One-in-100-year flood swamps Christchurch

18:38, Mar 05 2014
Jade Spring
UNREAL: Jade Spring, 11, outside her family home in Harrison St, St Albans.
Bethany Oskam on Fifield terraceg
KEEPING DRY: Bethany Oskam on Fifield Terrace.
Paisley Street, Sumner
NOT QUITE THE SEA: Paisley Street, Sumner
Abberley Cres, St Albans
STUCK: Residents in Abberley Cres, St Albans, will have difficulty getting to work today.
Stanmore Rd flooded driveway
WHERE'S THE DRIVEWAY: Stanmore Rd
Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
RUSH HOUR: Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
CENTRAL CHRISTCHURCH: Oxford Terrace at 7.50am.
Lyttelton street turns into a river
DOWNHILL: This steep Lyttelton street is under water.
Heathcote River
HEATHCOTE: The river banks have disappeared as this picture shows - taken from Palatine Tce looking across Fisher Ave.
Flooded foundations
WATER TRAP: Building foundations on the corner of Madras and Southwark streets in the central city fill up during the torrential rain.
Bowenvale Ave Centaurus Rd
CLOSED: Roads are closed at the corner of Bowenvale Ave Centaurus Rd.
Intersection of Durham and Hereford St
CITY CENTRE FLOODS: Intersection of Durham and Hereford St.
Exeter St flooding
DOWN THE PLUGHOLE: Floodwater whirls around a drain on Exeter St, Lyttelton.
Richardson Terrace trampoline
AFLOAT: Trampoline in Richardson Terrace after the Heathcote River burst its banks.
Avon River under Fitzgerald
RISING: The Avon River, flush with its banks, creeps up under the Fitzgerald Bridge.
Avon River, Fitzgerald Ave
BROKEN BANKS: The Avon east of Fitzgerald Ave floods over the street.
Aynsley terrace flooding
ADVANCING: Water creeps up to a road block on Aynsley Tce, near Centaurus Rd.
Francis Ave house floods
INDOOR POOL: This Francis Ave home has been inundated.
Francis Ave
UNDERWATER: This Francis Ave driveway is impassable.
Little River flooding
TIDAL: Floodwater washes a rubbish bin down the street in Little River.
Francis Ave abandoned cars
FOOLHARDY: Motorists who drove through a road-closed sign were forced to abandon their cars.
Eastern Tce dinghy
DESPERATE MEASURES: A resident in Eastern Tce, Beckenham, fancies his luck with the oars.
MacKenzie Ave flooding
COVERED IN WATER: Mackenzie Ave, Opawa, is turned into an outdoor swimming pool.
Eel on Rossall Street
OUT OF HIS DEPTH: Phil Dewar snapped this picture of an eel crossing Rossall St at the intersection with Heaton Rd.
Beckenham School flooding
SCHOOL'S OUT: The grounds around Beckenham School turn into a bog due to the heavy rain.
Aldwins road firefighters
ON CALL: Firefighters, facing a busy day in Christchurch today, help out in Aldwins Rd, Woolston.
Waltham Rd bridge and Fifield Tce - taken at 10am
AFLOAT: A van under water near Waltham Rd bridge and Fifield Tce at 10am.
Sheldon St Woolston
HELPLESS: Water is pouring into homes in Sheldon St, Woolston.
Mike Barber in flooded house
CONTENTS UNINSURED: Mike Barber surveys the damage in his Sheldon St home.
Kayak in Linwood flood
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL: A kayaker trucks down the gutter in Linwood.
Heathcote river flooding
WAIST DEEP: Amanda Savage sent in this picture of deep flooding at the corner of Riverlaw Tce and Esher Pl.
Wildberry St flooding
FINDING FUN IN THE FLOOD: Levi and Caleb White keep checking on the water levels in Wildberry St, Woolston.
Opawa Church flooding
NAVIGATING FLOOD: A keen kayaker paddles towards the church on the corner of Aynsley Tce and Opawa Rd.
Flooding in garden
NO SPRINKLERS NEEDED: "Sorry Christchurch, I over-watered the garden," wrote Rajeev Bhana when he sent in this snap of a flooded garden.
Riverlaw Tce flooding, snorkeller
SCUBA SEASON: Josh Smith needs diving equipment to locate the road in Riverlaw Tce, St Martins.
Cathedral Square pool emerges
CATHEDRAL SQUARE: A new pool has replaced a building site.
Lugging beer through floods
IMPORTANT STUFF: A Riverlaw Terrace resident transports "vital" supplies on a body board through Heathcote River flood waters.
Aldwins Road motorcyle in flood
BIT OF SPRAY: This motorcyclist gets a covering on Aldwins Rd, Woolston.
Top of Heathcote Valley flooding
VALLEY FLOODING: Heathcote Valley resident Loius Dudson sent in this picture of his garden stream in flood.
Matlock St flooding
BROTHERLY LOVE: Mario Williams of Matlock St, Woolston, takes his sisters Mia and Natalia for a ride down the road during a break in the storm.
Fitzgerald ave flooding car submerged
FITZGERALD AVE: A car is partially submerged in flood waters on Fitzgerald Ave.
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Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Cameron Cook, left, and Construction Contracting CCL staff sandbagging in Aynsley Terrace.
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Heavy rain and strong winds in Christchurch. Jack Doyle (11) crossing Warrington St.
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A horse is fed emergency food stocks on Farmland flooded looking from Tunnel Road, in Heathcote.
05-chp-flooding-987
A months rain in 24 hours is how its been described. The city was grid locked in places for hours as commuters tried to get to work. Several St Alban's residents were evacuated and spent the night in a CD Welfare Centre The Avon River burst its banks. A woman carries her shopping through the flood waters.
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Another miserable day in Opawa by the Heathcote River.
05-chp-Walkabout12
Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Construction Contracting CCL staff sandbagging in Aynsley Terrace.
05-CHP-Flooding5
Heavy rain and strong winds in Christchurch. Tony Doyle carries Andy Kimber across Warrington St after helping out neighbours on Flockton St.
05-chp-flooding-939
A months rain in 24 hours is how its been described. The city was grid locked in places for hours as commuters tried to get to work. Several St Alban's residents were evacuated and spent the night in a CD Welfare Centre The Avon River burst its banks. Alison Naylor of Frances St has had liquefaction and has now been flooded out two years in a row.
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St Albans area. Sean Hermanspahn (17) wades through the water with his laundry.
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Christy O'Hagan, 18 years old on the left with Shonagh O'Hagan walking down Voelas Street in Lyttleton were flood water turned the street into a river.
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Hekmat Sultani, 22, from Heathcote, took a day off work to jetski in his neighbourhood, pictured here on Scruttons Rd in Heathcote.
05-CHP-Flooding7
Krystal Merrick and Dan Evans from the NZRT-12 Emergency Response/Rescue Team travel up the Heathcote River flooding waters along Riverlaw Terrace in their new rescue boat, donated from the lotteries ministry travel with a Red Cross member from RC23 team.
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Pete Sheild, in his truck is rescued on Canterbury Street in Lyttleton after a river of flood water eroded the side of the road.
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Glen Fife tend to his sunken car just off Clarendon Terrace in Woolston.
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Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Aynsley Terrace residents Pip Oliver, left, and partner Tak Tothill.
05-CHP-Flooding15
A resident looks out her window at a rescue team starting their engine on the Heathcote River flood waters on Riverlaw Terrace.
05-chp-Walkabout02
Flood walkabout in Christchurch including North Beach, Avonside and Opawa/Woolston. Monty McKeefry, of North Beach.

