Campers flee as floodwaters rise in minutes
Several members of a church youth group holidaying at a Piha campground were among about 100 people evacuated yesterday.
A woman who asked not to be named said the floodwaters came in within a matter of a few minutes.
“All of a sudden we looked up to see all this water just flooding towards us. It was so fast.
“It carried down logs and just [flooded] the whole ground in about two minutes.
“We literally just picked ourselves up and got out.”
Teen Gideon Hope said he had just finished afternoon devotion when the waters flooded into the hall he was in.
“The water just came in, we couldn’t do anything about it.
“It was a bit scary,” the Henderson 16-year-old said.
Phil Wallis from the Piha Surf School said he was in the water taking a lesson when the rain started.
“It was horizontal. In almost 40 years here it’s the strongest rain in a short period I’ve seen. You couldn’t see the beach.
“Immediately the stream started just pumping out brown water.”
A nearby stream that usually didn’t have any flowing water transformed into a torrent.
“It was almost a standing wave coming down the beach.”
Floodwater began receding by 8pm and all evacuees were able to return to their homes.