Sth Dunedin flood worst for many

An aerial photo of  flooding in St Clair yesterday, showing Hargest Cres (centre) and Forbury Park Raceway (top right). Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
An aerial photo of flooding in St Clair yesterday, showing Hargest Cres (centre) and Forbury Park Raceway (top right). Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
An aerial tour of southern Dunedin yesterday revealed the extent of the deluge described by many residents as the worst they have seen.

Tonga Park and most of Bathgate Park were awash by late afternoon, while the track at Forbury Park Raceway and most of the grounds were also submerged. Cars struggled through the deep floodwater which engulfed Hargest Cres and surrounding streets, looking more like boats as they moved through the water.

Some residents were evacuating through knee-deep water as the 4.30pm high tide approached, and others used their vehicles to block off streets to through traffic.

Resident John Ferguson said he had experienced some flooding but had ''never seen it like this''. He

had just finished building a new shed but that had flooded.

''I'd just lined it with MDF, and planned to seal it just in case it got wet - it's a bit late for that now.''

Broughton St was already-knee deep by noon, with water ankle-deep in some business properties.

McKeown Chemicals manager Mike Aughterlony assessed the damage before noon.

''The front door has got a bit wet before, but the water's never come in this far,'' he said. The decision was taken to close St Clair Primary School and Queen's High School early in the afternoon.

Despite the depth of the water outside, there were only a few reports of water seeping into houses. However, with only half the expected rainfall received by 5pm yesterday, that was likely to change overnight.

The Fire Service examined conditions in the area after being called to a house in Surrey St. However, a spokesman said there was little they could do for occupants.

People were encouraged to keep electrical equipment off the ground, the spokesman said.

''This area's always one of the worst. The water comes straight down from the mountains and the drains just don't cope with it.

''This is one of the worst [floods] I've ever seen.''


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