- More rain and thunderstorms for upper North Island tomorrow
- State Highway 25 around Coromandel reopens
- 400mm of rain has fallen on region since Wednesday
- Large slips blocking Tapu-Coroglen, 309 Rds
- Tauranga music festival cancelled by bad weather
A fresh threat of thunderstorms and more rain is in store for storm-battered Coromandel and Auckland north tomorrow as the big wet ruining January holidays continues.
Rain is set to keep falling across Coromandel until midnight, with heavy downpours and a new threat of floods and slips forecast for this afternoon.
Niwa is forecasting violent skies overhead tomorrow, with thunderstorms beginning before dawn and lasting for 12 hours.
There is also a threat of heavy downpours in what is shaping up to be a very wet day for the upper half of the North Island.
Today Coromandel remained under a heavy rain warning along with neighbouring Bay of Plenty and Tasman.
MetService said up to 90 mm of rain is expected to fall in the flood-hit region until midnight, with torrential cloudbursts after lunch.
Wind and rain watches have expired for Auckland, with a new day-long thunderstorm threat issued for Southland to Canterbury.
Earlier Coromandel Civil Defence was closely watching this morning’s high tide after another night of intense rain but there were hopes the region would be “open for business” later today.
A second music festival has been cancelled in 24 hours, with the organisers of Juicy Fest due to take place in Tauranga today saying weather conditions made it too dangerous to go ahead.
Coromandel roads reopen
Most major roads around the Coromandel Peninsula have reopened as the region enters its third day of a subtropical storm, but concerns surround a fresh flood threat over high tide at 8am.
Torrential rain and gale-force winds continued to batter the Coromandel yesterday, with flooding and slips choking roads and leaving communities unable to travel in or out of the region.
Yesterday evening, the Thames-Coromandel District Council warned of further flooding and road closures as high tide hit the already-drenched Coromandel Peninsula.
“With such a large amount of rain, high tide at 7pm this evening and again at 8am tomorrow morning will likely cause further flooding and additional road closures are likely.”
Thames Coromandel Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler told Newstalk ZB more than 100mm of rain had fallen on the region overnight which meant the region had been inundated with more than 400mm of rain since Wednesday.
However, the hope was things were starting to ease.
“We’ve got a high tide in about an hour’s time. If we get through that I think fingers crossed that the Coromandel will be open for business, albeit tenuously,” said Towler.
“The main highway networks are open and we’ve just got to get through this tide at 8am. If we get through this we’ll be good.
“By 3 o’clock, hopefully we’ll be good to go.”
There was still debris and trees covering roads across the district, including the Tapu-Coroglen and 309 Rds that linked east to west Coromandell which roading crews were now clearing. Several arterial roads were still affected by flooding.
He said while local residents proved resilient yet again the situation was complicated by thousands of holidaymakers in the region, many of whom were in tents.
A lot had decided to pack up and go home.
“We will welcome them back next week when the sun comes out,” said Towler.
Music festival washed out
Juicy Fest Tauranga was officially called off at the last minute with organisers citing safety concerns by the weather system over Tauranga after the team spent the night on-site.
“It is simply too dangerous to host the event with the weather conditions.
“The Health and Safety of our patrons, crew and artists is our highest priority.
“We are heartbroken, this was expected to be one of our biggest shows of the tour,” the organisers posted on Facebook.
At this stage the Palmerston North, Auckland and Whangarei events were still on track to go ahead.
MetService said an additional 200mm of rain was expected to continue to fall between yesterday until noon today, with 200mm already saturating the region.
This would bring the total rainfall so far in the Coromandel Peninsula to over 400mm in just 72 hours.
This morning NZTA Waka Kotahi were advising motorists to drive to the conditions and take caution where the roads had been made impassable yesterday. It included State Highway 25 at Hikuai, south of Thames and navigating past a fallen tree north of Te Mata.
The Thames-Coromandel District Council this morning said the Tapu-Coroglen Rd was closed due to a tree down over road 2.5km from the Tapu end.
There was also an unconfirmed report of a tree blocking Kennedy Bay Rd.
Yesterday the district’s mayor warned conditions were only going to worsen into the weekend.
Len Salt told Newstalk ZB people should hunker down and not travel while conditions were deteriorating.
