29 Mar 2017

Auckland drivers trapped in cars by heavy rain

8:17 pm on 29 March 2017

A man who towed motorists trapped in floodwaters to safety in a rural area of South Auckland says he lost count of how many cars he pulled out.

Heavy rain has caused problems for drivers and flooded buildings in the Auckland region.

While Wellington has been choked in fog, causing all flights to be called off, further north persistent heavy rain has been an issue for many Aucklanders.

Cameron Vernon, who lived in Ramarama, said he went to three different locations - Davies Road, Maxted Road and Dale Road - to rescue stuck motorists.

"As we do when the flooding happens, you check on your neighbours and yeah, saw a few people in distress, and had the trailer, so just started helping people out."

Mr Vernon said the floodwaters were about a metre deep and it took about two hours to get everyone to safety.

"People were trying to go through the floodwater when they shouldn't of, and got stuck, so we just towed them out. There were other people who had just been visiting friends, so we just put them on the car trailer and towed them through the water to get them to the other side safely."

He said he towed out nine cars, but then stopped counting and just focused on getting people to dry land.

Counties Manukau police said they had received reports of a number of car crashes and vehicles stuck in water.

Fire Service spokesman Colin Underdown confirmed wet weather in southern areas such as Ramarama and Pukekohe had left some motorists stranded in their cars.

He said one driver trapped in floodwaters managed to get out of the vehicle but the car had to be towed out of the water by a local farmer.

Mr Underdown said some buildings have been flooded too.

Auckland Transport said there was flooding across the region, so anyone who was out and about should take extra care.

'It's too much now to cope'

Today's flooding has again hit an 80-year-old Auckland woman's home, forcing her to start looking for a new place to live.

Brano Prasad has been having flooding problems at her Remeura property ever since her daughter, Anjala Prasad, found a hole near a council stormwater drain in her backyard last November.

Bano Prasad left and her daughter, Anjala Prasad.

Bano Prasad left and her daughter, Anjala Prasad Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

The heavy downpour in Auckland last night and this morning is the third time in three weeks that the house has flooded, and Anjala Prasad said her mother had had enough and planned on selling the house.

"It's too much now to cope for one person and she does live here on her own," she said.

There was little she could do to stop the flooding in her mother's basement when it rained, except to clean out the leftover debris, she said.

Ms Prasad said she contacted the Auckland Council about the drain when they first discovered the issue, but it was only recently that the council had sent engineers to look at the property.

Healthy Waters engineer Uys De Wet said he had visited the property a number of times over the past two weeks and the stormwater drain was faulty.

Mr De Wet said the council planned to fix the drain as soon as possible, but Ms Prasad said she was tired of waiting.

She had hired her own private contractor to try and get the job done, she said.

Closed roads and rain dumps

Earlier today, surface flooding closed two roads in south Auckland.

Subway Rd in Pukekohe was closed between Manukau Road and Station Road, as was Ponga Road outside number 202 in Papakura.

There was also heavy rain further north, with MetService saying 18mm of rain fell in just 20 minutes at Whangarei Airport this afternoon.

Up to 25mm of rain was dumped on some regions in an hour this morning while others have had 40mm over eight hours, MetService said.

The rain was due to ease, but further falls were possible and there was a moderate risk of thunderstorms.