Watch: 'Like Niagra Falls' - Napier orchard manager describes traumatic scenes as deluge of rain leaves crops waterlogged


A Napier orchard manager has described the dramatic scenes he witnessed in yesterday's torrential downpours as a jet boat was used to rescue people from a two-story house near his flooded orchard.

Jordan Alison's cherry orchard was turned into a lake in the torrential rains yesterday.
Source: 1 NEWS

Cherry Orchard operational manager Jordan Alison described the flooding of the area as "like the Niagara Falls" when it broke through a stop bank the company constructed just months earlier.

He said there'll be a monetary loss from the event with the floodwaters damaging fence wires and pushing wooden posts out of place. Luckily, the 5000 cherry plants weren't in season for fruiting, but the waterlogged crops could still be damaged.

Yesterday morning, he said one tonne wooden post piles were pushed hundreds of metres by the flood waters. Some are now in the ocean along with a portaloo that was at the site. Large hay bales from the nearby farms are now sitting in the orchard.

Water in the orchard is thigh high in some areas. An underground flood pump has been set up to try and drain the crops.

Mr Alison says he used a jet boat yesterday to help a farmer rescue cows from floodwaters.  

Eskdale Holiday Park's owners say they were lucky, and that all of the guests on site at the time were happy to get out of there as the water rose.

More than 80 homes in Eskdale and Rissington are also being checked for flooding by buildings inspectors after yesterday's torrential rain.

There's no report back yet to the council over how many of the homes, deemed at risk from a helicopter flight yesterday, have actually flooded.

Hastings District Council spokesperson Diane Joyce says while the heavy rain was expected with severe weather warnings in place, the council didn't think the localised downpour in the areas just north of Napier would be so heavy and damaging.

It's too early to say whether monetary support from the council will be offered as they are still getting a grasp of how bad residential damage is.

The catchment area of Esk River remains swollen. Ms Joyce said the local council and regional council would review whether more stop banks in the area were needed and if anything could have changed how flooded the rivers became.

Jo and Owen Bell say there were families living at the Eskdale Caravan Park whose belongings were washed away by the Esk River yesterday.
Source: 1 NEWS

Eskdale motor camp resident Jo Bell said they need answers from the council as to why the Esk River was dammed up, with the result when the water broke through turning the campground into a wasteland.

Campground cleaner Peter Stafford said the flood was a once in a lifetime event and didn't think any measures could have improved what happened, which no one expected. Mud and silt is so thick at the campsite that residents are struggling to walk through it.

Thirty years after the country's most costly storm hit the area, Cyclone Bola, many locals can't believe they're now cleaning up mess in the area again.

Many residents say while Cyclone Bola came over several days and caused more damage on the whole, the speed and impact of the flooding at Eskdale was worse this time round.

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