Saturday, January 6, 2018

Thames (NZ): The fury of the King Tide

By now, everyone will have seen images of the damaging King Tide that occurred yesterday morning, Friday 5 January 2018. (The Thames Coromandel District Council has a gallery of photos in their news releases)

While Thamesites are well used to heavy rain and floods, this event was somewhat different given the speed it happened, and with virtually no rain. The sea prior to the high tide was literally roaring south down the firth, the waves like grand breakers at the best surf beach. Still, one could not be prepared for what happened as the high tide approached. There were breaches of the sea wall all along the Thames Foreshore, and the stormwater drains spewed out tidal water. Along Queen Street, Goldfield Mall, to Moanataiari and north, the waters covered the verges and roads. Within minutes of taking the photo below of the Lady Bowen(Albert and Brown Street intersect), the roads were flooded and closed.

The Waiotahi Creek along Burke Street was a raging torrent as the huge waves swept along towards the bridge to the refuse station. The wind was at times horrendous. At the south end of town the old Shortland Wharf took a beating, while the carpark and boat marina were inundated.

 Victoria Park was soon inundated with water and the waves crashed over further south at the Bridge Club and Miniature Railway.

The list goes on, but what happened along the Thames Coast is beyond belief. The roads were taken over by the sea, giant waves literally lifted and broke the road surface. The damage will take months to repair, and affect Thames Coasters' lives, day in and day out.

It is one hundred and fifty years since the goldfield opened, and once again the settlers of the Thames are reminded of the fury of the sea.

Further photographs and video:
Stuff: Thames Coast Road and NZ Herald Thames Coast Road.
TCDC: Mayor Sandra Goudie video update.

**Update 7 1 2018, excellent article on Stuff "In a Town near Thames, the summer storm felt like a 'mini Tsunami'." Showing devastation of the road and impact on the seaside village of Te Puru.**

***Update 16 1 2018, Denis Tegg has compiled information on the King Tide event - a MUST Watch!! On Youtube. ***