Flooding strikes NZ city of Napier

Ben McKay
·2-min read

The New Zealand city of Napier is in a state of emergency after a "once-in-250 year" storm brought flooding.

The art deco destination endured 242.4mm of rainfall between 9am Monday and 9am on Tuesday, the North Island city's wettest day since 1963 and second-wettest since records began.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said it was fortunate the city hadn't seen any fatalities.

"Our first priority is to ensure that those vulnerable community members are receiving the care they need and that any people that need to be evacuated ... are provided with alternative accomodation," she said.

"This was a one-in-250 year event."

Hawke's Bay Today has reported a Hospital Hill resident, Paul Mathews, rescued his partner who was buried up to her neck in mud.

A neighbour is quoted as saying the man "lost his cat too - he just found its bowl in the mud next to his wife".

Emergency chief Ken Cooper said 30 homes were evacuated on Monday night, with hundreds of homes damaged by the waters.

The strongest downpour saw 54mm fall in the 60 minutes to 6pm on Monday, producing landslips and power outages.

Much of the town's centre was under water on Tuesday morning, including many businesses, with some resorting to kayaking on streets.

Fears of contaminated wastewater among the floodwaters prompted Napier City Council to urge that toilet flushing, showering and dishwashing is kept to a minimum.

Radio NZ reports more than 3000 homes were without power overnight and residents have panic-bought from supermarkets.

Unfortunately for the Hawke's Bay, another large day of rainfall is forecast on Wednesday, with the MetService predicting another 50mm.

The previous 24 hours brought four and a half times the city's monthly average in a single day.