Sea surges with rain, high tide

POSTIE GETS THROUGH:  Martin St, Monaco, just before midday.
POSTIE GETS THROUGH: Martin St, Monaco, just before midday.

The deluge over the Nelson region coupled with a high tide saw waves crashing over cars in Rocks Rd and the sea surge across the road up to the boundary of homes in Monaco.

Yesterday's heavy rain was a contrast to two weeks ago when the Tasman District and Nelson City councils were urging water conservation because of the dry conditions.

The Tasman District Council was warning of water restrictions being introduced, with the Dry Weather Taskforce to review the situation on Tuesday. Rural fire authorities were also warning of the high fire risk.

GOING WALKIES:  Cindy Holden walks dog Buddy at Monaco.
GOING WALKIES: Cindy Holden walks dog Buddy at Monaco.

Now the region has had a thorough soaking.

The high tide and wild weather drove the sea over the road at Pohara in Golden Bay. At Monaco it came to the boundary of homes in Martin St, right up to their letter boxes, but the postie still got through.

Martin St resident David Barnes said it had been windy earlier in the morning but by noon, when there was a more than four-metre high tide, it was calmer which limited the surge.

There was a lot of debris on the road which a city council sweeper quickly cleared, and he was expecting the same today, he said.

On State Highway 6 at Rocks Rd, traffic slowed and one car stalled for several minutes as waves crashed over the road. Vehicles also swerved to avoid debris washed down from the cliffs. A NZ Transport Agency spokesman said its contractor was on site monitoring the situation and it was not considered necessary to close the road.

The Snelder family, on holiday from Christchurch, were walking along the waterfront road when the waves came over the footpath so they turned back.

Mum Sarah Snelder said it hadn't put them off "sunny Nelson" and they were staying for a couple more weeks. "We're heading to Totaranui and hoping the weather improves."

Nelson finished the year with 2427.2 hours of sunshine recorded, close to the average 2451.6 hours, according to the Nelson Weather Service at Stoke.

Final figures for centres around the country have not been released but Nelson was not expected to top the sunshine stakes this time.

Nelson's rainfall for the year totalled 1037.1mm, which is above the average 940.9mm.

Nelson Weather Service consultant John Mathieson said a 2013 mean air temperature could not be established for Stoke because the main temperature screen was vandalised in June.

More rain was expected overnight, with heavy falls but the showers were predicted to clear from tomorrow morning.

"Unreal" winds yesterday ripped through parts of the South Island, tipping over a caravan and felling power poles.

The winds reached speeds of up to 140kmh in the Marlborough Sounds and up to 120kmh at Mount Hutt yesterday, tipping over a caravan near Kaikoura, prompting the partial evacuation of a motorcamp in Havelock and cutting power to about 600 homes in Selwyn district.

The caravan crash was reported near Hapuku, about 14km north of Kaikoura on State Highway 1, at 1.16pm yesterday. The Fire Service said the caravan was extensively damaged .

The high winds also forced up to 40 families from the community-run Havelock Motor Camp yesterday morning.

Manager Neville Pickering said "unbelievable" gusts hit the small Marlborough town about 4am, causing havoc for campers.

Meanwhile, a howling deluge in Wellington yesterday grounded flights, caused power outages, downed trees, and blocked roads.

The Nelson Mail