Thursday, 8 March 2018

Deluge in the middle North Island of NZ - AGAIN

A hundred miles or so away in Wellington, apart from some light rain, I have been blissfully unaware of this deluge

Deluge: 120 tourists trapped in Whanganui, evacs elsewhere
Flooding and slips have closed state highways and roads across the central North Island from Hawke's Bay to Whanganui, New Plymouth and Wairarapa, with some evacuations near Napier.

8 March, 2018

Hawke's Bay flooding Flooding in the Hawke's Bay at the Eskdale Holiday Park Photo: RNZ/ Anusha Bradley
More than 322mm of rain had fallen in the Hawke's Bay town of Glengarry.
And in Whanganui, 120 tourists are trapped at Blue Duck Station due to slips.

Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay flooding
Hawke's Bay Photo: RNZ/ Anusha Bradley
A Hawke's Bay Regional Council spokesperson said 218 properties, about 12km closer to the coast in the riverside settlement of Eskdale, were put on notice to prepare to evacuate this morning and some did.
He said the council was monitoring the situation but the river has already dropped by half a metre.
Hawke's Bay flooding
Flooding at the Eskdale Holiday Park Photo: RNZ/ Anusha Bradley
RNZ reporter Anusha Bradley was at Eskdale Holiday Park and said about 30 caravans had been evacuated from the area.
She said floodwaters had receded at about 1.30pm, and people were now returning to the campground, which was still covered in mud and silt.
She said the watermark at the peak of the flooding was about hip-high, and the toilet blocks had been flooded.
Hawke's Bay Emergency Management head Ian McDonald said two or three properties had flooded but there may be more the council did not yet know about.
He said the council was in the process of contacting residents in the area to see if they needed help.
He said the area north of Napier got 300mm of rain overnight, of which 150mm fell in two or three hours.
Mr McDonald says up to another 90mm was due to fall before 1am, but it was unlikely to cause further major problems.
Steve Wheeler's property alongside the Esk River was quickly flooded by the heavy rain.
"It was almost as if the thunderstorm had basically parked itself over the top of the Esk Valley and just let rip.
"So by 11am the water had come right up, much higher.
"So yeah, it covered the paddocks and it started to head up to one of the neighbours houses - it was right up to her back doorstep," he said.
Hawke's Bay flooding
Hawke's Bay flooding Photo: RNZ/ Anusha Bradley
The flood waters have hit vineyards in the Esk Valley, with several areas of grapes were flooded this morning to a depth of about 20cm.
Angela Ranson from Linden Estate winery said there could be a problem for this year's output.
"If we get too much more water the grapes will probably split and then there is the possibility of losing the crop," she said.
"The winemaker is not too bothered at the moment because some of the crops with high acid should be OK, but some of the crops might suffer.
"Some of the whites will probably be okay because they have got a bit more acid but the Syrah might not cope so well.
"However, all that remains to be seen."
Police have been turning cars away on the road to Eskdale.
Police have been turning cars away on the road to Eskdale. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley
Nearby in the rural town of Rissington, 18 houses were left without power after a tree fell onto power lines.
Students from Havelock North Intermediate were also evacuated from their school camp in Rissington because of heavy rain.
Principal Julia Beaumont said more than 60 students were affected.
"They were sleeping in tents, everything was good, until about midnight when the rain really picked up.
"So this morning, the teachers just decided with the worsening weather, it was time to come home", she said.
Flooding next to SH5.
Flooding next to SH5. Photo: Supplied / NZTA

Whanganui and Manawatū

About 120 tourists are trapped at Blue Duck Station in Whanganui due to slips.
A helicopter has delivered supplies and an emergency generator to the isolated lodges. The tourists will be stuck at the station overnight and they are currently without power and water.
A Horizons Regional Council spokesperson said heavy rain has caused significant damage.
At Pipiriki, 79km upriver from Whanganui, river levels have risen to more than 11m, 8m higher than normal.
Council spokesperson Ramon Strong said the Whanganui River was expected to peak at 7.9 metres about 5pm.
"We're monitoring it at the moment, and it's likely we'll install an inflatable barrier this morning if required. We're taking a precautionary approach but it's not going to be a major flood event."
Flooding on SH5
Flooding on SH5 Photo: Supplied / NZTA
The council said it expected high tide to bring further flooding and a significant amount of debris in the river.
Four roads in Pipiriki near Oyster Bluff, Horrocks Park and Kowhai Park were also closed by flooding.
The Manawatū and Rangitikei Rivers were also running high.
"The Manawatū River is expected to peak at 4.2m at Teachers' College this evening and may result in a road closure at Opiki, SH56 this evening. At this stage there is no further significant rainfall forecasted so we don't expect any other issues," the council said.

Wairarapa and road closures

In Wairarapa, Castlepoint was cut off due to slips on the Masterton-Castlepoint Road, and the Whangaehu Valley Road was blocked by fallen trees.
The SH5 Napier-Taupō Road, and SH2 Eskdale to Tutira reopened this afternoon after they were closed due to slips.
SH45 between New Plymouth and Ōmata was closed due to fallen trees, which brought down powerlines, but it was hoped to reopen it this afternoon.
SH43 between Whangamomona and Taumarunui also closed due to slips.
NZTA regional transport manager Ross I'Anson earlier said it could be some days before the Napier-Taupō Road reopened.

"Some of those slips are quite large and that road will be closed for some time.
"Obviously as we clear one slip, we have to move to the next so we don't know how many slips we have or how big they are."
Members of the public are advised to take care while driving and check the AA's website for information on road conditions.
Up-to-date information on river heights and rainfall is available via Horizons 24 hour toll-free Waterline 0508 4 FLOOD or
Updates will also be posted to the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence Facebook page.

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