Heavy rain forced the closure of several Central Hawke's Bay schools, as a slow moving storm hammered the region.

Argyll East School, Elsthorpe School, Maraekakaho School and Pukehou School today closed their doors during the day, prompting parents and caregivers to collect their children.

Staff at Pukehou School - a primary and intermediate school in Otane - informed parents just after noon that they held concerns about heavy flooding in the area and asked that all children be collected "as soon as possible so we can ensure that everyone arrives home safely".

Pukehou School was empty yesterday. Photo / Warren Buckland
Pukehou School was empty yesterday. Photo / Warren Buckland

Nearby Te Aute College also sent some of its day students home due to concerns about flooding cutting off access.

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Hawke's Bay Civil Defence's group controller, Ian Macdonald, said they were liaising with the Ministry of Education to make sure any school closures today were communicated as early as possible.

Localised flooding was seen throughout the region. Photo / Warren Buckland
Localised flooding was seen throughout the region. Photo / Warren Buckland

Orchardists were also affected by the downpour, but Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president Lesley Wilson said it shouldn't concern consumers, because "growers deal with weather events every year".

She said the situation was not ideal for stonefruit, and growers would be dealing with the situation for several weeks.

"I don't think we'll have shortages, I think it's just a blip over a long blossom time.

"I know there are several orchards around Hawke's Bay that have got pumps going to get rid of water off blocks."

She said growers of crops such as stonefruit, apples, and even kiwifruit, would be out protecting their crops when the weather eased.

"We're only at first leaf of the apples and blossom with the stonefruit, so we just need to make sure they don't get brown rot in the stonefruits over harvest.

"If this were to happen week after week we might be in trouble, but certainly not at the moment."

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