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Flooding swamps South

Communities across South Wairarapa have been severely impacted by the remnants of Cyclone Hale, with the weather event causing widespread disruption.

There were reports yesterday from across the district of power outages, slips, flooding and road closures as people in remote areas remained cut off following heavy rain overnight.

The Waihenga Bridge on SH53 between Martinborough and Featherston was still closed at midday yesterday, along with White Rock Rd and Pahaoa Rd.

Surface flooding affected SH2 in Featherston, between Camp Rd and Tauherenikau Racecourse Rd.

South Wairarapa District Councillor for Martinborough, Aidan Ellims, said the council dispatched a crew to Tora early yesterday morning to address multiple slips along the road to the south coast that prevented people leaving the area.

The slips came after a slip on the same road last weekend had only just been cleared.

Ellims said the road near Tuturumuri school was also underwater.

Tora resident Mike Firth described driving home through “massive amounts” of water on the roads.

“It was pretty rough,” he said, adding that gravel had been scoured out of both Tora and White Rock roads, blocking culverts and causing water to cover the roads.

“I’m used to it, but it’s often what is underneath the water you can’t see that causes problems.

“This was an extreme weather event, but it’s not going to be the last one.”

Firth also lost power overnight at his home.

Powerco reported a power outage at Flat Point yesterday, impacted approximately 90 properties.

Firth praised the council’s recent prompt response but said there was an ongoing future risk of tourists from outside the district not knowing how to drive to local conditions.

Transport routes into Hinakura Valley were also damaged.

“The road between Hinakura Hall and Admiral Rd is out because the Pahaoa river has flooded Moeraki Rd, which leads to the Admiral.

“That’s the only route in for stock and other large trucks,” said Ellims.

“I have heard the road from Hinakura to the coast has been made impassable by streams scouring out the road in a number of places.”

Ellims said the heavy unseasonal rain fell on ground already severely waterlogged by the wet summer.

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