11 May 2009

Flooded Bay of Plenty mall evacuated

6:05 pm on 11 May 2009

About 2000 people were evacuated from a Mt Maunganui shopping centre on Monday after a severe hail storm caused parts of the roof to collapse.

The Fire Service is undertaking a massive clean-up of the Bayfair Shopping Centre which flooded as bad weather hits the upper North Island.

Woolworths supermarket and Farmers department store were the worst-hit, with water seeping through the roof and damaging stock.

However, the Fire Service says the roof caved in in at least five other places throughout the shopping centre. No one was injured or trapped.

Specialist flood equipment has been brought in to mop up the water and electricians are working on restoring power.

The shopping centre is not expected to re-open on Monday.

The hail storm hit parts of Mt Maunganui and Papamoa, leaving centimetres of ice in some places, including on State Highway 2.

Papamoa Primary School will be closed on Tuesday after hail damaged the roof of the staff room and toilet block.