Flooded out but dry New Year forecast

Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
Coromandel weather
PETER DRURY/ Fairfax NZ

SOGGY SEAT: Taking the couch with you can be a risky venture, as a group of holidaymakers at the Cooks Beach Resort found out. 

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Heavy downpours caused flooding, slips and delays for thousands of holidaymakers in the Coromandel yesterday - and the wet weather is not over yet.

More rain is forecast for the Thames-Coromandel district today, according to MetService, but conditions are expected to clear up in time for New Year's Eve celebrations tomorrow.

"The ground is already saturated so if they get another heavy shower it will flood," duty forecaster Liz Walsh said. "There are some heavy showers in the mix."

However, she said today's rain was expected to be more isolated and sporadic than the trough that moved through the district yesterday.

The forecast for New Year's Eve in the Coromandel is fine with light winds and a high of 23 degrees Celsius.

Douglas Lawrence, a forklift operator of Putaruru, arrived in Pauanui with his partner, Jaylea Swetman, and their five children just before the deluge on Saturday night. He said the rain started at 10.30pm and didn't stop for about 12 hours.

"It was very consistent and then about midnight it really started to come down and it didn't let up." He awoke yesterday to find Pauanui Boulevard "totally blanketed", with torrents of water over half a metre high. It wasn't the ideal way to start the two-week summer holiday, but Mr Lawrence said it didn't put a stop to the fun.

"The kids made the most of it by flying through it on their bikes. It's sort of a damper to get things kicked off." But he said the sun had returned "nice and bright" yesterday afternoon.

The heavy rain affected much of the Thames-Coromandel district with reports of flooding in several holiday hot spots, including Tairua, Pauanui, Matarangi, Whitianga, Opoutere and Cooks Beach.

Flooding and dozens of slips caused traffic delays for thousands travelling to popular beaches, Sergeant Jim Corbett, the officer in charge of Thames-Coromandel road policing said.

A heavily used stretch of State Highway 25 between Tairua and Whitianga was reduced to one lane because of flooding.

The intersection of SH25 and Hot Water Beach Rd, Whenuakite, was closed to all traffic before high tide at 4.30pm yesterday. Police advised motorists to avoid the area and either take an alternative route or delay travel plans.

Cooks Beach Resort manager Dave Gallaher said reports that the campground was evacuated were incorrect. "The camp's still very open."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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