The extreme and more frequent weather events that have struck the Nelson region in the past two years are likely to trigger a rethink of what action councils need to take, Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said today.
Areas of Tasman district, including Golden Bay and Murchison in particular, have been hit hard by flooding in the past two years.
Parts of Rai Valley in neighbouring Marlborough were under water again yesterday.
As Murchison mopped up today, for the second time in a matter of weeks, properties flooded yesterday when Neds Creek burst its banks again were saved from worse damage by sandbagging in advance, Murchison Civil Defence controller Gary Blackburn said today.
The Tasman District Council had a digger in yesterday to help clear the area.
Mr Blackburn said that while the community, predominantly the volunteer fire brigade, was out in force sandbagging in preparation for the flood, getting enough manpower was always an issue. State Highway 65 south of Murchison from O'Sullivan's Bridge to Springs Junction (Shenandoah) remains closed due to flooding. It was to be reassessed about 3pm today.
Takaka Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy chief fire officer Kevin Hebberd said firefighters responded to three calls over the weekend. Two properties suffered flooding at Rototai and Pohara and a vehicle left the road at Upper Takaka after hitting surface water, he said.
Pohara resident Jenny Heath said the heavy rain carved more land away from the banks of the stream bordering her property.
The storm highlighted the frustration for her family, who were still waiting for EQC to finalise their claim so they could repair damage to their property caused by last December's rainstorm.
Mr Kempthorne said today from Queenstown, where he is attending the Local Government New Zealand conference, that it was fortunate the region was spared a worse situation, but he was among many who had turned their minds to the weather.
"We are having a lot more extreme weather events than we used to, and [the Tasman council] will be considering what we need to change.
"We will be looking at some of the places more prone to flooding and whether any additional measures are needed."‘
The council already factors flood mitigation costs into its rating formula.
In Rai Valley, the swollen river swept over roads and farmland. Farmers were today assessing the damage.
Dairy farmers Justin and Kimberly Morrison woke yesterday to find more than 15 of the paddocks on their 450-cow farm under water.
Mrs Morrison said the water was over fence post height. "It was very deep, too deep to drive through." The force of the water had washed out parts of some roads and ripped the mesh off fences.
At Canvastown, the floodwaters came within 15 millimetres of some floor levels. Sandbagging and a flood wall kept the water from the Trout Hotel, said Marlborough Civil Defence spokesman Mark Wheeler.
"It was a fairly big flood, not far away from being as big as the one in 2010 - probably a one in 40 or 50-year event," he said.
State Highway 6 just north of Canvastown was closed during the day but reopened at 8.45pm.
Mr Wheeler said the damage was being assessed today.
Nelson Tasman Emergency Management acting manager Debbie de Geus said most river levels peaked at just over or just under their annual flood levels.
Nelson Tasman Emergency Management was stood down yesterday afternoon as the rain eased and river levels dropped.
TDC hydrologist Martin Doyle said Golden Bay rivers rose to "three or four-year flood levels", while the Buller River at Longford reached an eight-year flood level.
The Tadmor River reached the district's highest level, peaking at a 16-year flood height.
The Motueka River was high but damage was minimal.
At Tapawera Settle Motels and Campground, owner Colin Ball said the Motueka River was the second-highest he had seen it in seven years, but it did not threaten the campground.
The river peaked at Woodman's Bend at 5pm yesterday at 1230 cubic metres per second, just below an annual flow level, according to Civil Defence.
Mr Doyle said the problem at Murchison caused by Neds Creek was an isolated incident.
"The southwest corner of the region got the worst of the weather, which was also the area to have had the heaviest snow on the ground, which did have some effect on the flooding," he said.
Nelson City Council building manager Tracy Quinton-Boundy said two building inspectors were today monitoring 41 properties affected by December's flooding to ensure there were no further problems following the weekend's rain.
Avon Tce from Bridge St to Hardy St reopened this morning.
SH6 from Rai Valley to Renwick and from Inangahua to Westport also reopened this morning.
More pictures, P2
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