Thames-Coromandel District Civil Defence controller Garry Towler said: “Things are going to get worse before they improve so the advice is for everyone to stay where they are, avoid travel, stay away from the beaches, streams and rivers.”
At 3am yesterday, the Castle Rock weather station recorded 155mm of rainfall over 24 hours while the Pinnacles station recorded 182.5mm.
The council said the Kauaeranga River had hit 7.7m and was rising. It was a first alarm “but well below the level where the SH25 spillway at Rhodes Park floods at 10.5m”.
Across the district, 206 properties in Whangamatā and 22 properties in Tapu have recorded power outages.
Four Square Buffalo Beach store assistant Amber Brown said Whitianga was now quiet with many visitors cutting short their stay.
Not everyone in the Coromandel let the wet weather get the better of them yesterday, however.
A group of keen golfers braved the storm to play at the Pauanui Golf Club.
A determined Barrett Trebilco and friends were seen with wetsuits on and clubs in hand as they hit the green for a day of competition.
Yesterday morning, campers at the Mercury Bay Holiday Park who had weathered the storm overnight were packing up as people continued to cancel their holidays.
Manager Samantha Gillies said the weather was calm at 9am after a bad night of heavy rain and strong winds.
While the campground had come through unscathed, most campers had already left and the remaining few were preparing to head home.
Gillies was fielding calls from people wanting to postpone or cancel their bookings, with more than 70 per cent of bookings now cancelled.
More campers at the Wentworth Valley Campground near Whangamatā told the Herald they were stranded at the site “with no way in or out ... for at least a few days”.
The Wentworth River breached its banks, causing much of the flooding.
Civil Defence visited campers at the Cooks Beach Holiday Resort yesterday morning, advising everyone to move to higher ground.
“We were like, well there is no point in us pulling down a tent and putting it back up wet so we just packed up and left,” said one camper.
Holidaymakers and residents were prevented from commuting to connecting communities on the western side of the peninsula overnight as major highways remained closed after severe weather caused flooding, fallen trees and landslips.
Last night, Waka Kotahi said several roads remained closed — including State Highway 25 from the SH25A intersection to Tairua (flooding); SH25 between Wade Rd, Whitianga and 309 Rd, Kaimarama (flooding); SH25 east of Coromandel township (slip); and SH25 from Te Mata Creek Rd to Waikawau Valley Rd (fallen tree).
The council also expected Wentworth Valley Rd and Hikuai Settlement Rd to stay closed overnight.
A motorist travelling from Cooks Beach back to Auckland yesterday said some roads were so flooded “it was like driving through a river”.
Aucklander Hamish Fenwick said on some stretches the water was up to the hub caps on his car.
“I had to slow down to 10-20 kms through the water, the water was like a river across the road,” he said.
NZTA advised drivers to adjust to the wet and windy conditions by braking carefully, reducing speed and if possible delaying their journey.
Yesterday morning, several sailings of Auckland commuter ferries across the Waitematā Harbour were replaced by taxis or delayed due to the worsening weather.
Due to the grim outlook, Auckland Transport said all Gulf Harbour ferries today will be replaced by buses, taxis and other car services.
All Rakino ferry services have also been suspended until tomorrow due to the weather forecast.
Strong winds overnight on Tuesday left parts of Auckland without power and low levels of flooding and storm damage yesterday.
Auckland Civil Defence said the high winds had battered the electricity network and posed a risk for workers fixing issues.
A Vector spokesperson said strong winds had caused a number of power outages across Auckland, particularly in exposed areas in the north and western parts of the region.
Trees or branches falling on power lines were responsible for many of the outages.
Civil Defence advised people to be prepared for further disruption, particularly those living in areas prone to power cuts, including keeping phones charged.
MetService issued a fresh heavy rain watch yesterday for Auckland, including Great Barrier Island, that will remain in place until 9am today.
Concert-goers at the Plane Sailing music festival in central Auckland will need to pack a poncho tomorrow, with a few showers expected throughout the day.
MetService says west of Matata may see up to 240mm of rainfall in the coming two days, with a threat of flooding and slips.
In the South Island, heavy rain is expected to fall until noon today in Tasman, the Richmond, Bryant and Westland ranges, Marlborough Sounds and the Rai Valley.
Thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and into the evening for the Canterbury and Otago regions.