Oh Lord, didn’t it rain!
And it blew. Yesterday was like no other day since we came to Wellington in 1980. It was almost up there with the disastrous floods of 1976, though it’s hard to compare since there have been massive improvements in flood protection measures since then. The day began with a landslide blocking road and rail traffic on the road between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay. The Haywards Hill road was closed by flooding as was Grays Rd and then SH2 between Petone and Horokiwi. Then the Wellington Rail system was shut down. Soon the rest of New Zealand was cut off and we had to contemplate sending relief parcels to the poor souls in the outer areas of the country. Schools were closed, and people who had got to work in the morning were faced with finding a way home in the evening, or finding somewhere to sleep. Some hardy souls trudged beside the deserted and sometimes inundated railway line for the whole miserable wet and windy twelve km from Wellington to Petone. For my part, being retired and at home, I made a cautious venture into the weather, careful to stay on visible roads, and to drive very slowly through surface flooding. The wind and rain were such that I was unwilling to get out of the car in most of the places I went, so it was back to Hikoikoi. The river levels combined with the tide made for a different view of an otherwise familiar scene.
Not only was there significant amounts of floating detritus, but familiar objects were immersed.
The rain just kept getting heavier, so I decided to head home before I found myself marooned. I went up over Maungaraki rather than my normal route up Normandale Rd. As I was drying and thawing, I was browsing Facebook to see who was telling what stories of the storm when a photo hit me between the eyes. It was a photograph of a large slip on Normandale Rd, and the house visible in the picture was that of my neighbour. I don’t know if the slip broke the water main or a broken water main caused the slip, but either way our water supply was cut off.
To my great surprise, there were already diggers in action, heroes in high-visibility jackets and ineffectual rainwear striving to restore normality even before the disruption had stopped happening. As you may see from the picture above water was welling up through the slumped mound of clay. Fortunately, we had wine so it wasn’t necessary to broach the casks in our Earthquake kit to quench our thirst. However, even I won’t wash my hands in red wine, so eventually we opened one. Then our heroes outside restored the water supply.
It was a spectacular day.
*Five Feet High and Rising by Johnny Cash