New Zealand’s catastrophic flooding and cyclone damage; Recovering and building resilience

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Following heavy rain over the New Year, ex-cyclone Hale made landfall in early January bringing more rain and causing flooding in the northeast. On the 27th, in the Auckland region, in what was described as a 1-in-200-year event an entire summer’s worth of rain fell in a single day according to our national climate centre, NIWA. This caused the worst floods in Auckland’s modern history and numerous landslips. Further intense rain caused more flooding at the beginning of February. Two weeks later ex-tropical cyclone Gabrielle brought extreme rainfall and gale force winds to the northwest, causing further river flooding, wind damage and a storm surge, and resulting in a national state of emergency [1], [2]. With the ground already waterlogged the further rain caused hundreds of land slips, which closed many roads, and many bridges were destroyed by river flooding and debris. Gabrielle was one of the most intense storms to have passed near NZ since at least 1950 [2]. Critical infrastructure was severely damaged with one estimate of repair by the finance minister being NZ$13 billion [3]. The need to adapt infrastructure to be resilient for further climate change is being actively discussed [4], [5], which is being reflected upon during the rebuild.

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New Zealand’s catastrophic flooding and cyclone damage; Recovering and building resilience | ELECTRA (cigre.org)

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