At around 3.30am today (Tuesday 28 February), Police started receiving calls about flooding on the streets in the Mangapapa suburb of Gisborne.
This quickly turned into needing people to evacuate their homes as torrential rain led to floodwater rising fast. In some areas the water rose to chest height within minutes, while elsewhere the ground levels of two-storey houses were under water.
Police, FENZ and ambulance all responded, working to get people to safety as the floodwaters continued to rise.
Some quick thinking from Shift Commander Matthew Hall at the Central Emergency Communications Centre led to Surf Life Saving being called to assist as some houses could not be accessed, including one which had a ‘river’ running in front of it, trapping a 38-week pregnant woman.
Residents of Valley Road forced to evacuate their home after floodwater swamped their address.
As the rain continued to fall, hillsides gave way and slips started in residential areas, including one on Ayton Street which then required a few houses in the area to be evacuated.
Search and Rescue and Civil Defence set up an evacuation site at The House of Breakthrough Church on Ormond Road.
By 5.30am the rain had eased and the flooding had subsided. MetService reported the amount of rainfall in the area as being 23.4 mm/h of rainfall between 3am and 5am.
Fingers crossed Mother Nature cuts Gisborne residents a break, to assist the mammoth clean-up ahead.