Heavy rain makes its mark in a hurry

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

It was ’’busi­ness as usual’’ at The Up­per Hutt Leader on Mon­day, Jan­uary 30, two work­ing days and a busy week­end af­ter the Fair­fax news­pa­per of­fice was flooded and forced to close.

The cen­tral ceil­ing of the PIne Ave of­fice col­lapsed un­der the weight of wa­ter and the en­tire of­fice floor was drenched as a con­se­quence of Wed­nes­day evening’s in­tense heavy rain.

Large parts of the city re­ceived up to 20 mil­lime­tres of rain in sev­eral min­utes.

There was flood­ing on many sub­ur­ban roads and a num­ber of CBD com­mer­cial build­ings were af­fected in­clud­ing a num­ber in The Mall, Maid­stone Countdown su­per­mar­ket, the Pet Cen­tre and the Mon­terey Cin­ema.

More than 100 film­go­ers had to be evac­u­ated from the four-screen Mon­tery com­plex af­ter the foyer ceil­ing col­lapsed and fire alarms were set off.

‘‘We had a lot of dam­age but we were lucky in the sense the wa­ter came in through the ceil­ing there, not the back of­fice or in the cin­e­mas them­selves,’’ man­ager Ja­son Kel­man said.

‘‘We had a full evac­u­a­tion with peo­ple leav­ing by the fire ex­its af­ter the screen­ings stopped and an an­nounce­ment was made in each cin­ema.’’

Mon­tery was up and run­ning from lunchtime the next day af­ter a re­set­ting of the alarm while the un­lucky film­go­ers will be able to use tick­ets kept from the night in the fu­ture.

The Mall man­ager Grant Burns said four re­tail premises were af­fected in the main com­plex as was the nearby Pet Cen­tre.

‘‘We be­lieve the storm started up with hail and that blocked the drains ahead of the rain com­ing in so quickly. We also had wa­ter in some of pub­lic ar­eas so the de­ci­sion was made to close The Ware­house early.’’

Roof tiles at Maid­stone’s Countdown Su­per­mar­ket fell down and shop­ping aisles were flooded.

‘‘We closed the store straight away [and] cor­doned off the af­fected area,’’ duty su­per­vi­sor SarahMae Thom said.

The sud­den down­pour tar­geted Up­per Hutt ex­clu­sively, MetSer­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Lisa Mur­ray said. Data showed a southerly front rolling through and de­liv­ered the brief and heavy rain­storm af­ter clash­ing with heat ris­ing from the ground in Up­per Hutt.

Up to 12mm of rain fell in 10 min­utes. ‘‘Even in an hour, that would be con­sid­ered heavy rain,’’ Mur­ray said.


A sud­den storm caused flood­ing in Up­per Hutt

A flooded Up­per Hutt Leader of­fice.

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