Heavy rain floods highway

By Peter de Graaf

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Cars negotiate a flooded bridge on Omaunu Rd near Kaeo. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Cars negotiate a flooded bridge on Omaunu Rd near Kaeo. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Heavy rain across the Far North early yesterday brought flooding to State Highway 10 and sparked an emergency callout in Kaitaia.

Despite intensities of more than 25mm/h in some areas, however, there were no major dramas and no roads were forced to close.

The Kaeo River peaked about 9.45am, reducing SH10 to one lane just north of town and submerging Omaunu Rd, which links Kaeo with the hospital and residential areas on the other side of the valley.

Floodwaters spilled over State Highway 10 north of Kaeo but the road was in no danger of closing. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Floodwaters spilled over State Highway 10 north of Kaeo but the road was in no danger of closing. Photo / Peter de Graaf

The road was still negotiable by four-wheel-drive. Whangaroa Health used a ute to shuttle patients across the floodwaters to their appointments.

The centre of town and SH10 north of Whangaroa Bridge remained high and dry. Neither the school grounds nor Kaeo's main street have flooded since the Northland Regional Council completed a flood control scheme just upstream of town in May 2014.

Waikare Stream, which flows under the main street, has also been widened and fitted with a floodgate.

In Kaitaia the fire brigade was called out at 4.50am yesterday when floodwaters threatened to submerge a garage on Puriri St.

Deputy fire chief Craig Rogers said the garage had been flooded before but the speed with which the water rose yesterday took the owners by surprise. They managed to move their belongings out of harm's way while firefighters unblocked nearby stormwater drains.

Regional council figures show Bramley's Crossing, near Kaeo, received 78.5mm of rain in the 12 hours between 9pm on Monday and 9am Tuesday. The heaviest falls, between 1am and 2am, were more than 24mm/h. Te Puhi, south of Kaitaia, received 76.5mm over the same 12 hours with a maximum intensity of more than 25mm/h between 2am and 3am. During the same period Kerikeri received 60.5mm and Whangarei 29mm.

- Northern Advocate

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