Campers flee as flood­wa­ters rise in min­utes

Herald on Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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