Joan Newdick knew her beloved cats would be okay, but it was her late husband's car she was more worried about as she fled her flood-swamped home.
Newdick and late husband, Lenny, have owned their property at the corner of Rata Ave and College Rd for 57 years.
Rata St has been blocked off up until the West Bank Rd cordon was relaxed this morning.
At the edge of the new cordon - at the intersection of College Rd - Urban Search and Rescue crews can be seen assessing houses, while diggers are clearing mud and street sweepers are getting rid of more flood remnants.
Oddly, she has arrived home to find her front door kicked in, but she's not perturbed and plans to sleep at home tonight.
Newdick has survived the massive earthquake of 1987 along with many other storms and the town's near-miss flood of 2004.
It's no wonder then, she wasn't too keen to leave her house, along with her two cats, Missy and Moochi.
She literally escaped by a whisker, as it wasn't until the stop bank had burst and water was gushing towards her house that she knew it was serious.
She was then put in the back of a van and taken to safety."
I don't know if you get used to it or not but it wasn't till that morning that I knew it was serious. "I was wondering how close it would get to the shed."
Inside her garage is her late husband's car, just a Mazda, but it's precious because it's his.
Miraculously, the flood waters got within centimetres of the door before receding.
However, her section has looked better. It's gone from a luscious green to a dank brown. The water's maximum level temporarily etched on to surrounding fences and lower portion of the house.
"I have never cried so much in my life."
More support is coming. She's got nieces and nephews who live in town, while her daughters are due to arrive from Australia.
Although it's bad, she's not planning on going anywhere; she doesn't want to desert her precious moggies again.
"I've been here for 57 years and have seen earthquakes and a couple of floods. I would say this is the worst one. But I would rather an earthquake. It's easier to clean up I think."