2 Feb 2018

Weather: West Coast, Dunedin battered by storm Fehi

From Morning Report, 7:11 am on 2 February 2018

Thousands of people are still without power, roads are closed and flights have been disrupted by the remnants of tropical storm Fehi that swept across the country. Fehi brought winds of up to 160km/h, torrential rain and to coastal areas, a destructive combination of storm surges and king tides. At least 115 motorists were stranded in their vehicles overnight near Fox Glacier after downed power lines and trees blocked the State Highway 6. Further up the island the town of Hokitika pulled out the stops last night to provide beds and food for some 70 stranded travellers caught up in the extreme weather. Two welfare centres were set up, with 30 people at one and a further 70 elsewhere in the town. Council worker Derek Blight said the emergency accommodation was needed and welcomed. In Dunedin the stormwater drains couldn't cope as 40 millimetres of rain fell and overflows forced sewage onto some streets. People were also been forced out of their homes in the Nelson and Taranaki areas. One woman who had to flee from her flooded house near Westport says she is not expecting to be able to get back into her house quickly. King tides rose rapidly and before she knew it, Ruth Vaega and her grandchildren were wading inside their Snodgrass Road house. The grandchildren and their mother were able to get out by car, with Ruth and her husband opting to sit in their caravan on high ground all day.