Residents begin cleanup after flooding
As Ash Barron approaches his newly built home, surrounded by water, all he can say is ‘‘at least the sun is out’’.
The builder had nearly finished the house at Outram, about 25 kilometres west of Dunedin, when Friday’s rain started to hit.
Now, it’s flooded throughout, with a lengthy cleanup ahead.
Outram Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer David Cottle said the crew were called to the home on Friday night.
Barron’s home was ‘‘full of water’’.
‘‘It’s just a bloody disaster, to be quite honest. I just feel so sorry for them.
‘‘There is a creek up the back here and it’s just burst its banks and the water has just come down. It’s the first time this has ever happened.’’
One other home had been badly flooded in the new subdivision.
The street was covered in water. A fire engine was pumping water out of the street as Barron, his family and friends started the cleanup.
On Otago’s Taieri Plains, John Parks’ farm is almost entirely under water.
He has endured numerous floods since he bought the property south of Dunedin in 1961. This one was different, Parks said.
‘‘There was a real crisis at the Mill Creek pump. The water was leaking through the floodbank and there was a real danger that the whole bank would collapse.’’
His home sits ‘‘right in the line of fire’’ of the flood-prone Taieri River.
‘‘I wouldn’t have liked to be in front of it if it had burst. It would have just been a wall of water.’’
Parks received a knock at the door about noon on Saturday telling his family to leave the property.
His wife and daughter left, but Parks stayed behind to move his stock. The animals made it to safety, but his farm was not so lucky.
Dunedin remains under a state of emergency, but the focus was now on recovery following significant damage in parts of the wider city caused by heavy rain and flooding, the Dunedin City Council said.
Dunedin Civil Defence Controller Sue Bidrose said about 130 properties – most of them in the Henley and Taieri areas – remained evacuated last night.
More than 25 slips had affected roads around the wider city, many of them on the Otago Peninsula. Some areas were effectively cut off, such as the peninsula north of Harwood, where no alternative access route was available.
The DCC said it would take months to clear all the slips.
A total of 84mm of rain was recorded in Timaru over the weekend, according to MetService. Waimate received 95mm, while 138mm fell in Geraldine.
It was not the 150-200mm initially forecast, but the deluge was enough to cause havoc around the region and keep Civil Defence teams working around the clock.
It also saw some people choose to evacuate their homes as the floodwaters rose.