Flooding shuts schools in Porirua

Flooding shuts schools in Porirua

Porirua is in clean up mode after heavy rains caused significant disruption in the city this morning.

Weather-related callouts kept the fire service busy this morning with more than 50 calls in Porirua between 9am and midday. Most calls were related to domestic flooding and four people were rescued from their cars.

Flooding shuts schools in Porirua

Cannons Creek was one of the hard hit areas (Supplied)

Now, as the rain has subsided, the damage is becoming clearer.

The Porirua City Council says while assessments are still being done, the fire service went to 14 homes affected by floodwater, though that number may increase as more information is gathered.

It also closed at least six schools.

The council activated its emergency operations centre at 10am with emergency services working with residents and businesses.

Mayor Nick Leggett says the council will be looking at how it responded to the event, but believed the city coped well considering the conditions.

"This was a big downpour –– Porirua had 36mm of rain in just one hour this morning.  Roads are built to be emergency overflows for stormwater and most functioned today well today, although there are pockets where improvements will be necessary," he says.

Work done last year in areas like Takapuwahia and Thompson Grove which were flood-prone have mitigated damage there this time around.

However, there were still low-lying areas such as the Mega Centre and some schools which were damaged by the high tide and rising waters.

Most roads are now open, though will still have debris so motorists are urged to take care.

Flooding shuts schools in Porirua


The water has reached up to the wheels of cars on Prosser St (Supplied)

Porirua residents were being urged to stay indoors as heavy rain moved across the city. The rain and flooding is now starting to subside.

Titahi Bay School on Kura St, Horouata Marae on Whitford Brown Ave, Rangikura School and Marearoa Marae were opened to those affected by the flooding to take shelter.

Paremata Station was completely flooded with firefighters helping railway staff clear it.

The fire service set up a regional command centre to monitor the weather as it moves toward Palmerston North and Masterton.

Up to six schools in Porirua closed and parts of the city were hit with heavy rain this morning, the first downpour in the area for some time.

Porirua City Council warned people to stay out of floodwaters as it could be contaminated with sewage or contain live wires.

However, it had asked residents to help out, asking them to try unblock any storm water drains outside or near their property, but only if the water is ankle-deep or less.

"We ask that you pop on a coat and unblock it to prevent further flooding from occurring."

This morning, Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett said the emergency management office had been activated because of the "significant surface flooding" in the city centre and eastern suburbs.

"We have got people out checking drains, making sure they're not blocked, we've got staff assessing situations.

"From what I've seen of surface flooding in the city centre, a lot of it came up pretty quickly, it's now receded, but we're expecting more weather later in the afternoon," he says.

Heavy flooding closed the Cobham Court car park, with people urged to stay away from it.

There have been no reports of injuries or residential evacuations.

Flooding shuts schools in Porirua

A lot of water has also hit Warspite Ave (Supplied)

A number of schools, including Porirua School, Paremata School and Mana College have been shut.

Paremata School sent all 350 pupils home as the rain continues to bucket down. 

Principal Bryce Coleman says it's the worst flooding he's seen in five years and that when the water begins to bubble up in the toilets it becomes a healthy and safety issue and students have to go home.

Caretaker Eddie Asomua says the rain's coincided with high tide so there's nowhere for the water to go. 

"I'm going to have a big job when the rain stops," he said.

Maraeroa School also closed, sending their 118 students home. Some were still waiting in the library to be picked up.

Principal Kathleen O'Hare says the water has come into the school, but it has been worse.

"Water's come in, not as bad as it has been but if it keeps going it could be -- who knows?

She believed the school would be able to open tomorrow.

"We've been there, done that before and everybody's onto it pretty quickly," she says.

The rain made getting around the city difficult, with flooding around the Mega Centre which has flow-on effects for people.

"That's going to affect traffic, it's going to affect people's ability to get places it's all the knock-on effects in these kind of instances so we want people to sit tight."

It was providing sand bags to residents and businesses if they wanted them and to pick them up from either the Titahi Bay fire station, Porirua Park and Postgate Park next to Postgate School until 2pm. 

Flooding shuts schools in Porirua

There's also surface flooding around New World in Mana (Simon Moore / Supplied) 

The MetService says periods of heavy rain are expected in the Wellington region, with between 50 and 60mm in some places between 7am and 1pm.

In issuing its severe weather warning, the MetService says because the Wellington region has had a good run of dry weather, surface flooding was possible as drains could struggle to cope with the "short duration heavy rain and an influx of autumn leaves".

Because it hasn't rained for so long, the ground is hard so water is running off it.

The MetService says the weather is a result of a southerly and norwesterly converging and creating an active trough.


The New Zealand Transport Agency says all state highways which run through Wellington are open, but are urging motorists to take care because roads might be slippery.