Heavy rain caused havoc for Hawke's Bay yesterday and more is on the way.

Hawke's Bay was and still is in the firing line of heavy rain and gales lashing the region.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence group controller Ian Macdonald said the bad weather was a "two-to-three-year event".

He said the weather had caused damage and problems around roading and farming infrastructure.

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And while some of the streams - Maraekakaho in particular - had got quite high, the bigger ones were nowhere near alert levels as of last night, reaching their mean annual levels.

Sheep wait for a break in the rain in a paddock near Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland
Sheep wait for a break in the rain in a paddock near Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland

With lambing season under way, Macdonald said the Ministry for Primary Industries is expecting losses of lambs due to the bad weather.

"I think we are in for a little bit of the same today, but we are not expecting any significant impacts. There may be localised flooding but based on the forecast, we are confident the major rivers won't cause us any issues."

MetService recorded more than 100mm of rain in inland Hawke's Bay in the past 24 hours, ending last night, with a further 100mm-150mm inland and 60mm-90mm elsewhere expected to accumulate overnight.

By late afternoon, Hastings had reached 77mm. A heavy rain warning for Hawke's Bay and Central Hawke's Bay, issued at 9am yesterday, is expected to last until 1pm today.

Surface flooding encroaches on a vineyard on Te Mata-Mangateretere Rd. Photo / Warren Buckland
Surface flooding encroaches on a vineyard on Te Mata-Mangateretere Rd. Photo / Warren Buckland

Slips and swollen rivers have caused numerous road closures in Hastings, including Makahu Rd at the ford, Aropaoanui Rd, Ellis Wallace Rd, Kereru Rd, Mackenzie Rd and Salisbury Rd.

The NZ Transport Agency has advised that the Napier-Taupo Rd (State Highway 5) was down to one lane due to a slip near Pohokura Rd.

There was also surface water on most state highways including Turira to Wairoa, Pakipaki to Waipukurau, Fernhill to Tikokino.

Macdonald said Civil Defence is keeping an eye on things.

"We really encourage people to avoid non-essential travel, particularly on rural roads as those slips can be quite dangerous."

Central Hawke's Bay mayor Alex Walker said although the district had experienced "quite a lot of heavy rain", it was not as bad as it could have been.

"We are taking a very active approach on what the weather is doing and trying to be as proactive as we can."

Meteorologist Angus Hines said it was the result of a "complex and very slow moving low-pressure system" lingering over the eastern North Island.

"It has just brought copious amounts of rain to much of the East Coast of the North Island over the last few days."

When the warning does expire, Hines said the remainder of the week and weekend is also looking damp for Hawke's Bay.

"It is looking like another nasty day, with heavy rain and strong southerly winds turning to gale in the evening," he said.

"Hopefully you will start to see a little bit of improvement as the day goes on tomorrow. There will still be some strong southeasterlies, so another cold day."