Rebecca Gudmundsen holds back tears. Not because her garage has flooded. Not because of the mess the storm left behind, but because she is overwhelmed by the "angels" who helped her clean it all up.

The Brookdale Drive resident in Ngongotaha was one of many facing a hefty clean-up after Sunday's storm.

The rising waters were just 4cm from flooding her and her husband Kjell's house and they count themselves lucky it didn't. But the subsiding waters left deep mud and silt.

"I was in the garage and there was roughly three to four inches of mud," Kjell said.

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"I was trying to get that out then all of a sudden my neighbours came marching up with wheelbarrows and brushes and they said 'where do we start?'"

Kjell said the couple weren't so young anymore so faced a taxing clean-up.

"I'm so humbled to have such good neighbours."

Rebecca said she was overwhelmed by the kindness.

"We didn't even know them, no one asked them to do it," she said.

"They were angels, they used the whole afternoon to clean up."

Brookdale Dr residents pitch in. Photo/Stephen Parker
Brookdale Dr residents pitch in. Photo/Stephen Parker

Other friends and family are helping with the clean up.

Teresa Martin was among a group of friends scraping mud from grass and the footpath in front of a friend's house.

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"It's devastating. Everything we do is going to help them in some way and I wouldn't want to think if we were in this situation we would be left all alone," Martin said.

"People are cooking and baking, looking after children. And a lot of people can't stay at home so are staying with friends and family."

Ngongotaha is still in a State of Emergency after historic rainfall on Sunday.

The heaviest rain fell on Sunday morning, when 81mm was recorded at Rotorua Airport between 7am and 11am.

Niwa said Rotorua had its wettest hour since records began 54 years ago: 51.8mm of rain fell from 10am-11am on Sunday.