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Impacts and emergency response to the 12 June 2006 South Island snowstorm : tabulated results of a survey of responding organisations in the Canterbury region

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    Wilson, T.M.; Johnston, D.M.; Paton, D.; Houghton, R. 2009 Impacts and emergency response to the 12 June 2006 South Island snowstorm : tabulated results of a survey of responding organisations in the Canterbury region. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2008/40 63 p.

    Abstract: The June 2006 Canterbury snowstorm caused widespread impacts to the Canterbury region, resulting in a major regional emergency response. The result of a large atmospheric depression moving across the South Island from the Tasman Sea, snowfall was experienced across much of the South Island on the evening of 11-12 June 2006. By the late morning of 12 June much of southern and central Canterbury was covered by a significant thickness of snow. Urban and rural communities across the region suffered widespread disruption of lifeline services, in some cases for extended periods. The greatest impacts were experienced in Ashburton, Mackenzie, Timaru and Waimate districts. There was particularly widespread and severe damage to electrical distribution networks due to the heavy weight of the dense, wet snowfall. Telecommunication services failed as batteries in exchanges were unable to sustain services once mains power was lost. Disruption of transportation networks by the snow for periods of a few hours to several days hindered the emergency response. The rural sector in particular was heavily impacted by loss of electrical power services and telecommunications for an extended period of time (up to 3 weeks in some areas). Livestock losses were minimal on most farms, although the loss of condition resulted in a considerable reduction in many farms’ productivity. Widespread damage occurred to fences, trees and some buildings. To investigate the impacts of the June 2006 snowstorm and assess how responding agencies managed the event, a survey was sent to 92 individuals or organisations involved in the emergency response to the snowstorm approximately 12 months after the event. The survey aimed to record damage experienced as a result of the June snowstorm event, impacts on urban and rural communities, the effectiveness of organisations’ response plans for the snowstorm event, warning and reaction to the snowstorm event, and what lessons can be learnt for dealing with future snowstorms. This report presents the results of the survey in table format, with limited interpretation and analysis in the final section. (auth)

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