8 in (20.32 cm).

Affected LifelineWater overflowed the banks on both sides of the Cam Bridge flooding all the low-lying land between the river and Ranfurly Street.

Affected LifelineOn the south side of the town, Eyre River flooded Sneyd, Broom, Otaki, Hugh and Akaroa Street.

ImpactFrom Kaiapoi to Woodend, the paddocks on either side of the road were severely flooded and many farmhouses were completely surrounded by water.

DamageThere was a great deal of damage to crops and agricultural land and also to houses in the area.

Impact200 families were rendered homeless in Kaiapoi.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kaikoura
Map Location: -42.402255 173.685685
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKaikoura recorded 25.8 in (65.53 cm) of rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThere was severe flooding along the Kaikoura coast.

ImpactLyell Creek, fed from the overflowing Kowhai River, broke its banks to flood Kaikoura town. The residences near the banks of the Lyell Creek suffered heavily.

Physical CharacteristicParts of the town were under 3 ft (0.91 m) of water.

Affected LifelineThe approaches to Hapuka and Kowhai Bridges were washed away.

CommentIt was the heaviest flood in Kaikoura's history.

Affected LifelineMiddle Creek rose over the bridge making it impassable.

DamageShops and much stock was damaged.

DamageThe Long Creek sawmill was washed away and hundreds of cords of wood, with engine and sawbench were lost.

Affected LifelineKaikoura was isolated from both ends by washouts on the roads and washed away bridges.

Affected LifelineTelegraph comunication was totally interrupted north of Kaikoura and west of Darfield.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were landslides on the roads to Blenheim and Christchurch which blocked traffic.

FloodingFlooding at Kairaki Flat
Map Location: -43.384606 172.706132
Comments:

ImpactKairaki Flat was huge lake and was flooded by the swollen waters of Ashley and Little Ashley River.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

CommentHeavy seas caused the inland water to bank up.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Keinton Combe
Map Location: -42.6072 173.10901
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKeinton Combe recorded 366 mm (36.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 6th (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicKeinton Combe recorded 330 mm (33.0 cm) of rain in 12 hours on the 6th (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Physical CharacteristicKeinton Combe recorded 258 mm (25.8 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th (which has a return period of well over 150 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Kirwee
Map Location: -43.499328 172.217164
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKirwee recorded 2.73 in (6.93 cm) of rain on the 6th and by 3:30pm on the 7th, 4.38 in (11.13 cm) had fallen.

Physical CharacteristicKirwee recorded 8.25 in (20.96 cm) of rain from the 4th to the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll the roads in the district were flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Coleridge
Map Location: -43.366134 171.532816
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Glenroy Bridge on the road to Lake Coleridge through Coalgate was washed away.

FloodingFlooding at Leithfield
Map Location: -43.195184 172.727966
Comments:

ImpactKowhai River broke its banks and was rushing through the township. The water was rushing down the North Road in Leithfield, resulting in the flooding of several houses.

Stock DamageHeavy losses of stock were reported and one farmer in the district lost 400 sheep.

FloodingFlooding at Lincoln
Map Location: -43.639928 172.490496
Comments:

Affected LifelineRailway traffic beyond Lincoln was suspended.

FloodingFlooding at Lyndhurst
Map Location: -43.69425 171.71904
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe railway line from the vicinity of Cairnbrae on towards Lyndhurst suffered severely.

FloodingFlooding at Lyndon
Map Location: -42.62795 173.01457
Comments:

Affected LifelineCommunication with Lyndon was entirely cut off because the telephone poles across the Mason River were carried away.

Affected LifelineUpper Dog Creek bridge and the private bridge to Lyndon Homestead were washed away.

Stock DamageOne farmer suffered a loss of 80 sheep.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Methven
Map Location: -43.637403 171.629133
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMethven recorded 5.5 in (13.97 cm) of rain over two days to 9:00am on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Crop DamageThere were extensive damage to wheat.

Crop DamageLongbeach and Methven reported that the potato and onion crops were under water.

DamageExtensive damage was reported from the adjoining districts.

CommentIt was the worst storm to visit the district for a great number of years.

Affected LifelineThe road from Methven to Ashburton was impassable.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mount Palm
Map Location: -42.67876 173.11584
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMount Palm received 17 in (43.18 cm) of rain from the 5th to the 8th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe flat was a sea of water and many fences were completely destroyed.

FloodingFlooding at Otarama
Map Location: -43.27963 171.93228
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPeak discharge of Waimakariri River at Otarama was 28,000 cusecs (793 cumecs).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Oxford
Map Location: -43.296138 172.188342
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOxford received 8.49 in (21.56 cm) of rain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentAll the creeks were full and the oldest resident claimed to have never seen the Eyre so full.

Affected LifelineThe approaches to Coppers Creeks and the bridge were washed away.

CommentThe rains were the heaviest known for 30 years.

ImpactMuch of the land was underwater.

FloodingFlooding at Pareora River
Map Location: -44.45133 171.12485
Comments:

ImpactThe low-lying country in the region of the Pareora River was covered with sheets of water.

