Severe Weather Warning in Place Overnight for East Coast

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Residents on the East Coast are expected to see more heavy rain over the coming hours, with severe weather warnings in place until tomorrow morning.

Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay’s Wairoa district remain under orange level rain warnings, with up to 100 millimetres expected in both regions.

More than 100mm has already fallen at Te Puia Springs, and nearly 90mm further south at Tolaga Bay.

MetService forecaster Gerad Bellam is expecting streams and rivers to rise quickly.

However, State Highway 35 between Okitu and Tolaga Bay along the Tairawhiti coast is now open. It was previously closed due to flooding.

Waka Kotahi is urging motorists to take extra care along the road.

Power lines are also down in the Waikura Valley, cutting power to almost 40 homes. Firstlight Network said it is too windy to safely repair the fault so there is not a timeline on when it will be fixed.

It is advising Gisborne-based people to secure loose items outside and treat all power lines as live at all times.

RNZ National on 101.3 MHz FM was also not available in Gisborne as of 2pm due to fibre issues in the area.

Earlier warnings for the parts of Hawke’s Bay from south of Wairoa to north of Napier have been dropped.

Gisborne District Council said the heavy load from surface floodwaters in the wastewater system was causing the water to rise in toilets and preventing them from being flushed.

To prevent sewage from overflowing back into homes and onto roads, an emergency valve was opened at the Gladstone Road Bridge into the Turanganui River. The council was also dealing with a blockage at the Hall Street pump.

It said the discharge into the river was heavily diluted with rain water but was still a risk to health, and people should not go fishing or do any water activities at Tai Rāwhiti rivers or beaches for at least five days after the valve is closed.

Wairoa Civil Defence’s Juanita Savage said early on Saturday morning that there was already surface flooding across some roads and paddocks.

The organisation is asking people to check on their neighbours and whānau. If anyone felt unsafe they should call 111, Savage said.

She asked for reports of flooding to be left on the Wairoa District Council after hours number or the council’s Facebook page – where photos could also be posted to help officials see what is going on.

The district was last hit with significant downpours just two weeks ago.

“There is some wind there that is pushing the weather through, where two weeks ago the weather just seemed to sit on top of us and not move off. The rain periods come and go – which I think is better for us,” Savage said early on Saturday.

Rivers were being monitored and road crews were at the ready if necessary.

However, MetService said the weather outlook is looking more positive for both Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay tomorrow.

Source: RNZ