Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Northland storm: Fine weather finally breaks through

State Highway 1 near Maromaku Rd suffered a huge slip, closing the road. Photo / Facebook/NorthlandWeather
State Highway 1 near Maromaku Rd suffered a huge slip, closing the road. Photo / Facebook/NorthlandWeather

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Thousands of residents are now facing a clean-up after major flooding across much of the Far North over the weekend.

Wild weather over the weekend caused rivers to overflow, flooding hundreds of properties and forcing families into a welfare centre.

The flood damage also cut off roads, and threatened the region's water supply.

A 28-year-old Wellington woman was killed when Waitangi River burst its banks and string currents carried her away.

Watch: Readers' storm videos

Video

Today, the clean-up operation began as fine weather finally broke through after a week of wild weather.

State Highway 1 was closed late yesterday after a major road slip, causing traffic havoc.

But Far North District Council spokesman Rick McCall said an alternative route, Mangakahia Rd, which was closed for a time had now opened to all traffic.

"This has meant a lot of the supply trucks carrying goods for retail outlets and fresh food suppliers were for the first time in about 24 hours able to get through again."

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Water supply to Paihia residents was threatened today as heavy silt in the Waitangi River "absolutely destroyed the ability of the filtration system to work adequately".

An urgent call by the council went out for residents to only use water if it was a necessity and as a result, the level has since raised from 19 per cent to 27 per cent.

"If we can maintain that level over the next few hours then during the night, when water use is obviously very low in communities, then we're hoping that by early tomorrow morning we will be back to business as usual.

"The crisis will be over -- it certainly was getting a little dodgy for people today, the water was running out faster than we could put it back in."

Watch: Drone video of flooding

Video

At least 200 homes were damaged by flooding or high winds, he said.

Bliss Ball, from Whangaroa, north of Kaeo, had her home cut off by the flooding for two days.

Flooding in the area was extensive, with many roads impassable, she said.

"You couldn't get north to Kaitaia without driving with water up to your doorhandle."

Kawakawa and Moerewa were worse hit, she said.

Watch: Aerial footage of Kaeo flooding

Video

Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye said floodwaters were now receding.

"I understand there are communities in the region such as Moerewa and Hikurangi that are likely to be affected for several days," she said.

Eleven houses had been evacuated in Moerewa and a civil defence welfare centre had been up and running, which had now been stood down.

"I am meeting local government representatives and residents across Northland to determine if there is any need for further central government assistance, including the possibility for the establishment of mayoral relief funds.

"I intend to talk to my Cabinet colleagues to determine whether any further central government assistance is appropriate," Ms Kaye said.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis offered his Whangarei office as a coordination centre for people who needed help as a result of the flooding.

"There will be people out there needing help but don't know who to turn to. It is the role of Members of Parliament to help where they can in such situations," Mr Davis said.

The weather will mostly stay dry over the next couple of days to help the cleanup continue.

MetService has forecast tomorrow there would be areas of low cloud or fog, which would clear in the morning, then fine apart from occasional showers about Cape Reinga. It would be mostly fine on Tuesday, but with a few showers in the north and west.


Watch: Torrential rain floods Clevedon

- APNZ

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