Northland storm damages highway and floods Kaeo

By Peter de Graaf

The latest storm to hit Northland dumped more than 150mm of rain in 24 hours in some areas, bringing flooding to Kaeo, damaging highways and sinking a launch.
However, the damage was not as serious as feared and paled next to the slips and bridge washouts inflicted by last week's downpour.
Residents of Kaitaia and other areas north of the Mangamukas had to contend with nine hours without power on Sunday, when the weekend's wild weather coincided with a planned power outage by national grid operator Transpower. The shutdown was for maintenance to the Far North's sole power link.
State Highway 10 was reduced to one lane north of Kaeo yesterday after heavy rain caused a section of the road to slump by 60cm.
Contractors were carrying out temporary repairs and expected both lanes to re-open by 4pm.
In Kaeo floodwaters covered SH10 north of town as well as low-lying Omaunu and Dip roads.
The roads were not closed to traffic and residents took the latest flood in their stride.
Kaeo fire chief Lindsay Murray drove through 50cm-deep water to get to work yesterday, describing it as "just the usual Kaeo flood".
Kaeo police Constable Rhys Dempster said the water peaked around 9am, two hours after high tide, as the river's headwaters drained.
Four-wheel-drives were getting through Omaunu Rd and some smaller cars were unwisely risking it. Problems were not expected at high tide last night because the rain had eased during the day.
Among those waiting at Omaunu Rd bridge yesterday was long-time Kaeo resident "Snow" Batters, who said the town had a drenching of more than 130mm overnight.


In the last flood earlier this year, Mr Batters said it took him 10 days to find the last of his missing cattle after they swam down Kaeo River and ended up at Whangaroa Bridge.
Mr Batters said local residents had became cynical about flood protection plans put forward by local authorities and flood relief promised by the Government. Many no longer bothered going to public meetings.
"You're accountable for everything you do these days, so why aren't they? A couple of people on Dip Rd have had enough of it, and they've lifted their homes themselves."
On Saturday the storm sank a launch sank at its mooring in Houhora Harbour.
Northland Regional Council measurements show in the 24 hours to 8am yesterday 158mm of rain fell at Puhipuhi, north of Whangarei. Next wettest locations were Glenbervie Forest (140.5mm), Kaeo (131mm), Towai (109.5mm) and Oromahoe (81.5mm). The driest place was Pouto Pt, Kaipara, with just 0.5mm.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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