Flash flooding from the Esk River north of Napier this morning left Eskdale residents reeling.

The day started with dry weather. Steve Winter said his wife collected her morning newspaper at 5.30am without getting wet.

But then the heavy rain fell and half an hour later the neighbourhood was flooded, with the nearby Esk River continuing to rise, washing large silage bales away and closing the state highways to Taupo and Wairoa.

"It is gut-wrenching - it happened so quick," Mr Winter said. "We managed to get the stuff up off the floors this morning and up onto the beds."


They were evacuated by the fire service and are staying with friends tonight, with more rain forecast.

The Eskdale Holiday Park was evacuated after its owner was alerted to rising floodwaters, thanks to automatic alarms.

Paige Field was walking to the shower block when it hit.

"Daniel drove up to us and was like 'yeah nah sorry, banks burst gotta go'," she said.

There were 47 people evacuated and the campground is now covered in a thick layer of mud.

Across Hawke's Bay people were asked to stay away from rivers and streams, as river levels rose carrying debris.

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