Battling the big storm

Trees around Lake Te Koo Utu were uprooted. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Waipā felt enough of Cyclone Gabrielle’s force to leave it without power in many places – and a huge mess to clean up.

The Cambridge central business district was crippled by a power cut and there were extensive reports of flooding and fallen trees overnight Tuesday.

Chief fire officer Dennis Hunt.

It was the busiest night in Cambridge fire chief Dennis Hunt can recall.

His team worked through the night  – taking the first call to a fallen tree at 7.20. Eighteen staff were on deck – they worked to 5am and went home, then got up for work.

“We had trees down, rooves lifted, chimneys down and trees on houses, and it was extremely dark,” Hunt told The News. “But we were more fortunate than people in Auckland.”

Several trees and branches around Lake Te Koo Utu and along the Camellia Walkway had either been uprooted or broke during the night.

A National State of Emergency was declared yesterday – just the third ever. Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty called it an “unprecedented weather event”.

Waipā District Council’s Facebook page kept residents up to date – and won praise.

Murray Rumbles said the council had assisted Fonterra tanker drivers through the night as he reported fallen trees.

Rose Main paid tribute to contractors for “your hard work to ensure our communities are kept as safe as possible…”

Waipā Networks staff also worked through Monday night and Tuesday morning to restore power – but the company noted the wind speeds were making it unsafe for teams to repair damage.

Waipā District Council said there was flooding on rural roads including Whittaker Road, Fillery Road, a road off Te Pahu Road and Wright Road.

Other streets impacted included: Shakespeare Street, Shelley Street, Wordsworth Street,  Arnold Street and Burns Street in  Leamington, Victoria Road in Cambridge, Raynes Road in Rukuhia,  Mangahoe Street, Chamberlain Road in Te Awamutu,  Kaipaki Road and Jary Road in Ōhaupō,  Maungatautari Rd,  Tuhikaramea Road, Ngāhināpouri, Waipapa Road in Wharepapa South, Cambridge Road at Roto-o-Rangi, Arapuni Road and in Pukeatua, Owairaka Valley Road, Maunga Road, Rotongata Road and  Waipapa Road.

Scenes from the carnage

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