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Region saturated by record heavy rains


Nikki Bell negotiates flooding in Fraser Street, Masterton. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

Heavy rain swept the region yesterday, turning Carterton roads into fords, a Masterton bypass into a lake, and closing the Remutaka Hill Rd.

Metservice recorded more than 60 millimetres of rain in Masterton, while more than 100mm of rain fell near Powell Hut in the Tararua Range.

Flooding was reported in Carterton on Kokotau, Chester, Haringa, and Mangatarere Valley Rds.

Meanwhile, Carterton homeowners defended their properties against incoming flood waters, with an ever-rising water level making its way to front doorsteps.

Phoebe Baker, who has lived in Masterton 45 years, was taking photos of the Waipoua River from the State Highway 2 bridge into Lansdowne.

“It’s the highest I’ve ever seen it. Thought I better take a photo.”

Greater Wellington Regional Council data showed the Waipoua River at Colombo Rd had a peak of 203.78 cubic metres of water per second flowing through it at 2.50pm yesterday, the largest amount of water it had seen all year.

Further south, 749 cubic metres of water per second was recorded tumbling down the Ruamahanga River at Martinborough’s Waihenga Bridge at 4.35pm yesterday.

Yesterday’s flow at Waihenga Bridge was second only this year to February 13, when a peak of 921 cubic metres of water per second was recorded at 11.15pm.

The Waingawa River at Kaituna recorded a peak of 176 cubic metres of water per second at 2.05pm yesterday.

Carterton District Council [CDC] said the water levels at its wastewater treatment plant was extremely high and some surcharging [water coming back through pipes and drains] had been reported. “If possible, please limit your water use in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundries. This includes baths and showers, toilets, clothing, and washing.”

It said once the wet weather ended, it could take several days for water to subside.

“If your property is in immediate danger of flooding, call 111 and our local fire brigade will help you.”

CDC said to contact them immediately if wastewater was backing up on your property.

“Please also call us if you see flooding or fallen trees and road obstructions.”

It said to only drive through surface flooding on the road it if you could see through the water.

CDC said its roading team had set up diversions and isolating flooded areas where possible.

The Waihenga Bridge on SH53 heading to Martinborough closed shortly after 3.30pm yesterday because of rising river levels.

South Wairarapa District Council said an alternative route into the town was available on Ponatahi Rd and Kahutara Rd, but both had also flooded.

“There is flooding between Chishams Rd and 539 Lake Ferry Road, and around Pukio, so please drive very carefully.”

It said motorists should also watch for flooding on Lake Ferry Rd between Dry River and Chisholm Rd.

Slips closed the Remutaka Hill Rd for a period of time yesterday while Waka Kotahi NZTA crews cleaned up the mess.

Wellington District Police said the road was open by 5.40pm but there could be further emergency closures should more slips occur overnight.

Roads were also shut across Masterton as flood waters rose.

Paierua Rd closed at about 3.30pm from Kibblewhite Rd to Loopline.

“There is a lot of surface flooding on the Masterton-Castlepoint Rd. Please take care along this route, especially around Whakataki and on the Mataikona Rd.”

The Times-Age also saw deep flooding at the south end of Ngaumutawa Rd, car tyres were almost fully submerged in the water.

There were also reports of MDC crews clearing water from Hillcrest and Pownall Sts for three to four hours.

Metsevice had issued a strong wind warning for yesterday.

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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