Suburbs underwater after weekend downpour

By Sonya Bateson

Heavy rain hammered the Western Bay over the weekend with houses and streets flooded and 433 incidents reported to city authorities.

A total of 218.8mm of rain fell in the 48 hours to 8 o'clock last night, including nearly 50mm between 4am and 5am on Saturday.

The most affected areas were Mount Maunganui, Papamoa and Otumoetai. Some Mount Maunganui residents reported waking up to a third of a metre of water in their homes.

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Tawa St resident Anna Gledhill said she was in one of the worst-hit areas.

"We heard that the drains weren't working properly due to the drought. Normally they'd be cleared every now and again by the rain but lately they've been filling up with gunk and rubbish.

"We woke up about 5.30 this morning to a completely flooded house.

It would've been about a foot deep at that stage."

Jaimee Smith was woken up by loud banging on her front door early on Saturday morning. "Someone was banging on the door saying 'it's flooding outside'.

"I freaked out and ran to the end of the driveway and saw cars with water up to their roof. I think water started coming in to our house a bit earlier than that but we didn't realise," the Matai St resident told the Bay of Plenty Times.

"Around the area, there were houses with their bottom storey a few inches under water and their electronics have all been ruined. There have been a few vehicles lost, that's for sure. The water didn't start receding until about 8.30am. The council came and put sand bags up around our house and the front of the shed."

Carol Black was driving to her Matai St home at 6.45am on Saturday when she saw the floodwaters in her street.

"I couldn't get through the road, the water was so high. I knew straight away my house was flooded. It had happened once before a few years ago.

We're just pulling up the carpet now. It's got lino underneath so we'll just get rid of the carpet."

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Mount Maunganui fire senior station officer Lindsay Nicol said flooding had been widespread and firefighters from Te Puke, Omokoroa and Katikati had been called to help.

"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."

Acting Senior Sergeant Steve Hindmarsh said Mount Maunganui side of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge also flooded.

"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 mainland. A few houses had water go through them.

"There were also many streets in Papamoa that were impassable 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.

Chris Dofflemann, owner of Mount Maunganui clothing store Vagabond, said his store alarm activated numerous times. "We got there about 5am and we couldn't do a thing - the back door had burst open and flood water was coming in through the rear of the building."

At the back of the building, water had reached about 1m high.

Mr Dofflemann said about 90 per cent of the stock had been ruined, and it could be weeks before the store reopened.

See all stories, photos and videos of the weekend's flooding here...



- Bay of Plenty Times

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