Tas­man Tem­pest sat­u­rates Franklin

Franklin County News - - FRONT PAGE - FAIR­FAX RE­PORTERS

A teenager was forced to flee her bed­room at 4.30am as flood­wa­ters poured into her bed­room on the Firth of Thames coast.

Nicki Ri­dler, her part­ner Jared Cur­tain and her three daugh­ters are now trapped in­side their Ka­iaua home af­ter heavy rain pounded the North Is­land Tues­day night.

‘‘We are still un­der wa­ter, it just hasn’t stopped,’’ Ri­dler said from the fam­ily home in Lib­scombe Rd, north of Mi­randa, on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

‘‘At the mo­ment it’s sub­sided away from the front door, thank good­ness but it’s still pretty bad.’’

Wed­nes­day morn­ing’s high tide com­bined with heavy rain to send wa­ter flood­ing through the front door of Ri­dler’s daugh­ter Char­lotte’s room.

‘‘Our daugh­ter came in from the back part of the house and her room was go­ing un­der.

‘‘We have a teenage daugh­ter [17] out in the shed and she ba­si­cally had to watch her room go un­der.’’

The fam­ily scram­bled to lift up stereos and valu­able items from the ground as knee-high wa­ter poured through the ranch slider and soaked the car­pet at 4.30am.

They hadn’t had a chance to as­sess the dam­age yes­ter­day.

‘‘It’s still un­der wa­ter, luck­ily we were awake.’’

Wa­ter lev­els reached half way up Ri­dler’s thighs at the front gate to the prop­erty.

Ri­dler said the pet pos­sum ‘Wil­low’ was ‘‘freaked out’’ and had to be res­cued from a branch. ‘‘She’s in the garage in the carry cage un­til the wa­ter goes down.’’

This is the sec­ond time the house has flooded af­ter a storm six years ago sent a del­uge of wa­ter through. Last time flood­wa­ters came within a me­tre of the front door, but Ri­dler said this time wa­ter crept all the way up the front steps of the home­stead.

All of the roads sur­round­ing the house were un­der wa­ter yes­ter­day, cut­ting off ac­cess to Ka­iaua and Mi­randa.

Much of Franklin was af­fected by heavy rain, with flood­ing caused by ‘Tas­man Tem­pest’ re­ported dis­trictwide.

More than 200 chil­dren and adults were evac­u­ated from the YMCA’s Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, due to flood­ing.

The chil­dren were trans­ported to Hunua School by trac­tor, boat and bus, where the Fire Ser­vice can­teen truck served hot drinks. They were bun­dled up in grey blan­kets, and ate baked beans in Hunua School class­rooms.

Geoff Pear­son, the owner of Wairoa River Farm and ROCKUP Ad­ven­tures near Camp Adair, said his 180 acres had suf­fered ‘‘a lot of dam­age’’.

The river had flooded to the high­est point in over 10 years - higher than the 100-year flood­ing mark - and he had lost cat­tle and fenc­ing.

Pear­son said the vol­ume of rain had taken them by sur­prise. Look­ing at the fore­cast ear­lier in the week he thought ‘‘a cou­ple days of rain, that’ll be great’’.

He said his rain gauges topped out at 150mm and they were al­ready full at mid­night.

‘‘There’s some un­happy peo­ple. Right now it’s rain­ing still - the river’s dropped about a me­tre but the flood­ing is still ex­ten­sive.’’

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