Overnight the small coastal town of Opōtiki received more than its average rainfall for the entire month of February.
Around 20 per cent of the town is flooded, with damage estimated to already be around a million dollars.
The council has put emergency plans in place, including portaloos as the town's wastewater system is undergoing an extensive upgrade in the next three years.
Opōtiki's motels were also bursting at the seams as stranded drivers were forced to stay put following the closure of State Highway 2 to Gisborne.
The Otara River, which runs through the town, has recorded its highest-ever level according to Opotiki District Council CEO Aileen Lawrie.
More rain is expected later in the week. Farmers are being advised to move their stock to higher ground and boat owners to take their boats off river moorings.