Rocks and trees were ‘flying’
‘‘I didn't have time to do anything.’’
The rush of water cascading down a Roxburgh creek sounded like a ‘‘big train’’ as rocks and trees ‘‘flew’’ through the air, a resident says.
The Central Otago community of 600 was knee-deep in thick, sludgy mud and silt on Monday, cleaning up from Sunday evening’s flash flooding that closed roads, cut water and power to the town and forced eight households to evacuate.
Residents have been told to expect to be without fresh water or wastewater services until at least Wednesday – and be ready to evacuate if thunderstorms return.
Tweed St resident David Hall said he was in the kitchen when he heard a loud rumbling sound like a ‘‘huge truck going past’’.
‘‘It sounded like a big truck going past, but it never finished going past.
‘‘I looked out my window … there was a plume of brown mud flying through the air from the bottom of Reservoir Creek. I thought I better go have a look at that.
‘‘I went outside to have a look and the sound was like a big train. It was amazing. Rocks were flying in the air. There were pieces of irrigation pipe, trees.
‘‘One lady was standing on the bridge trying to get a picture and all of a sudden a tree smashed. She is very lucky to still be here, I’d say. She was thrown back onto the bank.’’
Rocks backed up in the creek and water started to build up behind them, he said.
‘‘Water started to go down the main highway then side streets were flooded.
‘‘It was quite horrendous.’’ Hall’s neighbour, Dorothy Dunlay, 84, was evacuated from her home on Tweed St. She said she heard a loud ‘‘roar’’ as the water rushed behind her property.
‘‘I could see the water going into the river. I couldn’t believe the force that was in it . . . I thought ‘Gee that is getting a bit high’.’’
A fire officer turned up and told her she had to evacuate.
‘‘I didn’t have time to do anything. I went across the road and the people very kindly took me in. I lay awake most the night.’’
Community members helped clear her garage – and some of the mud and silt in the house.
‘‘They cleared a path so I could get to the door. I walked in the door and saw all the silt over the carpet. I didn’t realise how bad it was.‘‘
Roxburgh volunteer firefighter Lisa Sincock said crews had been cleaning the streets, properties and school since 7.30am and the job was ‘‘massive’’.
Dorothy Dunlay, 84, of Roxburgh, was evacuated from her home on Sunday evening.
Dorothy Dunlay, evacuated resident