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Heavy rain wreaks havoc

By Jake Beleski and Beckie Wilson

Flooding and road closures wreaked havoc in some parts of Wairarapa on Wednesday, but there was some good news as the rain was not expected to hang around much longer.

By 1pm, stations in the Tararua Range had recorded rainfall of up to 90mm in the preceding 24 hours.

In Masterton, there had been 54mm, and in Martinborough 25mm.

Tararua had a severe weather warning issued, with a further 70-80mm of rain expected in the 17 hours from 9am Wednesday.

In the wider Wairarapa region, another 40-50mm was expected in the nine hours from 9am Wednesday.

MetService meteorologist Peter Little said most of the heavy falls would be confined to the ranges from Wednesday night.

“Through Thursday, it will be fairly wet to start with, but that gradually clears in the evening.

“Looking ahead to the weekend, it is looking like a fine few days.”

Predicted dry weather Friday, Saturday and Sunday would give an opportunity for the rainfall to soak in and dry things out, he said.

“We’re winding down now.

“There’s still going to be bursts of heavy rain, but the heaviest rain has already passed.”

The rain that had already fallen led to road closures all over the region on Wednesday.

Several other roads were down to a single lane.

Riversdale Beach transfer station closed due to access being cut off, and the Waihenga Bridge, Martinborough, was closed at 2pm due to rising river levels.

The Pahiatua Track closed after a slip blocked the road.

Contractors expected it would take two to three days to clear the slip and reopen the road.


Emergency services


Emergency services were called out, but not to as many incidents as anticipated.

Masterton Fire Service station officer Kevin Smith said they had dealt with an incident about 8am.

“There were just a couple of really low-lying properties in Essex St where there had been so much water that it couldn’t drain away.”

It had brought flooding to basements of the split-level houses.

In Eketahuna, the fire brigade dealt with a tree that had fallen across a road.


Rural areas under threat


Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon said the water was “out of the channels” by midday and had potential to flatten fences, and cause slips in rural areas.

“There will be a bit of damage around the place, but it’s a lot better to have rain in autumn, than be dry like last year,” he said.

He recorded around 100mm from Monday morning to midday Wednesday on his Bideford farm.

Riversdale resident Alan Emerson had his freezer and pantry stocked up in case Tuesday night’s heavy rainfall prediction was correct, and his home isolated.

Power was lost at various times at his rural property on Wednesday morning.

He might miss his early dental appointment today, but “won’t run out of gin, believe me”, Mr Emerson said.

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