Wellington suburb avoids evacuation as flooding worsens, underwater parking
Residents of the Wellington suburb of Seatoun narrowly avoided an evacuation order from their homes amid widespread flooding in the capital – but vehicle owners in a parking lot next to the Hutt River may not have not had that chance.
Fire and Emergency NZ initially said houses confirmed in Seatoun would be evacuated on Monday as stormwater struggled to escape Burnham St into the sea.
However, a drain was eventually opened and the water began to recede.
A resident of Seatoun had to return home to the floodwaters to wake her son up for an NCEA exam.
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Across the region, the streets of Porirua are inundated, the Hutt River rises rapidly and submerges up to 20 cars in a nearby parking lot, and residents of the Kāpiti Coast have been urged to stay in their homes.
The slow front causing the heavy rains is expected to hide over much of the lower North Island through Monday.
A number of warnings are in place for the upper South Island and the lower North Island, with thunderstorms also possible for central areas of the North Island in the afternoon and the evening.
MetService meteorologist Amy Rositer said 25.6mm of rain fell in the capital within an hour until 5 a.m., with an additional 17.4mm in the next hour.
Heavy rains are expected to continue to fall throughout the day in Wellington, Kāpiti, Horowhenua and parts of Taranaki due to a slow low that has moved across the lower part of the North Island.
Fire and Emergency NZ said there had been reports of flooding around Airlie Rd in Plimmerton, north of Wellington.
This is the same area that suffered severe flooding in 2020.
Porirua mayor Anita Baker said Wellington Water cleaned a drain with a pump and someone asked for sandbags to keep the water away.
Wellington City Council spokesperson Victoria Barton-Chapple said reports of flooding started reaching the council contact center shortly before 5 a.m.
“There have been quite a few reports of surface flooding in Tawa, Khandallah, Karori, Seatoun, Newtown, Ngaio and Kaiwharawhara, with a few blocked sumps and dancing sewer outlets reported around the city as well,” a- she declared.
The council advises that the river in Takarau Gorge, connecting Johnsonville and Makara Beach, is rising rapidly and flooding. “Motorists are now advised to avoid the area and access will be restricted to residents until further notice. “
Two roads in Seatoun were closed at 9 a.m. due to high tide, a tweet from Wellington City Council said. While the Lower Hutt’s Riverbank parking lot is also closed, according to a message from the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Hutt City Council communications chief Jarred Griffiths said around 20 cars were partially submerged.
“Unfortunately, some vehicles will have to stay put because it is too dangerous to remove them.”
At 11:45 a.m., contractors at the Riverbank parking lot began to move all remaining cars to higher ground.
The council was also “actively monitoring” the Waiwhetu Stream, Griffiths regretted, but it didn’t look like it was going to reach levels where it would set off the alarm system.
Marie Garcia parked her daughter’s car just before 9 a.m. At 11:15 a.m., she was watching a towing contractor heading for the blue tailgate before driving it over higher ground.
” I did not think [the river would rise] so fast. The carpet will be all wet, but at least it still rolls.
Cole Douglas got a call from his boss around noon asking where he parked his car. He knew something was wrong when he saw a crowd of people looking at the parking lot.
“I saw all the people by the river and I was like ‘oh that stinks’.
“I have never experienced this kind of flooding. There isn’t much you can do about it. The car was old anyway – it’s probably time for an upgrade. “
Douglas said he was unaware of the rain warning.
There is also flooding along Harcourt Werry Drive.
“We are keeping an eye on the situation but strongly suggest that you avoid the area,” the council spokesperson said.
He advises all those who drive to be very careful.
Paekākāriki Hill Road resident Dianne McLennan woke up to find she was unable to walk down the hill. Flooding across the road had started as early as 6:45 a.m. when her partner tried to go to work.
The Kāpiti District Council urged motorists to drive safely or stay at home. There is a traffic diversion in place at Rimu Rd in Paraparaumu due to flooding and council has received reports of slips on rural roads. Maungakotukutuku Rd is closed due to a slip.
“There are several road surface flooding sites and potential more severe flooding if the rain continues at the current rate. High tide is just before noon and can cause other problems. There will be delays in the bus network, ”the council said on Facebook.
South Wairarapa Council advises motorists to be careful on rural roads. Greater Wellington Regional and Fulton Hogan monitor the Ruamangha River at the Waihenga Bridge.
MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said Wellington’s heavy rain warning is expected to last until 9 p.m. Monday and possibly later.
Wainuiomata in Lower Hutt recorded the highest rainfall on record with 72mm in six hours until 9 a.m. Porirua was 60.8mm at the same time, while Kelburn was 55mm and Paraparaumu was 51.8mm.
Monday would have persistent heavy rain throughout the day, but the large dumping grounds were mostly passed, he said.
Waka Kotahi NZTA warned that heavy rains and surface flooding are expected to affect rush hour traffic on Monday.
Due to flooding, the left lane northbound on State Highway 2 in Petone is blocked, before the Dowse Drive exit ramp.
Block Rd in Lower Hutt and Grays Rd in Porirua are both closed due to flooding.
“At the moment, the state road network is affected at Mackays Crossing and Pukerua Bay on SH1 with delays, surface flooding in the area.”
State Highway 6 near Harihari on the west coast of the South Island, which had closed due to flooding, was reopened on Monday.
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Weather alerts in place
A heavy rain warning is in place for Mount Taranaki until 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. MetService warns of further periods of heavy rain, with a further fall from 100mm to 140mm.
A heavy rain warning is in place for the Tararua, Kāpiti and Horowhenua Ranges until midnight Monday, as well as Marlborough, north of Blenheim, until around 4 p.m.
A heavy rain watch is also in place for Wairarapa, south of Greytown, until 3pm.
According to the thunderstorm forecast from MetService, there is a moderate chance of thunderstorms forming over Waitomo, Taupō, Taumarunui, southern Taranaki, Whanganui, northern Manawatū, Taihape and Central Hawke’s Bay on Monday afternoon and evening. .
Christchurch will experience cloud and rain and a high of 13C, while Dunedin has occasional rain and a high of 13C.
Auckland is expected to have a few showers and a high of 25 ° C, while Hamilton is expected to experience a few showers and a high of 26 ° C.