Type of Event: Flood
When: 18 October 2004
A thunderstorm dumped several days worth of rain on Napier in just a few hours. Described as a rain bomb, this deluge was a 1/50 year event. Rain quickly filled drains and then covered roads, which are constructed below the level of properties to act as large drains.
However, the rain was so intense (up to 180mm of rain was recorded in a few hours in the epicentre of Tamatea/Greenmeadows) that water then spilled over into numerous properties. Eight homes were flooded as well as businesses in the Onekawa industrial area. Losses were estimated in the millions of dollars.
Summary of Events
- On Sunday, 17 October 2004, Metservice issued a heavy rain warning for Hawke's Bay. Heavy rain started to fall late that day.
- In the early hours of Monday, 18 October, Napier City Council Services staff, the Fire Service and Police responded, increasing their activities as the rain steadily intensified to a peak over a period of four hours.
- An electrical storm and hail accompanied this weather front and downpour.
- Napier City Council's Services Department Depot office was activated and began managing pumping and drainage operations.
- The Fire Service established an operations centre at Napier Fire Station, although the Wellington Communications Centre continued managing calls and deployment.
- Napier Police responded to the Napier Fire Station, coordinating the resources of both organisations.
- As water levels rose, ground-sited electrical transformers began failing. Electrical reticulation was disrupted and as many as 2000 homes lost power.
- Telephone services also experienced some disruption.
Situation During Peak Flooding
Council Services staff, the Fire Service and Police closed a number of roads to minimise the impact of vehicle bow wave action. Many roads and properties in Napier's southern suburbs were flooded including in Taradale, Tamatea, Pirimai, Greenmeadows and the more rural area of Meeanee.
Fortunately, because of the design of Napier's road profile, very few homes were affected by floodwater.
The Fire Service mobilised the Salvation Army to cater for emergency workers at the Napier Fire Station. The Salvation Army catered for over 60 staff and 10 displaced people.
The Salvation Army Centre in Greenmeadows was offered as a refuge for those who needed it, and some 12 residents from that area visited the centre.
Police and the Fire Service assisted a number of stranded motorists to get to higher ground.
All the agencies involved in the response coped well and additional assistance was not required, so the threshold for declaring a state of emergency was not met.
Access was limited to some schools, including Tamatea Intermediate. Student safety and the risk of power failure were also considered in not reopening a number of schools on 19 October.
- Napier City Council is aware of eight properties where floodwater entered the houses.
- More than 100 plus commercial and industrial premises may have also been affected.
Napier Civil Defence Response
- Hawke's Bay Regional Council advised Civil Defence that 111mm of rain had fallen in Taradale and 137 mm in Tamatea.
- The Napier Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was partially activated with a Local Controller, Civil Defence Manager, Napier City Council's Chief Executive and a Communications Volunteer.
- Local Volunteers were put on standby and asked to provide communications from around the city and report on the changing situation.
- The Napier Civil Defence Controller met regularly with Emergency Services and the Napier City Council's Services Department and Works Assets Department at the Napier Fire Station to keep up-to-date on the situation.
- By mid morning on 18 October most of the floodwaters had receded. Pumping stations continued working to discharge remaining floodwaters, completing the mop-up by nightfall.
- There were no formal evacuations. Residents who left their homes made their own arrangements for relocation.
- Restoration of power was complete by end of day on 18 October.