Wellington eases back towards normality after severe flooding

The Wellington region is slowly making its way back towards normality after yesterday's devastating floods.

One person was confirmed dead, 80-year-old Dr Paul Hill of Karori, after his body was found submerged in floodwaters in Petone.

Train services have slowly been restarted, with the Melling Line looking like it would be the last to re-open, on Monday morning. Further details of the current transport situation were available on the TransMetro website.

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Porirua Station remained closed while its flooded subway was cleared and locals had been filmed jumping into the water at the station.

A new, fresh rain front hit the Kapiti coast this afternoon, bringing considerable downpours to the already-soaked region.

The Wellington Student Volunteer Army swung into action today, helping with a range of clean-up projects for anyone who needed help.

The NZTA was still asking for motorists to avoid using the highways if possible, as congestion was still an issue in the region and contractors needed time to restore full functionality to the road network.

This morning Kapiti Mayor Ross Church thanked emergency services staff, and said the general public had responded well to the situation.

The day's events, as they happened:

5.40pm Train service update

Trans Metro says services on the Hutt Line have resumed between Wellington and Upper Hutt every half hour.

Services were also running on the Kapiti Line between Wellington and Plimmerton while work continues on a slip near Paekakariki.

Porirua Station remains closed while debris are cleared from the subway.

On the Johnsonville Line, trains are operating to a half hourly timetable and train services will resume on the Melling Line on Monday morning.

There are bus replacements to some services on the Wairarapa Line with a train running at 10.25pm tonight between Wellington and Masterton. Regular train services on this line will resume tomorrow.

The situation could change depending on weather conditions and there may track closures if further work is required.

2.58pm Police identify man killed by flood

Police have released the name of the man found dead in flood water in Petone yesterday.

He was Dr Paul Hill of Karori. More information is available in the full story here.

1.51pm Trains beginning to run again

Services on the Johnsonville Line resumed this afternoon with the 1.32pm service from Wellington and the 1.30pm service from Johnsonville.

Bus replacements are now operating on the Kapiti Line and Hutt Valley Line on a half hourly timetable, but delays were expected.

The Melling Line remains inoperative.

The 3.40pm service from Masterton to Wellington and the 5.30pm service from Wellington to Masterton will be replaced by buses., while the 4.25pm service from Wellington to Masterton is cancelled.

1.22pm Fresh deluge to hit Kapiti

A considerable front is making its way down the Kapiti coast, bringing more rain to the already soaked region.

MetService was forecasting about 6.5mm of rain to fall on the Kapiti Coast before 2pm, and Palmerston north could also expect consistent rain from 2pm, with heavy rain forecast between 4pm and 8pm.

In Wellington, the front would set in after 2pm, bringing lighter but consistent rain into the night.

Two fronts are moving on to the country this afternoon as a cold southerly moves up the country.

Temperatures in Kapiti were forecast to be between 10degC and 16degC, while Wellington could expect temperatures between 11degC and 14degC.

12.15pm: Clean-up crew

The Wellington Student Volunteer Army has been set up to coordinate clean-up crews in the Wellington region.

You can find more information here.

11.36am: Positive news on the weather front

Good news Wellington! The watch for heavy rain has been lifted, but we will still see some showers and strong cold southerlies later. ^SG

— MetService (@MetService) May 14, 2015

11.32am: SH1 closure

Coast Rd/ SH1 will be closed southbound from noon until 4.30pm, NZTA says.

11.14am: Train update

Tranz Metro says there is still no time frame for the resumption of Wellington train services. However bus replacements are being organised for this afternoon.

Clean-up work has included clearing culverts and repairing points on the Johsonville line, clearing debris and repairing damage on the track near Petone, and checking substations on the Kapiti Line between Tawa and Porirua.

There is still major damage where yesterday's slip hit the north junction, north of Paekakariki.

11.05am: What a difference a day makes

This is during and after photos from the El Rancho holiday park. It is back open and is nearly booked out for the weekend. Thanks to Michelle von Keisenberg for the photos. 

10.45am: Contractors arrive to pump out water from the Julius family's backyard.

10.25am: The big clean-up

Plenty of Kapiti residents woke up to a sodden back yard. Here is the scene at the Titoki Rd, Raumati home of the Julius family, who were joined by ONE News reporter James Ransley.

10.15am: Extra buses

With trains still not running, Metlink Wellington says extra route 83 buses between Courtenay Place and Queensgate will be running until 2.30pm to get people out to the Hutt Valley and into the city.

9.30am: Ross Church interview

Here's our interview with Kapiti Mayor Ross Church.

9.22pm: Weather warning

The MetService has issued a new severe weather warning for the Tararua District and Hawkes Bay south of Waipukurau.

70-100mm could accumulate in a nine-hour period.

A warning for the Kapiti Coast and Horowhenua south of Foxton has been lifted but a watch will be maintained as further rain is expected this afternoon and evening.

8.28am: Fog alert

Drivers in north Wellington now have fog to contend with.

#WgtnTraffic #DriveSafe with #Fog on #SH1 around #ChurtonPark and #Johnsonville #SwitchOn2BSeen ^DB

— NZTA Wellington (@NZTAWgtn) May 14, 2015

 It's not all bad though. 

But wait, there's more! @TheHutt valley looking gorgeous as @Wellington_NZ gets a reprieve @WeatherWatchNZ

— Paola Brett (@paolabrett) May 14, 2015

8.04am: Avoid the road

NZTA has once again appealed for people in Wellington to stay off the road if possible

Transport Agency Regional Performance Manager Mark Owen says that while all highways are now fully open, this should not be seen as an invitation for 'business as usual' commuting habits, as the suspension of train services until at least this afternoon is likely to result in further congestion.

