Residents of a small Porirua community were evacuated from their homes this morning as flash flooding sent rivers of water running through residential streets.
About 15 households are now uninhabitable and locals have been left with the task of cleaning up the mud-caked streets after a perfect storm hit the Karehana Bay area in Plimmerton.
In a sudden and violent convergence of misfortunes - namely heavy, constant rain, high tide, a burst water main and overflowing stormwater drains - residents found their homes filling with floodwaters.
"It's been quite frightening actually, because it came up so fast," one woman said this afternoon, still shaken by how quickly the flooding hit.
"It's absolutely terrible."
And that was coming from one of the "lucky ones", for whom the water only reached the doorway.
Further along the road, people found dirty, brown water pouring into their homes as it ran like a river down the street outside, popping out manhole covers and streaming through the undercarriages of parked cars.
Another resident said she lived on a hill, but had been to visit a friend whose entire house was flooded by up to 40cm of water.
Over on Airlie Rd, Hazel Kale came home from checking on her parents to find the water gushing into her living room.
She had never seen the area flood so badly, and said some of her neighbours who had lived there for 40 years told her it had never been so bad.
Her words were echoed by Porirua mayor Anita Baker, who said she'd "never seen so much water" in the area around Karehana Park.
"That has risen before because it's got a little stream, but never like that. I've never seen it in my time that bad."
She said people would be upset with Porirua City Council and she felt "really sorry for them", but believed council couldn't have planned for such an event.
"This was a one-off, huge flood compared to what we normally experience."
About 15 homes had to be evacuated due to the flooding, and council was working to help locals clean up the area.
"The streets are caked with filth," said local woman Gillian Dodson.
"It was pretty dramatic, I tell you that. We were lucky, the water was 2cm lapping from our front door, but we managed to not get flooded."
Neighbours, council staff and the fire brigade were out in the street this afternoon tackling the mess, she said.
The flooding also brought traffic in and out of the region to a standstill, as water filled up the Plimmerton roundabout area and caused the main route north of Wellington to be closed.
That was an "ongoing issue" that happened more often with heavy rain, Baker said.
While the city is now enjoying crystal-clear skies, warm sunshine and the lightest of breezes, just hours earlier it was bucketing down, as it had been doing for much of the night.
MetService forecaster Aiden Pyselman said Porirua recorded 49mm of rain between 2am and 11am, while nearby areas recorded between 65 and 74mm.
Porirua received more than 38mm of that rain from 7am to 11am.
The deluge was not over either - Pyselman warned another front was coming through, bringing more rain with it.
"Tomorrow there is a storm coming in from the Tasman Sea," he said.
A heavy rain watch is in place for the Wellington region and Tararua Range, and winds were forecasted to potentially reach gust up to 110km/h.
A welfare point for displaced residents has been set up at the Plimmerton fire station.