Region flooded by heavy rain

Last updated 16:17 15/01/2013

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A number of homes and businesses were flooded as heavy rain swept the region on Tuesday.

Continuous heavy falls from Monday afternoon worsened in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The downpour began to ease off around 8am but further spells of rain have fell intermittently throughout the morning before clearing yesterday afternoon.

The volume and persistence of the rainfall raised concerns following the December 2011 flooding experience.


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The Nelson City Council has confirmed that  the Maitai Valley Rd at Sharlands Creek has now re-opened. The road was closed due to surface flooding this morning.

Social media was abuzz with reports of flooding, with locals taking to Facebook and Twitter to share their experiences. The pond in Washbourne Gardens, Richmond was said to have been transformed into a lake, and residents in Bishopdale, Stoke and Brightwater reported surface water and heavy flooding.

Tourists were lucky to survive a flooded Waimea River after their cars were swept downstream during a torrential downpour.

Emergency services searched the river at Appleby after being notified at 9.43am that two cars were submerged under the bridge at Appleby.

Totaranui campers endured a "very wet night" and were unable to drive back to Takaka this morning due to flooding from the Wainui River closing the road.

Intense rain between 5am and 6am today had local authorities and Civil Defence on watch mode as the upper Lee and Roding rivers reached five-year flood levels, Tasman District Council hydrologist Martin Doyle said.

The cloudburst fed 20mm into the Brook catchment, 10mm into the Maitai, 27mm into Ngawhatu and 66mm into the Roding in that hour. Mapua received 76.9mm of rain in the 24 hours to 8am.

Aniseed Valley resident Sue Bryan said extensive flooding in the valley had cut off the road, and was looking to be as bad as the floods of a year ago.

"We are currently locked in and it's still raining hard. We've checked all the neighbours and everyone is safe, and we still have phone communication at the moment," she said.

Flood warning staff in Tasman were monitoring rivers closely this morning to see the effects of the heavy rain. Mr Doyle said the alert was downgraded by 8am when the rain eased.

Nelson City Council community relations manager Angela Ricker said surface flooding was seen in Hastings St, Nelson and Wakefield Quay/Rocks Rd areas where sumps were likely full from the wind that had blown debris into them over the past few days.

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Mr Doyle said on the bright side decent rainfall on the Waimea Plains and Moutere hills had eased the dry ground conditions.

"The plains and Moutere valley had been the driest parts of our district, and both of these areas received at least 50mm of rain, which will fully restore soil moisture levels," Mr Doyle said.

MetService spokesman Daniel Corbett said the region could expect an improving picture, but a few thunderstorms and scattered showers were likely this afternoon.

"There'll still be dribs and drabs of rain but the weather will improve as the low pressure system tracks across the centre of the country this afternoon."

Mr Corbett said it was likely to be a lovely day tomorrow, but another trough later in the week could mean a few more showers and cooler weather.

Saturday in Nelson was looking to be a classic beach day with fine weather and temperatures hovering around 26 degrees.

Department of Conservation spokesman Greg Napp said the Wainui River had become shallow since last December's floods and had become easier to flood.

DOC Totaranui campground manager Hugh Mytton said the Totaranui hill road was open and down to one lane, but vehicles wouldn't be able to cross the Wainui River.

"So they'd have to wait there [in Wainui Bay].

"She started heavy at 2 am and went through to seven. We got around 127mm of rain between 2am and 7am, that's more than we expected. It's eased off now thank goodness."

Minor surface flooding on roads was reported at a number of places around the Nelson region including Main Rd Hope, Pea Viner Corner - Appleby, Whakatu Dr, Vanguard and Hardy Sts and River Tce Brightwater. Richmond's Washbourne Gardens became a pond.

Firefighters in Nelson and Stoke attended seven flood related callouts to homes and businesses in an hour from 6am.

Station Officer Brian O'Donnell of Nelson said the service was called to a Parkers Rd home, Tahunanui where a problem with the property's spouting meant water was getting inside the house.

The Fire Service was also called to Franklyn Village, Postie Plus and the Nelson Suburban Bus Company on Bridge St.

The service had three crews out and volunteers from Stoke and Nelson were called in to help.

At Tahunanui Beach Motor Camp holidaymakers Brian McIntyre and son Braeden, from Dunedin, were woken around 5am when the downpour started.

They deciding to head home a little early this morning after the rough looking forecasts.

"We've been here a week and had some good days."

Waimea Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Ian Reade said while the rain would not be welcomed by campers it was a relief for the authority.

Boaties should take extra care following the overnight downpour, which combined with this week's spring tides is likely to have flushed a lot of driftwood into Tasman and Golden Bays, Tasman District Council harbourmaster Steve Hainstock said.

Forecast south-westerly winds would hold the flood debris in the bays and it could be several weeks before the danger of collision was gone, he said.

"There's likely to be quite a bit of timber floating around.

"People should navigate with appropriate caution and avoid high-speed travel after dark - that's where the biggest risk is."

Cable Bay farmer and campground operator Ian Stuart said he recorded 82mm of rain from Saturday to this morning and although it might have caused a few minor slips, he wasn't expecting the damage to be significant.

AT A GLANCE

24-hour rainfall totals to 8am:

Ranges south of Nelson 114mm

Nelson Airport 81mm

Aorere Valley 80mm

Takaka 100mm

Motueka plains 80mm

Waimea plains 50-70mm U

pper Waimea catchment 80-100mm

- Nelson

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