There is still some #Flooding on #SH1 near #Raumati. Currently one southbound lane is closed but there are #NoDelays ^DB

— NZTA Wellington (@NZTAWgtn) May 14, 2015

The traffic lights at the bottom of #NgaioGorge are currently not working. Avoid the area if possible. Using #SH1 is faster ^DB

— NZTA Wellington (@NZTAWgtn) May 14, 2015

7.47am: Rain to ease

Some promising news on the weather front. Breakfast reporter James Ransley says the Kapiti Coast can now expect light rain this afternoon. Earlier predictions suggested it could be heavy.

The 6am satellite shows more features waiting to the west of the country. Keep a check on the latest forecasts ^JL

— MetService (@MetService) May 14, 2015

7.34am: Kapiti Mayor

Kapiti Mayor Ross Church says while there was overnight rain, it was not as heavy as predicted.

"There is still a lot of water around, a lot of surface flooding, a lot of infrastructure damage, but it's not as bad as it could have been," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.

"Thankfully it's a lovely day here on the coast this morning, so it's a case really more of clean up."

He says there were about 30 council staff manning the emergency centre from 4am to 9pm yesterday, and 3000 sandbags were delivered.

Mr Church paid tribute to emergency services staff, and said the general public generally behaved in an appropriate manner.

He said flooding in some places was the worst he had seen in 35 years.

7.30pm: Hutt Update


Blue sky this morning and all the roads in Lower Hutt including the Riverbank Carpark are open. Unfortunately the...

Posted by Hutt City Council on Thursday, May 14, 2015

7.13am: The morning commute

Breakfast traffic reporter Selena Hawkins says travel time from Petone to the city is about 30 minutes at present.

6.56am: Kapiti update

Here's the latest from the Kapiti Coast District Council.

It's been a quiet night here on the Kapiti Coast, phew

- Rain has eased overnight, but the forecast is for light rain easing with a southerly expected later today.

- Take care when travelling around the coast today because there may still be surface flooding and debris on some roads.

- Stay away from waterways and floodwaters - rivers and streams are still running high and may contain debris.

- We’ll have crews out checking roads and council infrastructure during the day.

- State Highway 1 heading south into Wellington is open, including both lanes on the Coast Road - but disruption and delays are likely.

- Surface flooding has seen SH1 reduced to one lane southbound for a short section near Poplar Ave at Raumati South.

- The Transport Agency is advising commuters to consider postponing their journeys or working from home if they can.

- Matatua Road between Alexander Road and Tui Road remains closed and will be assessed throughout the day.

6.35am: Evacuations and call outs

Civil Defence have evacuated 27 houses in Kapiti due to threatening flood waters after a wild weather bomb dumped over 150 millimetres of rain in 24 hours.

The Waikanae river reached a 10 year high with other rivers in the area breaking their banks and flowing onto nearby properties.

Fire and Police have been monitoring the situation overnight keeping roads clear and assessing river levels and are expected to have a better picture of the damage overnight as daylight breaks.

All #SH are now open in #Wellington however we still advise against any unnecessary travel as roads may be chaotic again today ^DB

— NZTA Wellington (@NZTAWgtn) May 14, 2015

Contractors have been working to clear railway lines and ensure they are all fit and safe for purpose.

The Fire Service has received over 500 callouts across the Wellington region since the deluge and with the roads being blocked, fire crews from as far as Palmerston North have travelled down to lend a helping hand.

There is still surface flooding on much of the Kapiti Coast.

6.28am: "It's just an absolute mess"

Breakfast weatherman Sam Wallace says the bad weather is not yet over.

"It's a situation I've never seen before. Three low pressures centered directly over New Zealand. It's just a remarkable thing."

The full weather warning for Wellington and Kapiti has expired, but there is still a weather watch in place for the capital and Wairarapa, as well as Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato and Waitomo.

There is a warning for Bay of Plenty, with 80mm of rain expected up to 9am.

In the last 24 hours the Kapiti Coast has received 134mm of rain. Lower Hutt received 87mm, Waikanae 67mm and Upper Hutt 66mm.

6.18am: Taranaki warning

Police say there is surface flooding on many roads in the Taranaki region.

They are asking people to remain off the roads if possible. If travel is required, they urge motorists to watch following distances and speeds.

6.15am: Roads clogged

Wellingtonians have been urged to call off their usual commutes, as flooding caused by a deluge of heavy rain continues to clog roads and disrupt public transport.

All train services have been cancelled on the Wellington network until at least midday, and bus replacement services are limited.

New Zealand Transport Agency highways manager Neil Walker says the lack of train services could put more pressure on roads already affected by flooding and slips.

He is urging commuters to delay travel or to consider working from home.

"The best way to steer clear of congestion is to plan around it.

"If people stick to their usual commute, they run the risk of getting stuck in traffic jams, because there will be more cars on the road.

"We're urging employers to be as flexible as possible to enable Wellington to keep moving."

Mr Walker says crews have worked through the night on a massive cleanup effort.

They deserve to be applauded for their "heroic" efforts in almost unheard of conditions, he says.

Man found dead in floodwaters

An 80-year-old man has been found dead in floodwaters near his submerged vehicle in Wellington.

The man's car was found submerged on Bracken Street in Petone around 11.30am yesterday with its keys still in the ignition, police say.

His body was found in floodwaters near his vehicle later in the afternoon.

The death is not being considered suspicious.


Clean-up efforts are underway and train services have resumed following torrential rain in the capital. Source: 1 NEWS

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