A group of 12 were stranded in waist-high swirling water in a flooded Whangārei petrol station overnight, after severe thunderstorms battered the Northland city.

The BP petrol station in Riverside Drive, Parahaki, was flooded after water started seeping under the door at 7.30pm.

A BP staff member there told the Herald a group of customers were stuck at the station.

“In the deepest spot it’s probably waist deep. The whole place is pretty much under water. There’s waves coming in the shop when people drive past and what not,” he said.

The 25-year-old BP staffer said eight cars were stuck in the car park with water lapping at their sides about 9.30pm yesterday.

“Yeah pretty much [standing in water]. We’ve got a couple of customers here who are all trapped. So everyone here is pretty much trapped here at the moment,” he said.

“It receded a bit but it’s all come back now.

“I think they’re all pretty much busy [emergency services]. There’s not much we can do.”

The staffer said the group of staff and customers stranded were calm.

“We ain’t going nowhere. Everyone’s pretty much chilling out talking and drinking coffee and eating pies,” he said.

“The whole place is under water still.”

As of midnight, only two of the original 12 customers had managed to leave the store.

A witness said a few customers made it out after the water dropped to around ankle high.

Floodwaters also hit The Real Cornish Pasty Company in Onerahi, south of Whangārei.

“It’s at least halfway up my legs in the bakery at the moment,” owner Derek O’Brien told the Herald.

“Everything in there is just floating around in the water.”

O’Brien said the bakery was next to his home but it was now raining so heavily he couldn’t get outside to check on his business again.

He said the floodwaters had come down the street, overwhelming the drains that council had cleared yesterday, and flowed under the doors of his business.

“It’s like a tsunami coming down the hill”.

He said he’d be in cleanup mode in the morning, rather than getting up early to bake about 200 pies and pastries.

Extracted in full from: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12349005