Region now cleaning up

00:00, Apr 19 2014

Nelson Bays police area commander Inspector Steve Greally said police had had about 700 callouts since the storm began.

He said the storm had not been as bad as police expected and the closest call had come with one woman living on Graham Valley Rd, who rang the police as water began to encroach on her home.

Fortunately her neighbours were able to come to her rescue and get her to safety.

Greally said police had been keeping an eye on rising rivers and the Motueka river at the Riwaka Bridge had been of particular concern as it steadily rose yesterday.

He said police were continuing to monitor hydrology reports for rivers in the area.

The wild weather left a number of roads closed in Golden Bay yesterday, including Takaka Hill, with the Takaka Hill weather station recording 176 millimetres of rain since Wednesday night and Nelson Airport recording 45mm.


The strongest gust was recorded at Separation Point at 135kmh and winds reached 104kmh at Farewell Spit and 90kmh at Nelson Airport.

Metservice meteorologist Stephen Glassey said this storm had been more severe than Cyclone Lusi as each extreme weather event was unique in itself and how it hit different parts of the country.

New Zealand Transport Authority said all highways were now open in the region, but people were asked to take care on Highway I between Blenheim and Kaikoura, the Takaka Hill road and on the route between Takaka and Collingwood, as parts of these were down to one lane due to flooding, debris and slips.

The authority's central operations manager, Mark Owen, said crews would be out on the roads today cleaning up the mess left by the storm.

Emergency services said despite the weather last night things had simmered down.

Nelson police night shift sergeant Mike Wardle said it had been "pretty quiet" as people seemed to be staying home in the poor weather.

He said patrols would be out looking at damage and if people needed help they would be more than willing to give a hand where they could.

Greally said the bad weather tended to kept crime rates down as people stayed indoors.

The Nelson fire service had had 68 callouts over the storm event and senior firefighter Neal Jones said most had come in on Thursday, when strong wind gusts had hit the city.

The most major incident was the hospital roof, but other work involved helping people secure iron coming off roofs, or dealing with falling trees or branches.

Tapawera fire chief Dean Millar said the storm did not appear to hit them as badly as in Nelson city, but minor slips had closed the Tapawera Baton Rd.

The St John Ambulance also had no major incidents to attend to, but staff were prepared for the extreme weather, making sure they were fully resourced, and also supported the hospital when the section of roof came off.

The rescue helicopter also had a quiet day, with one medical callout, which was landed on the golf course due to the roof situation at the hospital.

Metservice said the severe weather warning for the region had been lifted this morning at 6am, but showers can be expected today and tomorrow, with northerlies.

The Nelson Mail