Flooded out - but a dry New Year is forecast

Flooding in Pitkethley Circle, Pauanui.
Flooding in Pitkethley Circle, Pauanui.
Heavy rain has caused flooding on the Coromandel and has washed out the holiday plans of hundreds camping at Cooks Beach.
Heavy rain has caused flooding on the Coromandel and has washed out the holiday plans of hundreds camping at Cooks Beach.
Jacob Gordon rides through the Pauanui Beach flood waters.
Jacob Gordon rides through the Pauanui Beach flood waters.
Flood waters at Pauanui.
Flood waters at Pauanui.
Luke Taylor finds a quick way to negotiate the flooding at Pauanui Beach.
Luke Taylor finds a quick way to negotiate the flooding at Pauanui Beach.
Children take shelter from the Pauanui Beach rain.
Children take shelter from the Pauanui Beach rain.
Flood waters at Pauanui threaten livestock.
Flood waters at Pauanui threaten livestock.
Allan Turley grabs a broom and gets to work cleaning up on Jubilee Rd, Pauanui.
Allan Turley grabs a broom and gets to work cleaning up on Jubilee Rd, Pauanui.
Pitkethley Circle, Pauanui, faces a clean up after heavy rain.
Pitkethley Circle, Pauanui, faces a clean up after heavy rain.
Pauanui Beach felt the brunt of heavy rains.
Pauanui Beach felt the brunt of heavy rains.
Pauanui Beach has been hit by flooding.
Pauanui Beach has been hit by flooding.
Cook Beach camping ground has been flooded.
Cook Beach camping ground has been flooded.
Pauanui Beach camp sites have been flooded.
Pauanui Beach camp sites have been flooded.
A soggy start to the summer camping season at Cooks Beach.
A soggy start to the summer camping season at Cooks Beach.
Kids ride through the flood waters at Pauanui Beach.
Kids ride through the flood waters at Pauanui Beach.

Heavy downpours caused flooding, slips and delays for thousands of holidaymakers in the Coromandel yesterday - and the wet weather is not over yet.

More rain is forecast for the Thames-Coromandel district today, according to MetService, but conditions are expected to clear up in time for New Year's Eve celebrations tomorrow.

"The ground is already saturated so if they get another heavy shower it will flood," duty forecaster Liz Walsh said. "There are some heavy showers in the mix."

SPLISH SPLASH: This camper resorted to an alternative means of transport when the stream next to the Cooks Beach Resort flooded.
SPLISH SPLASH: This camper resorted to an alternative means of transport when the stream next to the Cooks Beach Resort flooded.

However, she said today's rain was expected to be more isolated and sporadic than the trough that moved through the district yesterday.

The forecast for New Year's Eve in the Coromandel is fine with light winds and a high of 23 degrees Celsius.

Douglas Lawrence, a forklift operator from Putaruru, arrived in Pauanui with his partner Jaylea Swetman and their five children just before the deluge on Saturday night.

He said the rain started at 10.30pm and didn't stop for about 12 hours.

"It was very consistent and then about midnight it really started to come down and it didn't let up."

He awoke yesterday to find Pauanui Boulevard "totally blanketed", with torrents of water over half a metre high.

It wasn't the ideal way to start the two-week summer holiday, but Mr Lawrence said it didn't put a stop to the fun.

"The kids made the most of it by flying through it on their bikes. It's sort of a damper to get things kicked off."

But he said the sun had returned "nice and bright" yesterday afternoon.

The heavy rain affected much of the Thames-Coromandel district with reports of flooding in several holiday hot spots, including Tairua, Pauanui, Matarangi, Whitianga, Opoutere and Cooks Beach.

Flooding and dozens of slips caused traffic delays for thousands travelling to popular beaches, Sergeant Jim Corbett, the officer in charge of Thames-Coromandel road policing, said.

A heavily-used stretch of State Highway 25 between Tairua and Whitianga was reduced to one lane.

The intersection of SH25 and Hot Water Beach Rd, Whenuakite, was closed to all traffic before high tide at 4.30pm yesterday.

Police advised motorists to avoid the area and either take an alternative route or delay travel plans.

Cooks Beach Resort manager Dave Gallaher said reports that the campground was evacuated were incorrect, however a few soggy campers used a nearby community hall to dry out their tents.

"We had a couple of mishaps from heavy rain, but the camp's still very open."

He said the nearby stream broke its banks about 9am yesterday, but it subsided within half an hour. A small number of campers decided to cut their holiday short and head home, but most braved the bad weather and were enjoying the sun yesterday afternoon.

"It caused us a bit of grief, but we're all good," Mr Gallaher said. "It's back to normal, it's just been a hard day at the office."

Mr Corbett said campers at a camping ground in Opoutere, near Whangamata, were given the option of relocating to the local primary school.

There was also surface flooding in Mt Maunganui and Papamoa yesterday. 

Waikato Times