Weather: Power Out, Surface Flooding as Heavy Rain Hits East Coast of North Island

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Heavy rain warnings remain in place for northern Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti/Gisborne as downpours pummel the region.

In the 24 hours to 2pm Saturday, Hikuwai has seen 92mm of rain, Te Puia 90mm, Tolaga Bay 85mm, Gisborne City 57mm, Wairoa 51mm and Mahia 38mm. 

MetService said Gisborne and Wairoa District can expect a further 80-100mm until 8am Sunday – and warned peak rates may be higher in Gisborne, reaching 10-20mm/hr with thunderstorms.

Earlier on Saturday, State Highway 35 between Gisborne and Tolaga Bay was closed by surface flooding, however the latest update from NZ Transport Agency said it has reopened between Okitu township and Tolaga Bay township. 

“Take extra care along this route this evening as a heavy rain warning remains in place for the Tairawhiti/Gisborne region until 8am tomorrow,” it said on Facebook.

With surface flooding entering the wastewater network, the Gisborne District Council has opened an emergency wastewater valve into the Turanganui River to prevent sewage from overflowing back into homes and onto roads.

“The discharge is highly diluted with rainwater, but there’s still a risk to health. Temporary warning signs will be installed along the river and beach affected,” the council wrote on Facebook.

“We advise no fishing or water activities in rivers and beaches until at least five days after the valve is closed and warning signs are removed.”

Meanwhile Firstlight Network, which distributes electricity for Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast, said high winds have been hampering efforts to reconnect power to the Waikura Valley after wires went down.

“The wind is expected to pick up everywhere this afternoon so please secure loose items in your garden, and treat all lines as live at all times,” it said.

Source: News Hub