Rocks and trees were ‘fly­ing’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

‘‘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

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