Coromandel floods: 'The water came inside my car up to my ankles'

Heavy rain and flooding on the Coromandel peninsula. Photo / Supplied
Heavy rain and flooding on the Coromandel peninsula. Photo / Supplied

Heavy downpours are keeping North Island emergency services busy tonight, with residents climbing to higher ground to escape floodwaters in the Coromandel, and many roads in the Thames-Coromandel region blocked because of flooding, slips and fallen trees.

Fire Service spokesman Jaron Phillips said residents in Albert St in Coromandel township scrambled to higher ground this evening after they became concerned about the rising waters.

He said there was also a report of flooding on Wharf Rd in the township, where occupants were forced to move their equipment and belongings.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Mr Phillips said other calls for help were still coming in, and a fire crew had gone to a property on Colville Rd, where a woman said she was trapped inside by floodwaters.

Civil Defence urged people to stay home and not go out in their cars.

Marta Wacowska got stuck in floodwaters while out driving.

"I was driving through Coromandel town at 7.30pm and my car got stuck opposite Anchor Lodge today," Wacowska wrote on Facebook tonight.

"[It] just died in the middle of the road in the flood. Bins and barrels were flooding around me. The water came inside my car up to my ankles."

Tourists from the nearby backpackers ran to rescue "my 6 year old and me", Wacowska said.

"They pushed us out of the water. Luckily someone took us home. My car didn't go anymore, and it's still raining I hear! It was pretty scary. I was shocked when I opened the car windows and saw our car in the flood."

MetService said a trough of low pressure was moving slowly across the Coromandel Peninsula and western Bay of Plenty and would continue eastwards towards the eastern Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne overnight and into tomorrow morning.

It said a short period of heavy rain, with possible localised downpours, was expected on the Coromandel Peninsula and western Bay of Plenty - from Tauranga westwards - until midnight tonight.

A further 30mm-50mm of rain could accumulate between 9pm and 12am tonight in those areas.

The rest of the Bay of Plenty, east of Rotorua, will see a burst of heavy rain overnight and early tomorrow morning and a total of 65mm-90mm of rain could accumulate in the 10 hours from 9pm-7am, MetService said.

"People are advised that this amount of rain could cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly, with possible slips and surface flooding."

The Thames-Coromandel District Council has provided updates throughout the evening, and warned residents to stay off the roads because of slips and flooding.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

"If you were planning a Sunday drive up the coast past Coromandel town, don't," it said on its Facebook page. "The roads have disappeared under water. Stay safe, everyone."

Police also warned the public in the Thames-Coromandel district about flooding and slips.

They said there was surface flooding and debris on Whangapoua Rd in Te Rerenga, and Port Charles Rd in Waikawau was blocked by large slips.

There was deep surface water on Thames Coast Rd in Tapu and large slips on the Thames-Hikuai Rd, which was blocked.

Thames Coast Rd in Ruamahunga also had flooding and deep surface water and Manaia Rd was blocked by severe flooding.

The council said tonight that, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), there is no way to get through from Manaia to Tairua, and there are no detours.

"Some people are still driving as if there hasn't been an issue and are getting a fright when they hit surface water."

Police said traffic would not be able to travel on the roads blocked by flooding and slips.

Kennedy Bay Rd was closed because of slips and trees on the road and the bridge near the intersection of State Highway 25 at Whitianga and the 309 road were also flooded and not passable.

Colville, Port Charles and Waikawau Bay had been left isolated by floodwaters.

Sandra Morris wrote on Facebook that there was a rockfall on the Kopu-Hikuai Rd.

"Rocks still falling," she said. "One guy has just shredded his tyres."

The council said: "Emergency Services have evacuated one lady from her home but say they believe the situation will be okay overnight.

"Some property has been damaged and emergency services will deal with those matters in the morning."

It said there were reports of people trying to get through the floodwaters.

"Colville is flooded and there is a crack in the road approximately 2.5km south of the village. Please take care on the roads and make good choices."

Meanwhile, heavy rain also flooded houses in West Auckland this afternoon and a severe weather watch was put in place for Great Barrier Island and Westland.

But MetService said the low pressure system that is moving southeast over the upper North Island - bringing the severe weather watch and heavy rain in Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne - would be replaced by a ridge of high pressure moving on to the country tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a front moving north over the South Island, bringing heavy rain to southern Westland today, is expected to weaken as well, as the ridge of high pressure begins to take over tomorrow.

MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey forecast that the ridge would remain over New Zealand until late in the week.

"Most places will see plenty of sunshine this week after the rain bands clear the country. There could still be a few showers in some places, but predominantly it's looking fine."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 09 Dec 2016 16:54:05 Processing Time: 784ms