Christchurch deluge a 'one-in-100-year' storm

11:52, Mar 05 2014
Jade Spring
UNREAL: Jade Spring, 11, outside her family home in Harrison St, St Albans.
Bethany Oskam on Fifield terraceg
KEEPING DRY: Bethany Oskam on Fifield Terrace.
Paisley Street, Sumner
NOT QUITE THE SEA: Paisley Street, Sumner
Abberley Cres, St Albans
STUCK: Residents in Abberley Cres, St Albans, will have difficulty getting to work today.
Stanmore Rd flooded driveway
WHERE'S THE DRIVEWAY: Stanmore Rd
Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
RUSH HOUR: Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
CENTRAL CHRISTCHURCH: Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
Lyttelton street turns into a river
DOWNHILL: This steep Lyttelton street is under water.
Heathcote River
HEATHCOTE: The river banks have disappeared as this picture shows - taken from Palatine Tce looking across Fisher Ave.
Flooded foundations
WATER TRAP: Building foundations on the corner of Madras and Southwark streets in the central city fill up during the torrential rain.
Bowenvale Ave Centaurus Rd
CLOSED: Roads are closed at the corner of Bowenvale Ave Centaurus Rd.
Intersection of Durham and Hereford St
CITY CENTRE FLOODS: Intersection of Durham and Hereford St.
Exeter St flooding
DOWN THE PLUGHOLE: Floodwater whirls around a drain on Exeter St, Lyttelton.
Richardson Terrace trampoline
AFLOAT: Trampoline in Richardson Terrace after the Heathcote River burst its banks.
Avon River under Fitzgerald
RISING: The Avon River, flush with its banks, creeps up under the Fitzgerald Bridge.
Avon River, Fitzgerald Ave
BROKEN BANKS: The Avon east of Fitzgerald Ave floods over the street.
Aynsley terrace flooding
ADVANCING: Water creeps up to a road block on Aynsley Tce, near Centaurus Rd.
Francis Ave house floods
INDOOR POOL: This Francis Ave home has been inundated.
Francis Ave
UNDERWATER: This Francis Ave driveway is impassable.
Little River flooding
TIDAL: Floodwater washes a rubbish bin down the street in Little River.
Francis Ave abandoned cars
FOOLHARDY: Motorists who drove through a road-closed sign were forced to abandon their cars.
Eastern Tce dinghy
DESPERATE MEASURES: A resident in Eastern Tce, Beckenham, fancies his luck with the oars.
MacKenzie Ave flooding
COVERED IN WATER: Mackenzie Ave, Opawa, is turned into an outdoor swimming pool.
Eel on Rossall Street
OUT OF HIS DEPTH: Phil Dewar snapped this picture of an eel crossing Rossall St at the intersection with Heaton Rd.
Beckenham School flooding
SCHOOL'S OUT: The grounds around Beckenham School turn into a bog due to the heavy rain.
Aldwins road firefighters
ON CALL: Firefighters, facing a busy day in Christchurch today, help out in Aldwins Rd, Woolston.
Waltham Rd bridge and Fifield Tce - taken at 10am
AFLOAT: A van under water near Waltham Rd bridge and Fifield Tce at 10am.
Sheldon St Woolston
HELPLESS: Water is pouring into homes in Sheldon St, Woolston.
Mike Barber in flooded house
CONTENTS UNINSURED: Mike Barber surveys the damage in his Sheldon St home.
Kayak in Linwood flood
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL: A kayaker trucks down the gutter in Linwood.
Heathcote river flooding
WAIST DEEP: Amanda Savage sent in this picture of deep flooding at the corner of Riverlaw Tce and Esher Pl.
Wildberry St flooding
FINDING FUN IN THE FLOOD: Levi and Caleb White keep checking on the water levels in Wildberry St, Woolston.
Opawa Church flooding
NAVIGATING FLOOD: A keen kayaker paddles towards the church on the corner of Aynsley Tce and Opawa Rd.
Flooding in garden
NO SPRINKLERS NEEDED: "Sorry Christchurch, I over-watered the garden," wrote Rajeev Bhana when he sent in this snap of a flooded garden.
Riverlaw Tce flooding, snorkeller
SCUBA SEASON: Josh Smith needs diving equipment to locate the road in Riverlaw Tce, St Martins.
Cathedral Square pool emerges
CATHEDRAL SQUARE: A new pool has replaced a building site.
Lugging beer through floods
IMPORTANT STUFF: A Riverlaw Terrace resident transports "vital" supplies on a body board through Heathcote River flood waters.
Aldwins Road motorcyle in flood
BIT OF SPRAY: This motorcyclist gets a covering on Aldwins Rd, Woolston.
Top of Heathcote Valley flooding
VALLEY FLOODING: Heathcote Valley resident Loius Dudson sent in this picture of his garden stream in flood.
Matlock St flooding
BROTHERLY LOVE: Mario Williams of Matlock St, Woolston, takes his sisters Mia and Natalia for a ride down the road during a break in the storm.
Fitzgerald ave flooding car submerged
FITZGERALD AVE: A car is partially submerged in flood waters on Fitzgerald Ave.
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Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Cameron Cook, left, and Construction Contracting CCL staff sandbagging in Aynsley Terrace.
05-CHP-Flooding4
Heavy rain and strong winds in Christchurch. Jack Doyle (11) crossing Warrington St.
05-CHP-Flooding12
A horse is fed emergency food stocks on Farmland flooded looking from Tunnel Road, in Heathcote.
05-chp-flooding-987
A months rain in 24 hours is how its been described. The city was grid locked in places for hours as commuters tried to get to work. Several St Alban's residents were evacuated and spent the night in a CD Welfare Centre The Avon River burst its banks. A woman carries her shopping through the flood waters.
5-chp-flood-168
Another miserable day in Opawa by the Heathcote River.
05-chp-Walkabout12
Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Construction Contracting CCL staff sandbagging in Aynsley Terrace.
05-CHP-Flooding5
Heavy rain and strong winds in Christchurch. Tony Doyle carries Andy Kimber across Warrington St after helping out neighbours on Flockton St.
05-chp-flooding-939
A months rain in 24 hours is how its been described. The city was grid locked in places for hours as commuters tried to get to work. Several St Alban's residents were evacuated and spent the night in a CD Welfare Centre The Avon River burst its banks. Alison Naylor of Frances St has had liquefaction and has now been flooded out two years in a row.
05-chp-flood
St Albans area. Sean Hermanspahn (17) wades through the water with his laundry.
05-CHP-Flooding30
Christy O'Hagan, 18 years old on the left with Shonagh O'Hagan walking down Voelas Street in Lyttleton were flood water turned the street into a river.
06-CHP-jetski3
Hekmat Sultani, 22, from Heathcote, took a day off work to jetski in his neighbourhood, pictured here on Scruttons Rd in Heathcote.
05-CHP-Flooding7
Krystal Merrick and Dan Evans from the NZRT-12 Emergency Response/Rescue Team travel up the Heathcote River flooding waters along Riverlaw Terrace in their new rescue boat, donated from the lotteries ministry travel with a Red Cross member from RC23 team.
05-CHP-Flooding21
Pete Sheild, in his truck is rescued on Canterbury Street in Lyttleton after a river of flood water eroded the side of the road.
5-chp-flood-156
Glen Fife tend to his sunken car just off Clarendon Terrace in Woolston.
05-chp-Walkabout14
Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Aynsley Terrace residents Pip Oliver, left, and partner Tak Tothill.
05-CHP-Flooding15
A resident looks out her window at a rescue team starting their engine on the Heathcote River flood waters on Riverlaw Terrace.
05-chp-Walkabout02
Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Monty McKeefry, of North Beach.

