Flooding worst in 150 years

01:54, Dec 29 2010
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WILD WEATHER: Jonathan Hanlon captured the flooding in Golden Bay. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: Jonathan Hanlon captured the flooding in Golden Bay. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: David Lester took a shot of the brown water in the queen charlotte sound as streams flow into the ocean. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: Clare O'Connor snapped the flooding out in the Kokatahi Valley, 20km inland of Hokitika. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
Your photos: Wild weather
WILD WEATHER:Clare O'Connor snapped the flooding out in the Kokatahi Valley, 20km inland of Hokitika. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
Your photos: Wild weather.
WILD WEATHER: Clare O'Connor snapped the flooding out in the Kokatahi Valley, 20km inland of Hokitika. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: Tracey Wearing took a photo of the flooding at Rai Valley, looking towards Carluke Bridge. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: Laura Redmond shot the Buller River at 11.15 am.
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WILD WEATHER: The floods 12 Kms North of Reefton at Cronadun were photographed by Michelle O'Connor. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
Your photos: Wild weather.
WILD WEATHER: The floods 12 Kms North of Reefton at Cronadun were photographed by Michelle O'Connor. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
Your photos: Wild weather.
WILD WEATHER: The floods 12 Kms North of Reefton at Cronadun were photographed by Michelle O'Connor. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: Hokitika River Flood by Jacqui Paterson
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WILD WEATHER: Flooding at Kaniere by Jacqui Paterson. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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Flooding at Kaniere.
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Flooding at Kaniere.
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WILD WEATHER: Hokitika River from Rimu by Jacqui Paterson. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>
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WILD WEATHER: Flooding at Paroa, West Coast by Shane Cowlishaw. <a href="mailto:newstips@stuff.co.nz">Click here to send us your photos</a>

About 25 houses in Golden Bay were struck by a 150-year flood, farmers are cleaning up, roads are closed and bridges washed out after yesterday's fast-moving storm brought heavy rain and strong winds to much of the country.

The extent of the damage to roads and infrastructure in Tasman and Marlborough is still unclear, but councils and civil defence staff in the regions met this morning to plan the clean-up.

State Highway 1 is still closed at the Rakaia Bridge in Canterbury, and a detour is in place.

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John Vercoe's property between Para and Koromiko was flooded for the third time this year. He put the tent up for his kids to play in the day before the rain started.
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Picton harbour is brown with water from flooded rivers.
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Picton Harbour
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A family drives towards State Highway 1 through floodwaters on Para Rd, between Picton and Blenheim.
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Shyah the dog looks across flood waters in a paddock near Para, between Blenheim and Picton.
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Cody Whitelaw of Oxford, Canterbury, wades through water on Para Rd.
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Glenn Agnew and Gary Keen at Kaituna Bridge on State Highway 6 inspect taking express reporter Cherie Howie along for the ride.
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The Wairau river on State Highway 6 looking upstream.
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Large slips dot the hillsides at Okaramio.
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The deluge sent hundreds of logs down from a forestry block closing the road and damaging power lines.
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The deluge sent hundreds of logs down from a forestry block closing the road and damaging power lines.
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The deluge sent hundreds of logs down from a forestry block closing the road and damaging power lines.
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The deluge sent hundreds of logs down from a forestry block closing the road and damaging power lines.
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Chartridge Holiday Park owner
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A house bus in floodwaters from the Kaituna River
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Harley Davidson in floodwaters from the Kaituna River
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The Kaituna River overflowed the stopbanks
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Flooded bee hives
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Overflowing stopbanks on the Kaituna River
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The deluge of rain sent hundreds of logs down from a forestry block onto the road.
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Motorists wait as Contractors work to clear a large slip on state highway six near Havelock
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Flood debris and silty water litters one end of Havelock Harbour
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Contractors work to clear blocked culvets near a large slip blocking State Highway 6 near Canvastown
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The only things crossing State Highway 6 near Canvastown were two cows and even they needed some assistance
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Canvastown farmer Kim Huddleston surveys damage to pasture and fencing on his property. He had moved stock to higher ground when the nearby Pelorus river started to rise and did not have any stock losses. Neighbouring farms were not so lucky
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Flooding
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Onamalutu Valley.
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Main road between Canvastown and Havelock
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State Highway 6
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Washout on the Wakamarina Road
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Canvastown Hall
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Pelorus River at Daltons Bridge
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State Highway 6 at Canvastown turnoff
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State Highway 6 west of Daltons Bridge
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Slips near Canvastown
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Trout Hotel
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Wakamarina River, Trout Hotel
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Pinedale Motor Camp
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An Irish band stays dry at Pinedale Motor Camp
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Main road between Pelorus and Dalton's Bridge
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Totara Flat
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Pelorus Bridge about 8am

Flooding also closed SH6 between Havelock and Canvastown, where an 80-metre slip is blocking the road. Contractors began work about 5am and aimed to open one lane by tonight.

Traffic between Nelson and Marlborough was redirected along SH63. "It's a really big slip and a really narrow, difficult area to work in, so that's why it's taking so long," Marlborough Civil Defence spokesman Mark Wheeler said.

Many roads throughout the Marlborough Sounds were also closed by slips, and it would take up to two days to clear some of them.

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Drenched campers were forced to flee at Pelorus Bridge campground, 59km north west of Blenheim, as the river surged through the campground, lifting a caravan and tents before receding yesterday.

Other parts of Marlborough were also badly hit, including the Rai Valley, Canvastown, Northbank and the Marlborough Sounds.

One site in the Sounds measured 230mm of rain in 24 hours, and there was extensive flooding of small rivers and streams, Mr Wheeler told NZPA.

About 20 people had been stranded and were being cared for by locals.

Farmers were worst affected in the Pelorus area, and last night the Marlborough Rural Trust was trying to get generators to dairy farmers.

In Golden Bay at the top of the South Island, the Aorere River reached record high levels in the worst flooding to hit the region in 150 years.

The river can normally be forded on foot during summer, but was flowing at 3500cu m per second at the peak.

The 100-year-old Salisbury Swing Bridge and the James Bridge were swept away, and the river had changed course in the lower Aorere Valley, Tasman District Council spokesman Chris Choat said.

It was unclear at this stage whether people were cut off, but 25 houses were affected.

Power was restored through Golden Bay about 11.30pm yesterday, but many farmers were still struggling to start milking again as buildings were damaged and some stock needed to be rounded up.

Stock losses were not as bad as first thought.

Staff from the Ministry of Social Development, Federated Farmers, volunteers and other groups were establishing what aid was needed.

About 40 trampers stuck on the Heaphy Track in two huts at the Collingwood end of the track were likely to leave the park today.

Department of Conservation staff were inspecting the condition of the track. Wellington was hit by hurricane force winds yesterday and strong winds also blasted many parts of the country.

NZPA