‘Huge’ amount of rainfall as thunderstorms hammer region

A Cambridge family were blissfully unaware that during Tuesday night’s storm a neighbor’s tree crashed onto their house.

A “huge” amount of rain battered Waikato overnight as thunderstorms rolled across the region.

MetService meteorologist John Law said Hamilton’s weather station at the airport recorded 63mm of rain in 24 hours with the heaviest falls arriving in less than an hour

“There was 37mm of rainfall at around 8pm on Tuesday night, that is a huge amount of rainfall to come through,” he said on Wednesday morning.

To go with the rainfall, there were 1000 lightning strikes that lit up the sky.

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Aaron Bethune was aware of the tumultuous weather as thunder could be heard through his noise-cancelling headphones late on Tuesday night.

But it wasn’t until his wife woke up on Wednesday morning and saw a branch on the lawn and wondered what else had happened, that they saw the tree had toppled over from the driveway next door onto the corner of their lounge roof.

“We didn’t hear anything, my youngest son came into our room in the early hours of the morning, and he believes he may have heard it but can’t be sure as it was a noisy night weather wise.”

Bethune said the house, which they built two years ago, had suffered some damage to the chimney and roofing tiles.

Storm damage from last night, a tree has fallen from neighbors property onto Aaron Bethune's home.

Kelly Hodel/Stuff

Storm damage from last night, a tree has fallen from neighbors property onto Aaron Bethune’s home.

Neighbors Rosy and Brian McWha, who own the tree, were shocked to see it uprooted.

They had planted their long driveway with trees in 1986 and hadn’t seen any problem with the 36-year-old oak tree.

The clean up began fairly early on Wednesday morning

Kelly Hodel/Stuff

The clean up began fairly early on Wednesday morning

Law said there is still a chance of more thunderstorms and rain during Wednesday, but there is a change coming over the next few days.

“We start to find we will lose that very warm air across the country which is good news in terms of helping to generate those thunderstorms. We are going to find showery westerlies.”

The thunderstorms should ease by Friday, but there will be showers through the weekend and the temperatures could also drop slightly.

It has been a wet November for the region with Hamilton recording 148mm of rain so far – the average is 89mm, and there’s still a week to go in November.

Law said it’s been very wet for a few months with above-average rainfall recorded every month since August.

Thunderstorms in Hamilton on Tuesday night saw plenty of surface flooding

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Thunderstorms in Hamilton on Tuesday night saw plenty of surface flooding

The Coromandel received a soaking overnight, too, with Whitianga recording 63mm of rain, with 19mm in one hour.

“So pretty intense rainfall, anything over 4mm an hour is heavy so 19mm is a really intense storm.”

Meanwhile, a large slip between Thames and Thornton Bay has closed part of SH25.

The slip is located between Tararu Creek Rd and Ngarimu Heights Row, the Thames-Coromandel District Council said. There are no alternate detours apart from access via the eastern seaboard.

A council spokesperson said no local council roads have been reported closed, just the State Highway 25 closure on the Thames Coast Road.

“Waka Kotahi’s contractor working to clear the slip is asking that drivers, including 4WD and large vehicles, wait until the road is fully open and safe to drive and not pressure the road workers to let them through the cordon.”

There was some surface flooding on the council road network, but it had receded by early Wednesday.

Fire and Emergency attended a number of calls overnight around the region involving flooding and fallen trees.

At 4.10am on Wednesday they attended a fallen tree on SH39 near Ngāhinapōuri. While they were also called to a tree blocking a lane on SH39 near Whatawhata.

On Tuesday evening they were called to a few flooding incidents in the Hamilton suburb of Nawton due to blocked drains with flood water threatening a property in Nawton, Hamilton.

Just before 10pm they were called out to a roof lifting and flooding at a Tokoroa house.

There was also flooding of a house in north Thames, and they were called to trees partially blocking a road near Kopu.

Police said they had received numerous calls regarding heavy flooding and trees down, but had not had any serious vehicle crashes due to the weather.

In Taupō, 24.8mm of rain fell from midnight to 6am this morning, causing major damage to road works being undertaken at the northern entrance to the town at Control Gates Bridge and on Tongariro St.

The council is resealing this area of ​​road and the work was significantly damaged by the heavy rain last night causing long delays for people heading into town this morning.

Work to reseal the road will resume tonight, with overnight closures between 7pm and 6am.

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