The storm causing flooding in Christchurch "quickly escalated" this morning and was now being graded as a one-in-100-year event, says mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Residents were being warned of health risks from contaminated floodwaters now pouring through homes, businesses and streets.

Meanwhile, two Lyttelton streets were evacuated after a cliff collapsed, breaching a jet fuel tank and causing a spill. Police said 19 houses were cleared on fears of further slips in the area.

Evans Pass slip
HAZARDOUS DRIVING: Hillside slips along Evans Pass above Sumner.
Cliff st, Moncks bay
RARE SIGHT: Cliff st in Moncks Bay is under water.
Evans Pass slips
AWASH: Multiple slips and water running down Evans Pass.
Wakefield Ave, Sumner
PLOUGHING ON: Motorists brave a flooded Wakefield Ave, in Sumner.
Water laps Wakefield Ave house
AT RISK: Water laps at a Sumner home in Wakefield Ave.
Voelas Road flooding
GUSHER: Water pumps out onto Voelas Rd, Lyttelton.
Port Hills Rd flooding
SLOWLY DOES IT: Motorists try to navigate the flood on Port Hills Rd.
Main Rd, Redcliffs
GUMBOOT WEATHER: Flooding in Main Rd, Redcliffs
Redcliffs bus stop
NO STOPPING: Redcliffs bus stop is out of action.
Exeter St floods
MAD RUSH: Residents shovel swiftly to save this Exeter St, Lyttelton, home from water damage.
Canterbury St flooding
CASCADING: Flooding down Canterbury St in Lyttelton reaches new highs.
Flooding on Canterbury Street
COLLAPSING: Floodwater and heavy winds push a truck over the street on Canterbury St, Lyttelton.