ImpactStock and agricultural land suffered considerably.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Rakaia
Map Location: -43.759851 172.030625
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRakaia recorded 7.50 in (19.05 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

Physical CharacteristicIn 24 hours on the 8th, Rakaia recorded 2.13 in (5.41 cm), making a total of 9.33 in (23.70 cm) of rain since the commencement of the storm.

Physical CharacteristicRakaia recorded 4.80 in (12.19 cm) of rain in 17 hours on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Crop DamagePotato farmers sustained heavy losses.

ImpactSchools were closed throughout the district.

FloodingFlooding at Rangiora
Map Location: -43.310007 172.570781
Comments:

Affected LifelineNo trains were running beyond Rangiora.

CommentAshley River was impassable.

Peak DischargeAshley River peaked at 45,000 cusecs (1274 cumecs) at Rangiora.

CommentIt was the worst flood for 20 years. The surrounding country was a sheet of water.

ImpactThe south-west side of Rangiora suffered considerably.

ImpactHouses were surrounded by flood waters. Water was rushing down John Street like a river. Southbrook was a sea of water.

Affected LifelineThere was no gas available in Rangiora on the night of the 9th owing to the Municipal gasworks being flooded.

CommentFlood waters were receding from Rangiora township on the 8th.

ImpactA wide area of country was covered with water. Stormwater was overflowing the banks and all the low-lying lands were underwater.

Affected LifelineThere was a great volume of water rushing through Ashley, Blackett and Cone Street.

ImpactFrom Southbrook to the Cam River practically the whole of the low-lying land on either side of the railway area was a sea of water extending over miles of country.

Affected LifelineThe railway line which runs through the district was considerably undermined as the shingle was washed away. At Bennett's Junction the railway and road were underwater for about a mile and a half (2.4 km).

ImpactEyre river broke through in six places on the north side at West Eyreton, Swannanoa and just above Burgess's ford with the result that all the country between this and the girder bridge was underwater. The main drain was overflowing on both sides above the stopbanks and flooding the whole of Flaxton down to Kaiapoi and on the other side through Ohoka down the the girder bridge.

Affected LifelineThere was a washout on the railway at Wilsons siding and Ohoka.

Stock DamageA lot of stock was lost.

Crop DamageMuch grain and grass was destroyed.

FloodingFlooding at Saltwater Creek
Map Location: -43.264896 172.70856
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was over 3 ft (0.91 m) of water in one house.

Stock DamageOne resident lost 100 cattle and another lost about 300 sheep.

EvacueesFamilies in a dangerous position on the banks of the creek were rescued in carts.

Stock DamageA grazier between Saltwater Creek and the Ashley River had 100 head of cattle washed out to sea and a Waikuku settler lost 50 pigs.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

ImpactThe heavy seas had thrown up a high bank of shingle, which banked up floodwaters, allowing them no escape.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Sheffield
Map Location: -43.388462 172.02233
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe total rainfall at Sheffeild for four days was 8.5 in (21.59 cm).

FloodingFlooding at Sefton
Map Location: -43.24541 172.660632
Comments:

EvacueesAt least one family (four people) had to leave their home.

Physical Characteristic3 ft (0.91 m) of water was in one store.

Affected LifelineSefton was partically isolated and a considerable portion of the railway line was damaged through washouts.

Stock DamageSefton farmers suffered considerably through the loss of stock. One resident lost a number of valuable stud sheep and up to 150 sheep were lost from other farms.

FloodingFlooding at Selwyn River
Map Location: -43.6641 172.294396
Comments:

ImpactThe whole of Springston and Ellesmere districts was flooded after the Selwyn River broke its banks.

CommentSelywyn River was running high and was two miles (3.22 km) wide at the Selwyn crossing.

ImpactMany farmlands around Selwyn River were flooded. Several families were removed to Dunsandel.

CommentResidents state that it was the worst flood seen in the Selwyn River in 40 years.

Affected LifelineTelegraph wires over the Selwyn came down and communication was cut. An iron telegraph pole fell across the Selwyn railway bridge and blocked the line.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at South Malvern
Map Location: -43.469746 171.902368
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicSouth Malvern recorded 4.68 in (11.89 cm) of rain in 24 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicFor a total for the five days, South Malvern recorded 13.29 in (33.76 cm) of rain.

Affected LifelineA pile was torn away from the Glentunnel Bridge causing it to sag and making it unsafe for heavy traffic.

Stock DamageThere was considerable loss of stock in the low lying land.

FloodingFlooding at Springfield
Map Location: -43.334894 171.921445
Comments:

Affected LifelineBetween Springfield and Arthurs Pass there were interruptions to the Midland Railway line and there was no communication from Arthurs Pass.

Affected LifelineNear Otarama, six miles beyond Springfield, a large washout occurred on the railway line on the night of the 6th. 132 ft of railway line and sleepers hung suspended over a 60 ft chasm. The whole face of cliff had fallen in due to the continous rain and there were occasional further slides. One tunnel was also blocked and there wasw another big washout between two tunnels. The course of the river in that part of gorge was significantly altered by the falling earth. The railway line had to be deviated as it was impossible to replace the foundations. A huge amount of work was needed to restore the railway line.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Taitapu
Map Location: -43.666244 172.541731
Comments:

CommentHeavy rains fell in the Taitapu district.

