This weekend is set to be the calm between the storms - after heavy rain and flash flooding this week, and a "major impact" expected if Cyclone Hola makes landfall next week.
Yesterday afternoon rains eased, and a severe weather warning was lifted after a sodden couple of days - Thursday's rain and flooding damaged over 80 homes, washed out sections of rail line, and it is expected to take several weeks to clear some roads of damage.
Evacuees returned home to check the damage, with Hastings District Council teams going door-to-door in the worst hit areas around Esk Valley and Rissington to assess homes and the needs of residents.
Like many living in these areas, Eskdale's Tong family spent Thursday night staying with friends. When they had returned home, Shanae Tong said it was "such a mess".
"All the water had gone down, so we have a yard now. But there was so much mess, there was a gas canister in the backyard, we had some barrels near the house. There was rubbish everywhere".
Properties were also flooded in Rissington - after fence-high water receded, Sue Broun's yard was left "drowned in mud", her son Robbie Wigmore said.
His mother's house was new, so did not flood. However their neighbours were not so lucky - their old wooden house with low foundations suffered "significant water damage".
"The water got so high that household belongings from the neighbours' property floated over the fence and is now in our backyard," he said.
A number of businesses were also impacted - John Wroe and his son Ethan had been building their beekeeping business back up when the floods hit the Eskdale orchard where his hives were kept.
"We were absolutely gutted. We were just starting all over again," Mr Wroe said. "We've lost about 24 hives all up, we've lost all the bees".
He donned his beekeeper suit and swam through water several metres deep to grab the bigger hives. Other beekeepers warned him not to go in as a powerful drain was sucking everything out.
"I was holding on to a [submerged] wire fence, it just kept trying to suck me down," he said. "When the water drained out [Ethan] said 'Dad we probably shouldn't have done that', but I needed that gear back."
Although everything inside the hives was likely to be ruined, he said they were "rapt" to have the boxes.
"We were very lucky to save those. We needed the hives back. It's like a farmer losing his sheep, it's my livelihood. That's our start up again."
He estimated they had lost nearly 700,000 bees across the 24 hives – between $8000 and $10,000 worth. Unfortunately as Mr Wroe was still in the process of setting up the business again, so had no insurance – the first time he hadn't over 27 years in the industry.
After a calmer Thursday night yesterday roads around the region were reopening with both State Highways 5 and 2, and several local roads were closed at the height of the incident.
Hastings District Council incident controller Raoul Oosterkamp said it could take several weeks for road teams to clear all slips and debris, and to reinstate roads where there had been washouts.
All road users were asked to take extra as debris remained on a lot of roads.
Flooding also damaged parts of the rail line - a KiwiRail spokesperson said the full extent of the damage was not yet known, but early indications were that the track had been washed out in some areas and there is also debris on the line.
"It's too soon to say at this stage what longer-term impacts the flooding may have," she said.
Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and Hastings District Council's incident teams are planning for the arrival of Cyclone Hola, expected to impact New Zealand early next week.
"While the exact track of the cyclone is unknown at this stage, we do want to be ready in the event that it arrives in Hawke's Bay. With our already sodden soils, there is a risk that the impact could be major if it does make landfall in our area," said Mr Oosterkamp.
People were advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts in case parts of this watch are upgraded to a full warning or new areas are added.
Today's weather was expected to be mostly cloudy with a few showers, clearing in the evening. There would be morning cloud tomorrow, then fine weather.
-Hawke's Bay residents who have concerns about their home or who need welfare assistance can call council (24 hour phone 871 5000).