River, road warnings as deluge persists

By Harrison Christian

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Surface flooding on a road in Taradale, Napier, last night.
Surface flooding on a road in Taradale, Napier, last night.

A severe-weather warning remains in force as rain continues to hamper the region, causing a rise in river levels and hazardous conditions on roads.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council incident controller Darren Gorst said the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group was co-ordinating with the council in preparation for the impact of up to 300mm of rain that may fall in the region by tomorrow.

Mr Gorst said residents should be aware of rising and variable river levels, particularly in low-lying areas with river access, such as Clive. River access at Pakowhai Rd's Chesterhope Bridge has been closed for safety reasons.

Operational teams expect an "annual scale" rainfall event likely to see full river channels, but with only a minor impact on the urban pumping network.

"There is the possibility of localised flooding if we get a burst of heavy rain."

The easterly wind conditions and associated swell could close river mouths and create some concern for seaside residents, however the council and CDEM Group would monitor conditions, Mr Gorst said. MetService forecaster John Law said a severe-weather warning was still in place for the region up to 7am tomorrow.

Wind and rain had eased over Northland, Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula and weather warnings for those areas had been lifted, but remained for Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.

Easterlies caused by an area of low pressure to the west of the country would continue to usher downpours until tomorrow morning, Mr Law said.

Rain was expected to be heaviest on the ranges and inland.

Hank Hurley of Central Hawke's Bay had recorded 114mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period at his property near Takapau by yesterday morning. Peter Young of Hastings recorded 41mm.

Mr Law said the news for today was "dismal", with fresh easterly winds and spells of rain.

Tomorrow winds were expected to turn southeast and ease later, with spells of rain easing too. However, rain would clear on Saturday and conditions would be drier, albeit cloudy. Cloud would break away on Sunday, which might be the warmest and driest day of the week, Mr Law said.

Persistent rain caused trouble on Bay roads yesterday.

Sergeant Andrew Graham of the Eastern District Command Centre said there was a partial slip on the Napier-Wairoa road at the devil's elbow yesterday but the road remained open.

SH5 was also hampered by a fallen tree and a slip blocking the northbound lane before the Mohaka bridge. Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Will Foley said farmers would be pleased to see the heavy rain end for the sake of their stock and grass growth.

Napier Port chief operating officer Chris Bain said up to four vessels had been unable to enter the port last night due to inclement weather. The deferral was to likely to last until this morning.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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