Business owners fight flooding

ANNA BRADLEY-SMITH
Last updated 11:41 26/06/2014
ALDEN WILLIAMS/MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

SWEPT AWAY: Rob Stevenson, left, Colin Gledhill and Blake Knox fight the rising water on Tahunanui Drive on Wednesday.

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Shops along Tahunanui Dr faced an unwelcome influx of water yesterday afternoon as the Nelson region was hit by heavy rain.

Waves caused by passing cars added to the problem and thwarted efforts to keep the water out.

Armstrong Smarter Security employee Stefan McLean had stacked all the electronic devices in the store on raised surfaces, and had to sweep almost ankle-deep water out of the building.

He said it was the first time he had seen such a large volume of surface flooding, and it had all happened within 15 minutes.

"I didn't even realise it was coming in the door. Someone yelled out. Then it was a race to get all the electronics off the floor. There would've been a few hundreds of dollars' worth."

Across the road, the water was more than knee-deep in places, and the volume of water surging through stormwater drains was lifting manhole covers.

Geoff Cotton, who owns buildings on the stretch of road, said he was expecting some flooding but nothing like what happened.

"I've had these buildings since 1978, and this is the first time it's been like this. We've had some good rains but this is a first. It took no time at all to come up."

He said the trouble with the flooding was the silt it contained.

Just up the road at Beds'R'Us, owner Rob Stevenson said it had been "touch and go" at times but he had been lucky.

Businesses showed neighbourly support by working together to combat the water in the worst-affected spots.

Earlier rain in Brightwater flooded the basement and front lawn of homeowner Diana Hellyer. She said it was the worst flooding she had seen in the 49 years she had owned the property.

Firefighters were called to help her move belongings and drain the 11 centimetres of water that had filled the basement.

"This is the first time it's ever done this. It's a right pain."

The downpour caused road closures and diversions around Nelson.

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- The Nelson Mail

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