Residents are being warned of health risks from contaminated floodwaters now pouring through homes, businesses and streets in flooding described as a one-in-100 year event.

Do you have pictures of flooding in your area? Email newsflow@press.co.nz

The gale-force blast that wreaked havoc across Canterbury yesterday has eased, but heavy rain overnight has caused widespread disruption and despair.

Evans Pass slip
HAZARDOUS DRIVING: Hillside slips along Evans Pass above Sumner.
Cliff st, Moncks bay
RARE SIGHT: Cliff st in Moncks Bay is under water.
Evans Pass slips
AWASH: Multiple slips and water running down Evans Pass.
Wakefield Ave, Sumner
PLOUGHING ON: Motorists brave a flooded Wakefield Ave, in Sumner.
Water laps Wakefield Ave house
AT RISK: Water laps at a Sumner home in Wakefield Ave.
Voelas Road flooding
GUSHER: Water pumps out onto Voelas Rd, Lyttelton.
Port Hills Rd flooding
SLOWLY DOES IT: Motorists try to navigate the flood on Port Hills Rd.
Main Rd, Redcliffs
GUMBOOT WEATHER: Flooding in Main Rd, Redcliffs
Redcliffs bus stop
NO STOPPING: Redcliffs bus stop is out of action.
Exeter St floods
MAD RUSH: Residents shovel swiftly to save this Exeter St, Lyttelton, home from water damage.
Canterbury St flooding
CASCADING: Flooding down Canterbury St in Lyttelton reaches new highs.
Flooding on Canterbury Street
COLLAPSING: Floodwater and heavy winds push a truck over the street on Canterbury St, Lyttelton.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the storm had "quickly escalated" from a one-in-50 to be graded a one-in-100-year event.

