Moon man missed storms


Ken Ring gets a lot of publicity for his weather forecasts, most of it used to be positive.

But he went a step too far in declaring he could forecast earthquakes last year and now the media is quite rightly taking a more rigorous approach to his predictions:

Self-proclaimed weather guru Ken Ring is wildly astray in his January predictions for the South Island hydro lakes region, in his 2013 weather almanac.

His summary for January, based on lunar patterns, says “the driest regions for the South Island for January may be the hydro lakes”.

But Environment Canterbury flood controller Tony Henderson said the 500mm of rain in the Waitaki and Rangitata river catchments over four days was “probably the most we’ve had over the summer in several decades”.  . .

When I drove down the Waitaki Valley on Monday, the spillways of Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki dams were spilling spectacular amounts of water which only happens when there’s been a lot of rain filling the lakes further up the catchment.

Strong nor west winds at home yesterday almost always mean rain further west, at or above the hydro lakes.

We had the longest, loudest thunder claps I’ve ever heard last night and about 9 mls of rain.

Mount Cook had 160mm of rain yesterday, following 440mm over a couple of days last week – the first time since 1994 two storms had arrived so close together.

You can never tell whether predictions which aren’t based on proven scientific methods are right or just lucky. But you can say when they’re wrong.

The Moon Man got this month’s forecast for the hydro lakes wrong and it’s good to see that the media aren’t letting him get away with it.

Benmore spillway open again


Rain and melting snow have over-filled hydro lakes so Meridian Energy has opened the spillway on Benmore Dam.

Low lake levels get blamed for rises in power prices, can we expect high levels to lead to a price fall?

benmore 1

benmore top

benmore 3


I didn’t have a camera with me so took these photos on my phone. Better quality shots from when the spillway was opened in Janaury are here.

There were signs warning of surface flooding at the start of the Lindis Pass when we drove home from Wanaka yesterday and there were several places where the river had crossed the road. 

We passed a sign saying road closed ahead just east of Omarama. It was open when we got there but workers were looking at washouts around the bridge over the Otamatapaio with concern.

Further down the Waitaki Valley the river flats were flooded. We’re about 20 kms from there as the crow flies, had 100 mls of rain over the weekend and it’s pouring again now.

Opening the spillway


The lake levels are too high in the Waitaki hydro lakes so Meridian Energy has opened the spillway in Benmore dam:





More water from the Benmore dam fills Lake Aviemore so the spillway in the Aviemore dam is also open and that in turn puts more water into Lake Waitaki so the  the Waitaki dam is now overflowing:


The Waitaki River is now flowing at 950 cubic metres a second. We might want to remember that next time there’s a power crisis.

However, the high flow is welcome because the flood will clean up a lot of the didymo (also known as rock snot) which is thought to have been brought into New Zealand is fishing waders and now infects many of our rivers.

The high flow will also move a bank which has developed at the river mouth.

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