14 February 2023
Landslides in North Island of New Zealand from Cyclone Gabrielle
As forecast, Cyclone Gabrielle has struck New Zealand, bringing very high rainfall totals to North Island. This comes on top of the recent heavy rainfall events in the area, which have already triggered many landslides. The Prime Minister has declared a National State of Emergency for only the third time, but the true picture remains a little unclear as areas are cut off with limited communications.
The northern part of New Zealand is having an extraordinary start to the year – remember, this is summer there. Met Service tweeted this graph of cumulative rainfall for Auckland Airport, including data for the years since 2019 and the long term average:
To help put 2023 in context for Aucklanders, here is the Airport rain accumulation plot (red line is 2023, showing a total of 540mm).
— MetService (@MetService) February 14, 2023
News of landslides is starting to appear – we can expect that there will have been many, many slips once again. There is information about a tragic landslide in Muriwai in Auckland, which has left one firefighter critically injured and another missing. As I write the search is ongoing, but the situation seems to be grim. It appears that there have been at least two landslides in Muriwai – this image shows the aftermath of another event:-
Meanwhile, another significant landslide has occurred in Karekare. There are reports that five houses have been destroyed, whilst Newsroom has this image of the aftermath:-
In the rural areas, it is likely that there will have been some damaging landslides. NZ Herald has tweeted this image of a large failure on the Awhitu Peninsula:-
A huge slip has emerged on the Awhitu Peninsula! pic.twitter.com/iK9DuSQu1b
— nzherald (@nzherald) February 14, 2023
It is interesting that the crown of the landslide is at the road. Stuff also has a report of a landslide that partially buried a truck on the Matatā straights in the Bay of Plenty:-
Stuff has a gallery of images of the aftermath of the storm, many of which show landslides.
Cyclone Gabrielle is now moving away from New Zealand, so the situation should start to improve overnight, but the damage is clearly very extensive.