FloodingFlooding at Temuka
Map Location: -44.235036 171.283734
Comments:

CommentThe Opihi and Temuka Rivers overflowed their banks in several places.

Affected LifelineAt Temuka, the water was rushing across the road at the traffic bridge and all the low-lying lands from Fraser and Vine streets to the river were underwater.

Physical CharacteristicIn some places the water is up to the top of the wire fences. On the main road between Fraser Street and the river there is over 2 ft (0.61 m) of water.

EvacueesResidents had to leave their homes.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Timaru
Map Location: -44.398445 171.2552
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTimaru recorded 2.36 in (5.99 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineBetween Fairlie and Timaru there were some bad washouts.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waiau
Map Location: -42.6518 173.046278
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiau township recorded 19.78 in (50.24 cm) of rain from the morning of the 4th to 9:00am on the 9th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentWaiau and Mason rivers were seething torrents and the Mason overflowed at a point above the Waiau township.

ImpactA stream of considerable dimensions was rushing through meadow lands and along a road between the river and the township. On the other side of the township, at the foot of the terrace, there was a rushing torrent which spread out and completely inundated the tennis court and the flat land in the vicinity. The residents of the flats below the township who had been surrounded by water were removed to the township.

Affected LifelineA number of telephone wires were out of commission.

Affected LifelineOn the railway line between Waiau and Rotherham there were four washouts each two chains (40 m) long.

DamageOn the Tongue, there was considerable damage done including washed out crops and destroyed fences.

Stock DamageOne farmer lost 90 sheep.

FloodingFlooding at Waiau district
Map Location: -42.65338 172.97371
Comments:

DamageThere was severe damage in the Waiau district.

CommentFloods had subsided considerably on the morning of the 9th.

Property DamageRiver flats and grazing lands were stripped of vegetation and left barren.

DamageAt Lyndon No. 2 Settlement, the old, dried up watercourses were scoured out, fences were destroyed and willow trees 2 ft (0.61 m) in diameter were torn out by the roots.

FloodingFlooding at Waikuku
Map Location: -43.29544 172.68438
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaikuku wool works were flooded to a depth of 8 ft (2.44 m) along with the flat land towards the sea.

ImpactPeople at Waikuku holiday resort were isolated until rescued by boat.

ImpactThe face of the landscape was greatly altered by flood waters pouring out to the sea.

DamageOne store was carried for 100 yards on to the beach, one bach had similar fate and two bathing shelters were washed out to sea.

FloodingFlooding at Waimakariri River
Map Location: -43.459744 172.289962
Comments:

CommentWaimakariri River was in high flood.

FloodingFlooding at Waverley
Map Location: -43.52793 171.73427
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Eyre branch line at Waverley was broken through by the floods and traffic was stopped.

FloodingFlooding at Woodend
Map Location: -43.32104 172.66576
Comments:

ImpactWhole farms were still inundated on the 9th.

Stock DamageThere were heavy stock losses.

References

Cowie, C.A.: Attwood, A.K. (1957) Floods in New Zealand 1920-53, The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand, p.239.
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955, Soil Conservation and River Control Council
NZ Met Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Headline: Floods in the North: Country a Series of Lakes.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Damage to Railways.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Highest on Record.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Holidaymakers' Experience.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Kaiapoi Badly Affected.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Midland Railway Damaged.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Position at Ashburton.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Railway Surfacemen's Task, Selwyn River Falling.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Residents' Anxious Time.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Restricted Telegraphic Service.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Telegraph and Mail Services.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: The Wellington Storm.
Otago Daily Times, 09 May 1923.
Headline: A Phenomenal Rainfall.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Destruction of Grain Produce.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Drowning Fatality Feared.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Four Feet of Water in Raven Street.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Position at Kaiapoi.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Floods in the North: Some Heavy Losses.
Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1923.
Headline: A terrible night.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 08 May 1923.
Headline: At Cheviot, 10 1/2 inches of rain.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 08 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Position a Blenheim.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 08 May 1923.
Headline: Eighty house vacated, serious damage at wollen mills.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
Headline: In Canterbury, Sheet of Water Round Rangiora.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
Headline: Serious position at Kaiapoi.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Blenheim's Terrible Experience.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 09 May 1923.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923. Disaster at Arthurs Pass.
Headline: The Flood, In Canterbury.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Over 25 Inches of Rain.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Selwyn River Breaks Banks.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: The Flood, Two Fatalities Feared At Blenheim.
The Nelson Evening Mail, 10 May 1923.
Headline: Record Rainfall, Floods throughout Province, Widespread Damage.
The Press, 08 May 1923.
Headline: The Floods.
The Press, 08 May 1923.
Headline: Widespread damage, Serious Effects of Floods, Railway service still interrupted.
The Press, 09 May 1923.
Headline: The Floods.
The Press, 10 May 1923.