Worst affected suburbs were St Albans, Avondale, New Brighton and Woolston.

Householders needing emergency repairs could call 0800 777 846 to go through the Fletchers EQR emergency repair process.

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Dalziel is urging employers to stagger finish times to help the city reduce peak traffic loads.

Information on cancellations and closures can be found here.

RESIDENTS HELPLESS AS HOMES INUNDATED

Homes in Woolston have been swamped as the Heathcote River breached its banks before high tide this morning.

Residents watched helplessly as water crept up and eventually invaded their homes.

In Sheldon St, Mike Barber maintained a brave face as he waded through waist deep water carrying belongings from the property he rented.

Inside, the home's carpets were covered by at least 30cm of water.

Valuables were perched above the water on tables and beds.

Barber said he and his flatmate's belongings were uninsured.

"You've just got to get on with it. There's not a lot you can do."

Meanwhile, Warrington St and surrounding areas were blocked off by floodwaters with many residents evacuated.

Residents said they were frustrated by the lack of support they have received from authorities following flooding events last year.

Water is also nearly waist-deep in Thornton St where homes have flooded.

Council land drainage operations manager Mike Gillooly said last night that shops on Edgeware Rd and at the intersection of Hills and Shirley roads had been sandbagged, but sandbags had not been used at many houses.

"There's a lot of people out there in distressed situations. This is a significant event.

"We've deployed sandbags where we think they'll be some use . . . but sadly for a lot of people we just can't go out and sandbag every house."

POWER OUTTAGES MAY WORSEN

About 3500 homes remained without power at 4pm - most in Banks Peninsula, although some pockets of Christchurch and surrounding areas were also experiencing outages.

Lines company Orion said winds were easing, but flooding, slips and water-logged ground in the hills was preventing access to parts of the electricity network. Access issues were likely to continue for the next few days.

It was not known how long it would take to restore power, but it was likely some homes would be without power overnight. Orion said many customers may face days without power and asked people to prepare accordingly.

Orion had been forced to cut supply to two kiosks on its network today because of floodwaters.

The move was for vital for safety reasons and to limit damage to infrastructure, the company said.

People were advised to prepare for further possible power outages, particularly around the Avon and Heathcote rivers.

Anyone who saw a fallen power line was warned to stay clear and call Orion on 0800 363 9898 immediately.

BUSINESSES BATTLING

Children played in the water as streets turned into a pool near the Warrington shopping centre.

Supreme Chinese Restaurant owner Lim Huang was the only business owner in the centre. His restaurant had stayed dry, but no customers would venture there for the day.

''We can't open without customers,'' he said.

Damage was visible outside Schroeder's Tavern with bits of wood and gravel all over the terrace.

In Woolston, the Tannery was open, but most of the carpark was flooded.

Brewery co-owner Zak Cassels said water started coming inside the door the night before, but staff had it draining away in time.

The Tannery was quieter than usual but still ''reasonably busy,'' he said.

Parts of Edgeware Rd were closed and several shops had to pile sandbags in front of their doors.

Beckenham Post Shop and Pharmacy owner Grant Kilday said water had risen to about 12 centimetres of water in the shop.

''Things are floating around here like a duck pond,'' he said.

He had called the council, the fire brigade and his insurance and was waiting for help.

He said the shop was the only one standing in the neighbourhood after the quakes.

''We survived the quakes but we are just undergoing the flood now.''

Kilday hoped to be able to reopen tomorrow. 

Peter Timbs Meat on Edgeware Rd had about six inches of water throughout the shop.

Owner Peter Timbs was not too worried as the council had reacted swiftly and had send someone to pump water out of the shop. 

''There's water right through the shop, but fortunately it's clean,'' he said.

At the Westfield Riccarton mall, it was business as usual.

A spokesperson said a few retailers had to open a bit later this morning, but it was business as usual otherwise.

''It's a typical day here at the moment.''

INSURANCE CLAIMS POUR IN

AA Insurance said it had received about 20 claims for flood and storm-related damage in Christchurch and expected that number to more than double by the end of the day.

Customer relations head Suzanne Wolton said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damage.

Most damage was water-related and included flooded houses and garages, damaged roofs and vehicles that had become stuck in water.

Wolton urged customers to make any necessary claims as soon as possible, especially if emergency repairs were needed to make homes watertight.

In the meantime, residents were advised to check their property and secure anything that could cause damage to another part of the property or a neighbours' property.  

"During a storm we generally have a number of claims related to trampolines and other outdoor equipment flying over to the neighbours' and damaging their property, or creating havoc on your own property," Wolton said.

