Ever wondered what happens when 168mm of rain falls in less time than a 40-hour famine?
Last weekend, the small town of Ngongotaha on the western shores of Lake Rotorua found out precisely that – when a record deluge turned the humble Ngongotaha Stream into a raging torrent, overflowing its banks, and flooding the surrounding area.
“We’re talking 6.6 inches of rain,” says Rob Beckett, Secretary/Treasurer of the Ngongotaha Bowling Club. “That’s far more rain than we normally get in a whole month.”
Whilst the two rinks of the bowling club were flooded, it wasn’t from the stream overflow. “We’re 400 metres or so from the creek, and high enough that we weren’t affected by its banks bursting. The flooding of the greens was simply caused by the continuous downpour. When the rain stopped, the water soon drained away.”
But it was a sobering experience for many in the Ngongotaha community, where the water reached the window sills of some houses and many had to be evacuated. “People talked of a great wall of water rushing towards us,” says Rob. “Much like the Rangitaiki River flooding Edgecumbe just over a year ago.”
“Fortunately the clubrooms were spared,” says Rob. “And although we got a huge number of enquiries and offers of help from the bowls community and the public around the Bay, it’s others in Ngongotaha that need support in their clean-up. We were relatively unscathed. Not even a sinkhole in a green!”
“Like Edgecumbe and Kaikoura, the flood has demonstrated the remarkable resilience of the Ngongotaha community. Encouraged by the tremendous goodwill from people throughout New Zealand.”
Keep up the good work Rob. But don’t expect that goodwill to extend to a free ride at the Nationals next season!