A Gisborne resident says the local river is bursting at the seams, but he expects the damage to be far greater in Tolaga Bay.

Mark Gemmell, who owns a farm on Wharekopae Rd, filmed the Waimata River in full flood after a hammering of rain overnight and this morning.

He told the Herald a lot of debris is coming down the river.

Gemmell says the damage on his farm isn't too bad as it's relatively sheltered.

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He says the amount of rain the township has had hardly compares to that of Tolaga Bay.

Gemmell says he's temporarily taken on 25 cows from a Tolaga Bay farmer who, during the Queen's Birthday weekend flash floods, lost 150 stock. He knows of other farmers also helping out and letting stock graze on their farms too.

Gisborne Civil Defence officials are this morning assessing the damage after a night of heavy rain.

Dozens of roads are closed and many homes are without power.

State Highway 2 between Gisborne and Opotiki is closed and the township of Te Karaka is completely cut off.

Gisborne Civil Defence manager Louise Bennett says the scale of the damage remains unclear.

Just before 9am, Eastland Network said 1572 customers were without power in the Motuhora, Waimata Valley, Waingake Rd, Waerenga O Kuri, Muriwai, Parakanapa Rd, Kanakania Rd and Lavenham Rd areas.

Gisborne's Mayor Meng Foon is advising people to stay home today if they can.