Floodwaters recede and roads reopen following torrential rain

By Scott Yeoman, Lynley Bilby

Firefighters assist at a flooded garage in Coromandel township after heavy rain yesterday. Photo / Supplied
Firefighters assist at a flooded garage in Coromandel township after heavy rain yesterday. Photo / Supplied

Floodwaters have receded and most roads are open in the Coromandel Peninsula after the region was hit by torrential rain yesterday.

This morning most of the region's roads are now passable according to the NZTA after flooding cut off main routes to the north yesterday.

Contractors were this morning clearing a slip that had closed the main road linking Coromandel to Whitianga.

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The NZTA tweeted a slip had blocked State Highway 25 between Coromandel and Te Rerenga.


The road was blocked in both directions but it was expected to be cleared early this morning.

One section of State Highway 25 at Hikuai is still causing concern with motorists being warned to take extra care of surface water.

Colville farmer Tellic Evans was out early this morning assessing the damage to her water-logged farm.

She said a lot of fences had been smashed by the rising floodwaters and they were now working on getting everything back in order.

At one point stock were in water up to their bellies and her home was surrounded by flood water.

"It had stopped raining by 9pm but at that stage we had had 175mm of rain and we have lost fences due to the creek taking over the paddock."

She said other farmers had not fared so well and had lost stock in the deluge.

MetService said rainfall was very heavy for Coromandel, with Whitianga recording 124mm in 24 hours.

Thames Valley Emergency manager Gary Talbot confirmed teams would be out at first light to survey the damage but it appeared the worst was over.

He said yesterday's flooding which hit the northern tip of the peninsula hard appeared to coincide with high tide.

Once the tide had turned and the heavy rain over the Pinnacles and ranges stopped the flooding didn't take long to clear.

"The reports from rural fire brigades is once the tide started receding the flooding also began receding," he said.

There were no reports of road closures this morning though crews would be inspecting damage from rockfall and cracks.

"We're really dependent on daylight coming to give us a better idea of how the region has fared," he said.

He said a number of people were trapped by floodwaters including around five people flooded out of the remote Waikawau Department of Conversation campsite.

"From reports we had four to five people got trapped in some floodwaters and were helped out by the DOC camp manager to a house for the night," he said.

Emergency services were kept busy last night, with residents climbing to higher ground to escape the floodwaters, and many roads blocked because of flooding, slips and fallen trees.

MetService said the heavy rain warning for the Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty had now lifted but some warnings and watches still remained in place for eastern parts of the North Island.

However, these were now finishing and would be revised this morning.

Duty forecaster Derek Holland said the rain radar showed patches over Bay of Plenty and Gisborne were clearing with the rain expected to move off the coast later today.

Yesterday, Fire Service shift manager Jaron Phillips said residents in Albert St in Coromandel town had safely scrambled to higher ground after they became concerned about rising floodwaters.

He said there was also a report of flooding on Wharf Rd in the township, where occupants were forced to move their belongings.

Mr Phillips said other calls for help were still coming in last night and that a fire crew attended a property on Colville Rd, where a woman said she was trapped inside by floodwaters.

Civil Defence urged people to stay home and not go out in their cars.

Heavy rain and flooding on the Coromandel peninsular. Photo / Supplied
Heavy rain and flooding on the Coromandel peninsular. Photo / Supplied

The Thames-Coromandel District Council provided updates throughout the evening, warning residents to stay off the roads because of slips and surface flooding.

There was severe flooding on State Highway 25 on the straights to Manaia. Kennedy Bay Rd was closed because of slips and trees on the road and the bridge near the intersection of State Highway 25 at Whitianga and the 309 road were also flooded and impassable.

Colville, Port Charles and Waikawau Bay were left isolated by floodwaters.

"Emergency Services have evacuated one lady from her home but say they believe the situation will be okay overnight," the Thames-Coromandel District Council said.

"Some property has been damaged and emergency services will deal with those matters in the morning."

It said there were reports of people trying to get through the floodwaters.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

"Colville is flooded and there is a crack in the road approximately 2.5km south of the village.

"Please take care on the roads and make good choices."

Meanwhile, heavy rain also flooded houses in West Auckland yesterday afternoon and a severe weather watch was put in place for Great Barrier Island and Westland.

But MetService said the low pressure system that brought the severe weather watch and heavy rain would be replaced by a ridge of high pressure moving on to the country today.

The front that moved north over the South Island, bringing heavy rain to southern Westland yesterday, is expected to also weaken as the ridge of high pressure begins to take over today.

- NZ Herald

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