As ex-cyclone Wilma moves away from New Zealand, officials are left counting the cost of the storm.
The worst of the rain has cleared Northland, Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula, although strong winds are expected to follow.
Sewage leak in Bay of Islands
The storm spilled raw sewage in the Bay of Islands as several pumping stations were flooded out. Far North District Council spokesman Rick McCall is warning people not to eat seafood from the area.
“We’re yet to establish the extent of the spills but we know some raw sewage will have gone into the Bay of Islands harbour”, he told Newstalk ZB.
Mr McCall also wants people to conserve drinking water, because the treatment plant at Haruru Falls is flooded. “We have about a day and a half storage left in the reservoirs”, he said, “and it’ll last a lot longer if people conserve water.”
He says repairs can’t start until flood waters recede.
Flooding puts homes at risk
The Fire Service responded to more than 350 weather related incidents overnight and this morning. It dealt with 120 incidents in Northland, another 120 in Auckland, 40 in Waikato, and 75 in Bay of Plenty.
Two people feared missing after the wild weather brought their house down a cliff on Waiheke Island, were eventually found safe and well. Their house had been reduced to matchwood on the beach after sliding down in heavy rain.
Numerous homes were also evacuated, especially in rural areas of Whangarei.
Meanwhile, at Te Puke near Tauranga, the Wairi River has broken its banks. Katherine Marsh told Newstalk ZB she’s seen nothing like it.
“The water’s just pouring onto all our flat lands we’re living on and it’s just like a big waterfall. It’s getting worse and worse and worse and it’s coming up to our houses now” she said.
Livestock drowned in South Auckland
Some livestock have been lost in the floods in south Auckland and several blocks at Clevedon are reported to be under water.
Local man Hugh Fulton says at high tide, water was far higher than anything he’s seen before.”There was just a wall of water came down from upstream” he explained. “We tried to rescue horses and some calves but there was too much water pressure and they drowned.”
Homepage image / Stu Greaves