Bay of Plenty residents hunker down after route to Opotiki blocked

The main road leading west from the small eastern Bay of Plenty town of Opotiki has been blocked after Cyclone Cook blew through.

NZTA reports the road between Waiotahi/Ohiwa and Opotiki is closed, and warned people against any unnecessary travel.

However, roads to the east and south of Opotiki remain open.

Road closures in the eastern Bay of Plenty area due to Cyclone Cook. Map / NZTA
Road closures in the eastern Bay of Plenty area due to Cyclone Cook. Map / NZTA

Opotiki Mayor John Forbes said he wasn't surprised that section of State Highway 2 was closed, and expected it to be blocked with debris and fallen trees.

He said power remained out in the town, as was also the case in nearby Whakatane, but the rain and wind had stopped and the weather was now "quite calm".

Local Jo Scott-Jones said: "We are unable to get home and are bunking with friends, many people who were trying to get through are staying overnight in the Whakatane War Memorial Hall."

The Whakatane War Memorial Hall custodian said there were several people using the hall for shelter overnight after not being able to get back home. However, she said power was out and was unable to say how many were at the hall.

The Fire Service said it had more than 100 flooding incidents from 6pm and 9.30pm between Mt Maunganui and Opotiki.

- NZ Herald

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