The Heat Is Online

New Zealand flood -- July, 1998

"Northern New Zealand hit by worst flooding in 100 years" Reuters, 7/22/98

WELLINGTON - (Reuters) New Zealand's central North Island wrestled with its worst floods in 100 years on Wednesday after torrential rain overnight, national media reported.

The rain brought welcome relief to farmers in the drought-stricken Hawkes Bay area of the island, but wreaked havoc for hundreds of people in adjoining regions.

Dozens of homes were on standby for evacuation and emergency crews were busy with widespread reports of flooding and landslides, media reported.

The North Island has experienced several downpours over the past two weeks but heavy rainfall on Tuesday night proved too much for some areas to handle, with the Waikato River south of Auckland overflowing and spilling westwards to the sea.

Farmers in the Waikato region watched helplessly on Wednesday as their sandbagging efforts failed, leaving some of their properties completely submerged. Some fields may be unusable until Christmas, TVNZ's One Network News reported.

The flooding forced the closure of several roads, including parts of the North Island's main trunk highway.

The rain stopped on Wednesday but Waikato regional environmental officials warned they expected the flooded river to rise further. At one point overnight it rose five metres (16 feet) above normal.

"Northern New Zealand hit by worst flooding in 100 years" Reuters, 7/22/98

WELLINGTON - (Reuters) New Zealand's central North Island wrestled with its worst floods in 100 years on Wednesday after torrential rain overnight, national media reported.

The rain brought welcome relief to farmers in the drought-stricken Hawkes Bay area of the island, but wreaked havoc for hundreds of people in adjoining regions.

Dozens of homes were on standby for evacuation and emergency crews were busy with widespread reports of flooding and landslides, media reported.

The North Island has experienced several downpours over the past two weeks but heavy rainfall on Tuesday night proved too much for some areas to handle, with the Waikato River south of Auckland overflowing and spilling westwards to the sea.

Farmers in the Waikato region watched helplessly on Wednesday as their sandbagging efforts failed, leaving some of their properties completely submerged. Some fields may be unusable until Christmas, TVNZ's One Network News reported.

The flooding forced the closure of several roads, including parts of the North Island's main trunk highway.

The rain stopped on Wednesday but Waikato regional environmental officials warned they expected the flooded river to rise further. At one point overnight it rose five metres (16 feet) above normal.

Farmers in the Hawkes Bay were delighted the heavens had finally opened, ending a devastating drought which cost the local economy some NZ$150 million ($75 million).

(C) Reuters Limited 1998.