Floods blight southern Wairarapa

Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014
car submerged wairarapa
Mark Round
SUBMERGED: A car is submerged on Kokotau Rd in Carterton.

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Wairarapa

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Wild weather made itself felt in the Wellington region at the weekend - followed quickly by warnings that it could return this week.

The winds lifted roofs, forced flight cancellations and flooded parts of southern Wairarapa, with wind speeds of up to 140kmh in the capital on Saturday night.

Gusts of up to 130kmh were reported on the top of the Rimutaka Hill Rd and winds of 100kmh buffeted Wellington Airport, disrupting air travel on Saturday evening.

A Virgin Airlines flight from Brisbane was cancelled as was an Air New Zealand flight from Queenstown and a Sounds Air Flight to Blenheim.

The fire service was called out to nail down insecure roofs on an Island Bay home and at the Eastbourne Library.

There was also plenty of rain, with about 300mm falling on the Wairarapa side of the Tararua Range. The deluge caused flooding, with the Ruamahanga River spilling its banks yesterday, closing Dalefield and Ponatahi roads, near Carterton, and Pahuatea Rd in South Wairarapa. At least one car was caught in the flooding.

Elsewhere in the country, a tornado ripped through Greymouth on the West Coast, peeling the roofs off several homes.

One person to feel the full force was Marcia Pere, who is uninsured and without a roof over her head. The Greymouth woman was yesterday still in shock after a tornado struck her Blaketown home about 4.30pm on Saturday, tearing the roof off.

Pere and her neighbours spent yesterday picking up roofing iron, pink batts and other items strewn around the streets.

MetService duty forecaster David Miller said Saturday's winds were strong but not exceptional for Wellington.

While many places received a respite from the battering yesterday, Miller said the southerly was expected to bring colder conditions again today.

Snow was expected to fall to 900m on the Desert Road today, with up to 10-15cm accumulating in higher places. Northerly gales are forecast to hit Wellington on Thursday.

However, the weather is expected to calm down as the country creeps out of winter. Niwa's seasonal climate outlook released last week indicated temperatures were likely to be average or above average in the lower North Island from now through till October. It also picks rainfall totals during the next three months to be normal.

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- The Dominion Post

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