South Taranaki Star

RECORD RAINFALL DELUGES DISTRICT

More heavy rain forecast for this weekend

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It was clean-up time this week after record rainfall fell across Taranaki over Waitangi weekend, with Coastal and South Taranaki taking the biggest hits. The exceptiona­l rainfall caused surface flooding, road washouts, slips, damage to on-farm infrastruc­ture and some residentia­l properties and wastewater overflows at several locations. Damage assessment­s were carried out on properties where self-evacuation­s occurred and at Rāhotu School. Significan­t damage was caused to the District’s road network although all roads are now open (apart from Mid Parihaka Road where the bridge remains closed and Wingrove Road which has a massive slip). Warning signs were erected at York Street Pātea, Mana Bay, Pātea Boat ramp, Tawhiti Stream Hāwera, Middleton Bay and Ōpunakē Lake where wastewater overflows occured.

Please do not collect fish/shellfish and plant life or come into contact with the water at these locations. The warning signs will remain in place until levels are considered safe.

The record downpour was caused by the same front responsibl­e for flooding and evacuation of hundreds of homes on the South Island's West Coast. South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon who’d been visiting the coastal area on Sunday morning said he’d never seen so much rain.

Over Saturday and Sunday, 191 millimetre­s of rain fell in Hāwera and 470mm at

Cape Egmont, Metservice New Zealand reported. For context, Hāwera averages 73mm in total over the entire month in a typical February, it said. Elsewhere in the region 221mm of rain fell in Stratford, 235mm in Inglewood and 219.8mm in Pātea and 485mm was recorded on Taranaki Maunga.

Mayor Nixon says there is a moderate chance of more heavy rain for the District on Saturday which would hinder clean-up work.

“If we get heavy rain again this coming weekend it’s likely we could get more surface flooding and slips, so please stay off the roads if possible and stay away from our streams and rivers. If you do come across flood waters, don’t walk or drive through them as the water may have washed away parts of the road and may contain debris. Treat all flood water, rivers and streams as contaminat­ed and unsafe. Heavy rain flushes contaminan­ts from urban and rural land into waterways and we always advise people not to swim in streams/rivers for at least three days after heavy or prolonged rainfall – even if a site usually has good water quality.”

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