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Heavy rain wreaks havoc

Roads flooded and closed across Wairarapa yesterday, while Masterton was briefly the wettest town in New Zealand in the wake of Cyclone Hale.

Metservice recorded 5.8mm of rainfall in Masterton in the hour to 2.30pm, the country’s strongest deluge until Gisbourne recorded 6.9mm of rain in one hour later in the afternoon. It extended its heavy rain warning for Wairarapa until 5am this morning.

The downpour left many residents stranded. In Carterton, Te Wharau Rd was blocked by a fallen tree just before midday, which affected access to adjoining roads.

Carterton District Council [CDC] said Craigie Lea, Glenburn, Cameron, and Flatpoint Rds were all affected by the downed tree.

It said a roading crew was clearing the tree, but CDC said Te Wharau Rd would remain closed [overnight].

CDC said Dalefield Rd closed between the Hodders Rd and Thomas Rd intersections at about 4.30 yesterday. It was unclear when the section of the road would re-open.

Masterton District Council [MDC] said Masterton-Castlepoint Rd before Bute Rd closed just after 1pm because of a slip. Homewood Rd was closed between Whareama and Beaumont Rd. Mataikona Rd was also shut because of flooding at the Whakataki corner.

“Please avoid the area because the road is likely to remain closed for some time,” MDC said.

The one-way bridge on Cooper’s Rd in Bideford was also closed because of flooding.

Tinui resident Caryl Forest said there were several slips on the Masterton-Castlepoint Rd.

Along with flooding on Otahome Rd, Forest said there had been a power outage in the area earlier in the day.

Data from a weather station in Tinui showed the area received 119mm of rain in the 24-hour period between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Another weather station on Castlepoint Station showed the area received 81mm of rain in the same period.

Meanwhile, 40mm of rain was recorded on Adrienne and Don Staple’s Featherston property. A weather station in Homebush, east of Masterton, measured 22mm of rainfall over the same period.

South Wairarapa District Council said residents should be aware of fast-rising river levels and surface flooding, especially in low-lying areas.

“Heavy rain also means poor visibility when driving so please take care.

“The Waihenga Bridge is generally closed by Waka Kotahi when the Ruamahanga River level at Waihenga reaches a stage of 4.5m.”

It said the river had reached 3.5 metres at 3pm yesterday.

A steady stream of cars was seen leaving Martinborough in the direction of Featherston. However, at 3.45pm all roads into the town remained open.

South Wairarapa residents reported flooding on the road to Tora. Some said the road by Tuturumuri School was under water.

    Additional reporting
    by Sue Teodoro

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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