Have you been affected by the wild weather? Send your newstips, photos and video to newstips@stuff.co.nz

The gale-force blast that caused havoc across the region yesterday had eased but heavy rain overnight caused widespread disruption and despair.

Dalziel said the storm had been considered a one in 50-year event early this morning but had been upgraded.

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Householders needing emergency repairs were advised to call 0800 777 846 to go through the Fletchers EQR emergency repair process.

Dalziel urged employers to stagger finish times to help the city reduce peak traffic loads.

Homes in Woolston were swamped as the Heathcote River breached its banks before high tide this morning.

About 100 homes in Richmond, St Albans and Mairehau had flooded, and it was feared the number could be higher as more damage from the storm was discovered today.

Akaroa and Sumner residents had been cut off from the rest of the region, with flooding forcing the closure of main roads.

> What you need to know: Find out about road and school closures, flooding areas

HELPLESS AS HOMES INUNDATED

Residents watched helplessly as water crept up and eventually invaded their homes.

In Sheldon St, Woolston, Mike Barber maintained a brave face as he waded through waist deep water carrying belongings from the property he rented.

Inside, the home's carpets were covered by at least 30cm of water.

Valuables were perched above the water on tables and beds.

Barber said he and his flatmate's belongings were uninsured.

"You've just got to get on with it. There's not a lot you can do."

Meanwhile, Warrington St and surrounding areas were blocked off by floodwaters with many residents evacuated.

Residents said they were frustrated by the lack of support they have received from authorities following flooding events last year.

Water is also nearly waist-deep in Thornton St where homes have flooded.

Council land drainage operations manager Mike Gillooly said last night that shops on Edgeware Rd and at the intersection of Hills and Shirley roads had been sandbagged, but sandbags had not been used at many houses.

"There's a lot of people out there in distressed situations. This is a significant event.

"We've deployed sandbags where we think they'll be some use . . . but sadly for a lot of people we just can't go out and sandbag every house."

'WORST SINCE 1975'

Earlier, council land drainage operations manager Mike Gillooly said the storm was the "worst since 1975".

The council was "continually analysing" the full effect of the storm, he said.

A Fire Service spokesman said firefighters had received about 300 calls for help in Canterbury overnight and had about 40 jobs in the queue at 8.30am.

Almost all of the calls were related to flooding, including people needing help evacuating or weather-proofing their homes.

Police were warning against unnecessary travel. They said motorists should reduce their speed and not ignore road-closed signs.

Police had received numerous calls from drivers stuck in flooding overnight.

"People are still insisting on driving through and getting their cars stuck," he said.

WINDS WHIP WELLINGTON

Logs have been left strewn across Wellington's south coast after massive waves and winds of more than 100kmh pummeled the capital.

The road around Moa Point on the city's South Coast was closed this morning after a 10 metre slip came down from an embankment near the end of the Wellington Airport runway. The road was cleared and re-opened by midday.

Rocks were flung on to a Wellington south coast road overnight by the storm that had winds reaching 110kmh.

MetService was warning of more southerly gales and rain today before the low disappears.

Wellington's strongest gust was Mt Kaukau above Wellington which had a 110kmh gust at 3am, forecaster Heath Gullery said.

The rough weather in Cook Strait meant all Interislander ferries between Wellington and Picton had been cancelled until further notice, spokeswoman Sophie Lee said.

Bluebridge last night cancelled three return sailings between Picton and Wellington but services were returned to normal today. However, some delays could be expected as a backlog was cleared, it said.

As the front approached, it whipped up high seas, with swells of up to 10 metres in Cook Strait.

Sailings of the Wellington Harbour commuter ferry have been cancelled.

FURTHER NORTH

MetService has issued a severe weather watch warning of severe southerly gales possible in inland Wairarapa and coastal Hawke's Bay, including Mahia Peninsula.

There is also a good chance of heavy rain in south Wairarapa and northern Hawke's Bay from tonight until tomorrow morning.

> Find out more about the Wellington storm here.

The Press