Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Big weekend storm batters Wairarapa

Flooding in the Waiohine River. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

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Heavy rain across the region caused high river flows, flooding, and a limit water use notice for South Wairarapa.

Metservice issued heavy rain warnings and strong wind warnings for Wairarapa on Thursday as an “intensely wet and windy run of weather” moved east across central New Zealand.

Metservice said north to northwest winds were expected to strengthen over central New Zealand in the lead up to the weekend.

Waiohine River.

“Severe northerly gales with gusts up to 140kmh in exposed areas of the Wellington region could potentially disrupt power, cause damage to insecure structures and make driving hazardous.”

On Friday, severe gales of 120kmh had already been measured in exposed parts of the region.

Masterton had a peak wind gust speed of 74kmh.

A Fire and Emergency spokesperson said 10 callouts were received from midnight on Friday to 2am on Sunday.

“Most of these related to loose roofing or building materials, but we were also called to trees being down and trampolines in power lines and other properties.”

The Remutaka Hill Rd was closed by New Zealand Transport Agency [NZTA] on Saturday afternoon after a slip came down on the Wairarapa side of the hill.

NZTA said contractors would monitor wind speeds on the hill and close the road if winds exceeded more than 140kmh.

The hill eventually reopened at 5.50pm on Saturday.

Waipoua River flooding under Colombo Rd bridge. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

Due to high river flows, Wellington Water asked Featherston and Greytown residents to conserve water until further notice to “prevent another interruption”.

“Heavy rainfall and high river levels have resulted in high levels of cloudy water in the bores supplying Greytown and Featherston. This is similar to the events in recent weeks which resulted in an unexpected interruption to the water supply,” Wellington Water’s chief adviser for drinking water Laurence Edwards said.

He said to prevent future interruptions, Wellington Water asked the community to help by limiting water use as much as possible.

“These measures have been taken to ensure that there is enough clean, clear, and safe drinking water for the community,” Edwards said.

The Waihenga River bridge between Martinborough and Featherston was closed by NZTA at 11.50am on Sunday because of rising water levels in the river.

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