WORST FLOODING IN 40 YEARS

Council land drainage operations manager Mike Gillooly said the storm was the "worst since 1975". "That was a 100-year rainfall event. We know [this is] more than a 50-year event. It's very significant."

He said all floodwater should be treated as contaminated.

Anyone who came in contact with contaminated water should wash their hands and remove and wash any clothing that got wet.

The council was "continually analysing" the full effect of the storm and hoped to have more data available within a few hours, he said.

A Fire Service spokesman said firefighters had received about 300 calls for help in Canterbury overnight and had about 40 jobs in the queue at 8.30am.

Almost all of the calls were related to flooding, including people needing help evacuating or weather-proofing their homes.

"They were doing evacuations through the night. A lot's just going to people, reassuring people."

Police have rescued a number of people stuck in cars and helped evacuate homes. Acting Inspector Glenn Nalder said police had also found vehicles floating in water on Barrington St.

At 4.40am, two cars collided on Johns Rd when one vehicle "aqua-planed" on surface water.

Nalder said police were not issuing a blanket warning to stay off the roads but advised against unnecessary travel.

RAINFALL HEAVIER THAN EXPECTED

The Christchurch City Council said the rain was much heavier than expected and up to 100 houses were believed to have been affected by floodwaters.

High tide was expected to hit Kerrs Reach about 10.15am, causing the Heathcote and Avon rivers to spill their banks in places.

MetService forecaster John Law said Banks Peninsula had experienced the most rainfall over the last 24 hours, with almost 150mm recorded in Lyttelton.

The amount of rain was less further west, with 72mm recorded at Christchurch Airport.

The wild weather had been brought by southwesterly winds and a low pressure system off the east coast of the South Island.

The system was still hanging out, meaning more wind and rain was in store for Canterbury.

Severe weather warnings of gales and heavy rain were expected to remain until 2pm today, when the wild weather was forecast to ease.

"Unfortunately we've still got more to come. It will start to ease off, but it's another 20 to 50mm on top of what we've already seen."

North Canterbury could get even more, with MetService forecasting a further 50 to 80mm for the region north of Oxford, including the seaward Kaikoura Range.

WORSE THAN 'FRIGGING EARTHQUAKES'

Woolston resident Christina Binnema said this morning's flooding of her Smith St property was the worst she had seen in 30 years.

"It's worse than the friggin' earthquakes."

She said her sleepout and garage were flooded and all the contents damaged. "I walk off my back deck and straight into two to three inches of water."

Water was creeping up to Louise Oskam's front door on Fifield Tce in Opawa this morning.

"My neighbours, who've been here 35 years, said it's the worst flooding they've ever seen."

She had lived on the street for about two years and had seen the road on other side of the Heathcote River flood about "half a dozen times".

"It's just such a surprise to see this side of the river flood."

Oskam was preparing her 7-year-old daughter Bethany for possible power cuts or an evacuation.

"[She] is really excited about it all. She said 'what if it gets higher, will we have to get my boat out of the garage'."

CONSTANTLY FLOODING SINCE EARTHQUAKE

Debs Sinclair said she had been trying to get someone to check the water that comes up on her land since the February 2011 earthquake.

"I had EQC out in the early days, but nothing happened. I'm trying basically to get a proper inspection done."

Her Hargood St property had been constantly flooded since the quake, with water and silt stuck under the house.

"There's water there all the time. There was water there when it was 30 degrees the other week."

The house was green-zoned, but deemed TC3.

"It is going to get worse. I had to get someone to pick me up [for work], I wouldn't have got the car out this morning."

'AT A LEVEL WHERE LIVES WOULD BE LOST'

Early this morning Burwood-Pegasus Community Board chairwoman Andrea Cummings urged people to stay home today and not go to work or school.

"It's at that level where lives would be lost."

She had opened her home at 58 Waratah St as an unofficial welfare centre and took in an elderly neighbour and her cat after their Hulverstone Dr home was "inundated" with water.

She waded through waist-deep water to reach the woman, whose home had been red-zoned.

"She will lose most of her possessions. She's safe and warm and her family know. We couldn't get her out to her family across the city because of the flooding."

However, an elderly man living nearby refused to leave his home overnight, despite warnings from emergency services that they might not be able to rescue him if the flooding got worse.

"The emergency services were saying last night they can't come and rescue you if you get your car flooded or whatever unless there's a danger to your life."

Cummings' husband experienced a "very very dangerous" drive home from an overnight shift at Lyttelton Port this morning.

"Lyttelton is just basically one big mud field. Redcliffs had a collapsing [hillside] because of the rain, the tunnel road has slips all along it," she said.

"It's definitely scary out there. It's at the level where we have to look after each other like we did after the February earthquake."

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