Flooding in Bay after torrential rain (+video & photos)

By Sonya Bateson - with APN News & Media

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11.50am SATURDAY:

Major flooding has hit Tauranga and heavy rain is expected to continue through until Sunday.

From 10pm Friday to 10am today, 112mm of rain fell in Tauranga, with almost 50mm falling between 4am and 5am this morning.

Parts of Mount Maunganui have had considerable flooding, with reports of residents waking up to a foot of water in their homes.

Mount Maunganui Fire senior station officer Lindsay Nicol said flooding was widespread throughout the area.

``There are little pockets throughout the place with problems, it's on going. If this rain carries on I can see it happening all day.''

Mr Nicol said firefighters from Te Puke, Omokoroa and Katikati had been called in to assist with all the flooding


``It's a reasonable size event, a lot of it involves flooding in low lying garages and commercial properties. In a lot of cases there's not a lot we can do, most of the water will eventually drain away.''

Tauranga Police Acting Senior Sergeant Steve Hindmarsh said other flooded areas had included the Mount Maunganui side of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge.

``That was almost entirely closed due to the flooding. We had reports of cars floating in the floods around Ocean Beach Rd and the fire brigade were having to push cars to the main land. A few houses had water go through them. There were also many streets in Papamoa that were unpassible and localised flooding at the State Highway 2 and Domain Rd roundabout, that was closed early this morning. Ngatai Rd had quite a bit as well.''

Mr Hindmarsh said no injuries had been reported.

``It's the sort of weather where if you don't have to go out, stay at home. A lot of vehicles have been causing trouble driving through the floods, causing a huge wave and letting water go into people's houses.''

Tauranga City Council acting communications manager Frank Begley said waste water overflow had been reported at the Nikau St pump station and as a result, some untreated sewage may have discharged into the harbour around the Pilot Bay area and possibly at the Waikareao Estuary at Third Ave.

He advised people to stay out of the harbour if possible in these areas and apply caution. Tanker trucks were dealing with the issue.

Metservice media meteorologist John Law said 200mm was forecasted to fall along the Western Bay coast until midnight tonight.

He said moderate to heavy rainfall was likely throughout Bay of Plenty, not just in the western part of the region, again on Sunday and Monday.

``People are advised that this amount of rain is likely to cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, surface flooding and slips. In the Western Bay of Plenty, particularly intense thunderstorms could bring very heavy localised downpours.''

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Torrential rain in the early hours of today has caused major flooding to Bay of Plenty homes and businesses.

Northern fire communications shift manager Steve Smith said the rain started about 3am and by 6am nearly 75mm had fallen.

"It came down in one bucket load - it was amazing.''

The rain was concentrated on the Mount Maunganui and Papamoa areas and at its peak, flooding was as high as car windows.

Mr Smith said they had received reports of flooded homes, shops, garages and basements.

He said by 7.30am the waters were starting to recede and were starting to flow out through the drains "which were obviously blocked and couldn't handle the flow''.

It would not be known how much damage was caused until the water was totally drained away.

There had been no reports of injuries, Mr Smith said.

Police have also received several calls about cars getting stuck in deep water.

Sergeant Dan Weir said drivers in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa should stay off the roads.

"We're obviously receiving a number of jobs due to flooding and landslides in that area. Currently State Highway 2 Papamoa - there's a large slip that is blocking the northbound lanes.''

He said emergency crews are frantic.

"Several cars have got stuck in surface flooding. We're still responding to most of the calls, there's no one in any immediate danger at the moment.''

Fire Service spokesman Steve Smith said calls began streaming in at 3am this morning.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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