May floods ‘a tough­day’

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - KRIS DANDO

It’s not new that Porirua is sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing, but what occurred on May 14 was some­thing no-one could have fore­seen.

That wa­tery day started out like many other win­ter days in Porirua – windy and cold, with rain an ever-present threat. When the heav­ens opened late in the morn­ing, it poured and poured, and be­fore we knew it, we had a 1-in-100 year storm.

The whole re­gion was af­fected, with roads closed, rivers break­ing their banks, pub­lic trans­port hit and busi­nesses flooded out. Schools shut – Tawa School had to use kayaks to ferry staff and stu­dents out of the grounds – and farms and sports fields be­came lakes.

Grays Rd and Paekakariki Hill Rd were closed for many hours.

Be­tween 11am and 11.30am, 1mm of rain fell per minute.

Some­what iron­i­cally, as Porirua’s CBD be­gan to be over­run with wa­ter, and cars be­gan float­ing, a fire broke out in Pem­ber House, forc­ing it to be evac­u­ated.

The Kapi-Mana News Face­book page be­came a place where peo­ple could post mes­sages and pho­tos re­lat­ing to af­fected ar­eas, and we kept Porirua and Tawa res­i­dents as up­dated as we could. The floods and the or­cas this month pro­vided the big­gest surges in vis­its and new likes for our Face­book page.

We ran three pages of news on May 19, along with lots of pho­tos, some sup­plied by our read­ers.

The rain that fell on May 14 was the most to fall in a sin­gle day in Porirua and Tawa since 1976. The mop­ping up took days and, in some in­stances, weeks.

Porirua City Coun­cil said no stormwa­ter sys­tem – the city’s has been un­der­go­ing a ma­jor up­grade for sev­eral years – could have coped.

Trevor Farmer, who has worked in emer­gency man­age­ment for nearly a decade, said it was the worst flood­ing he had seen, and that the coun­cil’s re­sponse was as good as it could have been.

The coun­cil man­ager of works oper­a­tions, Wil­liam Mid­dle­ton, said it was a tough day for his staff.

Since 2010, Porirua has en­dured an an­nual flood in at least one part of the city. What will 2016 bring?

Tawa train sta­tion un­der wa­ter on May 14.

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