Swamped by record flooding
Johnny Gay knew he was in trouble when raging water knocked over a high perimeter fence and flooded his home, leaving him stranded in a sea of filthy water.
Homes in the Pauatahanui and Judgeford areas of Porirua took the full brunt of Tuesday’s kingtide fuelled floods.
Gay’s family home at Judgeford became an island as it was swamped by the fast-rising floodwaters on Tuesday.
Partner Kate Bryson said there were moments when she feared for her life, wondering if the house might be pushed off its foundations.
‘‘It was scary to think how high the water was going to get but I was sure the house was solid.’’
Surging at 80 cubic metres a second, the Pauatahanui Stream recorded its biggest flooding since records began in 1975, Greater Wellington Regional Council figures show.
Bryson, Gay and his mum Sue were in the house as contractors tried to lift them out with a digger, but to no avail.
When he realised the king tide was pushing the surging water higher, he knew the water was coming inside.
‘‘But at the end of the day noone’s hurt. We’re looking at getting the house jacked up even more and making it into a Queenslander in the middle of Judgeford,’’ Gay said.
Floodwaters rose about 25cm inside the house, destroying electrical goods and damaging furnishings and children’s toys.
Neighbours and contractors joined in the cleanup on Wednesday, salvaging household items and pulling out sodden gib board.
‘‘We are really overwhelmed by how everyone has pulled together to help us,’’ Bryson said.
Down the road in Pauatahanui, contractor Richard Renshaw, who lives in the flood plain near the village, fared little better.
Renshaw lives in an elevated house bounded by a stream, with the Pauatahanui Inlet within about a kilometre at high tide.
He raised the house, built in 1867, about two metres after the area was hit by floods in 2004, and was amazed when Tuesday’s flood started lapping over his doorstep as it immersed a children’s swing set outside.
He suspects massive earthworks on the nearby Transmission Gully roading project may have changed the landscape, making the area more flood prone.
The waters peaked about 3.30pm and were flowing at a rapid 74 cubic metres per second, he said.
Five of his chickens drowned while thousands of dollars worth of machinery and appliances are ruined on the silt covered property.
Filthy floodwaters surged into Johnny Gay’s Pauatahanui house.