Former tropical cyclone Dovi calls for careful planning for future extreme events

On the weekend of February 13, former tropical cyclone Dovi swept across New Zealand from west to east. Most of the damage was caused by extreme wind speeds in parts of the North Island. Gusts reached up to 130 km/h in Marlborough and 120 km/h in Taranaki, Wellington and Waikato. Nevertheless, rainfall totals during the storm’s most intense 24 hours reached 121mm at Wellington Airport, 99mm at Ngawi and 92mm at Kaikoura and Farewell Spit.

The extreme weather event had a significant social and economic impact. In some cases, this event forced people to leave their homes while damaged trees were felled, leaving a significant financial burden that insurance did not cover.

Tree failure can cause a range of unforeseen problems by damaging water, transport and electrical infrastructure. An ambiguous regulation tree can also create significant confusion when assessing liability. Examples of major infrastructure that have been disrupted include power line outages that left around 50,000 people without power and the cancellation of at least 100 Air New Zealand flights. In the City of Hamilton, the cost of cleaning up fallen trees and streetlights, with more than 700 calls and 1,500 service requests, was estimated at over $1 million.

The CLIMsystems team has just published a detailed blog on the impact of former tropical cyclone Dovi and the risks associated with possible future extreme weather events. Scientific and social information is assessed from various sources to elucidate the extent of the storm’s impact. The historical development of wind gusts is analyzed from the 1980s to 2021, which revealed an increasing signal of gusts over 70 km/h. Real-time satellite imagery and gusty wind speeds from former Tropical Cyclone Dovi were also assessed, displaying Dovi’s scatter as its tailwinds hit New Zealand. Finally, future extreme wind speed models are provided for the Waikato, Auckland and Wellington regions up to 2090 using the latest CMIP6 data. The results highlight the random nature of extreme winds and, therefore, the value of making more conservative adaptation decisions based on the worst-case scenario.

These extreme weather events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity with climate change. Implementing effective mitigation and adaptation strategies is key to reducing social, economic and environmental impact. These strategies should lead to tangible climate action that can mitigate the economic cost, physical destruction, and social disruption of these events.

CLIMsystems’ comprehensive blog highlights the importance of risk management, adopting mitigation measures such as planting appropriate native trees for carbon sequestration and adaptation measures such as using construction materials. resilient construction and the removal of potential hazards.

The blog is available at: https://www.climsystems.com/blog/post/ex-tropical-cyclone-dovi-crossed-new-zealand—-impacts-and-possible-future-cyclone-related-risks -4-4-2022

About CLIMsystems Ltd: CLIMsystems, established in 2003, has assembled an excellent team of climate change adaptation and risk assessment experts with a combined experience of over 200 years with projects in over 50 countries. Our expertise extends to climate model development, working group on climate-related financial disclosures, adaptation pathways and economic analysis of climate risk mitigation projects.

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