Winter storm moves on to slam East Coast

By Sophie Ryan

Oscar Burke, 11, next to a massive tree which fell at Seddon Fields in Auckland last night. Photo / Louise Smith
Oscar Burke, 11, next to a massive tree which fell at Seddon Fields in Auckland last night. Photo / Louise Smith

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Torrential rain that has hit Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty has caused slips but there have been no reports of serious flooding.

The storm that brought damaging winds and floods to parts of the country has left behind a rain band that will sit over the East Coast of the North Island tonight and tomorrow, before weakening and shifting north on Friday.

Photo gallery: Auckland storm

Police said slips and surface flooding closed a number of roads today in Western Bay of Plenty.

State Highway 29 across the Kaimai Ranges is blocked by a large slip, police say.

The slip is about half way to the summit on the Matamata side of the ranges.

All lanes are reported to be blocked by mud and vegetation to a depth of about 1.5 metres.

Police said drivers should avoid SH29 until contractors could clear the slip.

This afternoon State Highway 29 was flooded and impassable at Ohauiti Rd and Oropi Rd.
Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Controller Clinton Naude said they had received reports of surface flooding and some power outages, but had not seen cause to activate the local Civil Defence Operations Centre.

"We'll continue to monitor the situation over the next 24 hours," he said.

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Motorists are again advised to take care on the roads in the Gisborne district tonight and tomorrow, as rain continues to fall.

Gisborne Civil Defence controller Peter Higgs said that with about a dozen roads closed in the district this evening and a major slip at Devil's Elbow south of Wairoa, motorists should check road conditions before heading out.

The Hikuwai River north of Tolaga Bay was expected to reach 10 metres overnight.

Evacuations were likely when the river reached 12m. Although the rain had eased slightly by early evening, Civil Defence was receiving reports of increased wind north of Tolaga Bay and at Tokomaru Bay.

The Gisborne Civil Defence Emergency Management team was also keeping a close eye on the Waimata River in the city.

Five schools were closed today as a result of the weather.

Watch the latest video from WeatherWatch head Philip Duncan here:

Video

MetService forecaster Leigh Matheson said 300 millimetres of rain is expected for the Gisborne ranges, and 150 millimetres elsewhere in the Gisborne district.

Further significant rain is also likely in parts of Bay of Plenty, with 100mm to 200mm of rainfall.

"Those places are getting pretty steady and heavy rain," Ms Matheson said.

"A lot of the northern and eastern parts of the country that have had 200 millilitres, and may even get in excess of that, are in the ranges."

Lesser amounts of rain are likely in eastern Taihape, the ranges of Wairarapa, eastern Marlborough and northwest Nelson.


Photo / NZ Herald reader

In the Tararua Range, 70mm to 100mm of rain is expected to fall in the 18 hours to 3am tomorrow.

The rain will continue tomorrow for eastern parts of the North Island until evening, when it shifts north and dies away.

"The broad easterly rain band remains pretty slow moving tomorrow. It starts to weaken around midday and gradually will move north on Friday," Ms Matheson said.

Friday will be wet for Auckland and Northland as the weakened rain band moves north.
Most of the country will enjoy a fine weekend, she said.

Watch: Storm smashes Auckland

Thousands of businesses and homes are still without power in Auckland after gusts of wind reaching 145km/h in Whangaparoa last night knocked over trees and tore roofs from homes.

By 9pm Vector crews had 9700 customers without power on the North Auckland network, down from the 40,000 this morning.


King Edward Parade, Devonport. Photo / Mark Rushworth

By the numbers

- 70,000 Auckland customers without power at the height of the storm

- 170km/h wind gust recorded at Tiritiri Lighthouse

- 145km/h wind gust recorded at Whangaparoa

- 130km/h gusts at the Auckland Harbour Bridge

- 600 incidents attended by emergency services in Auckland city after midnight yesterday

- 236mm of rain recorded at Puhipuhi, Northland in the 48 hours on Monday and Tuesday

- 215mm of rain recorded at Gisborne Ranges in the 24 hours to 7pm Wednesday

(source MetService)

- 600 customers laid claims with State and AMI

- 100 customers contacted AA Insurance


Photo / Helen Webber

Brief forecast

Northland: Tomorrow will be fine with some showers. Showers through Friday.

Auckland: Fine spells tomorrow with a few showers. Patchy rain throughout Friday.

Eastern North Island: Constant and heavy rain all day tomorrow will ease overnight. Friday will be showery. 300mm of rain expected to fall in the ranges around Gisborne and Hawkes Bay through to Friday morning. 100mm to 200mm of rainfall likely in parts of the Bay of Plenty.

Lower North Island: Cloudy, some periods of rain with strong-easterlies. Friday will be overcast.

Canterbury: Cloudy with rain clearing tonight. Northeast winds. Friday becoming fine.

(Source: MetService)


Damage in Castor Bay, Auckland. Photo / Supplied by a Herald reader

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