About 200 visitors are trapped after a stream has burst its banks in Ngongotaha.
Rotorua Fire Brigade senior station office Jim Prescott said the Ngongotaha Volunteer Fire Brigade was currently at the Agrodome where he had heard reports more than 200 people were trapped.
"Flood water is covering the road and they can't get out."
A Rotorua Daily Post reporter at the scene said the tourist attraction was surrounded by water.
"The whole place is flooded. A stream at the entrance has burst its banks. Whole entrance is flooded and looks like a tourist bus is trapped in there. All the life stock are trying to get to higher ground too.
Rotorua Lakes Council's Bruce Horne, who is leading the Emergency Operations Centre, said the council had been made aware of the Agrodome situation and was sending a crew to the Ngongotaha area. He said the crews would help with an evacuations needed.
Several roads have been closed and some residents are describing the downpour as the worst flooding to hit in years.
The Rotorua Lakes Council has activated an Emergency Operations Centre and "civil defence teams have been mobilised".
An emergency welfare centre has been opened at the Energy Events Centre and emergency accommodation is ready for residents displaced by flooding at their homes.
Crews from Infracore, Fulton Hogan, Higgins and Fire and Emergency New Zealand have attended more than 60 flooding issues and are prioritising where there is a danger to people and their properties.
It said the rain had overwhelmed the sewerage system.
"Some pump stations and the wastewater treatment plant are unable to cope with the volume of water trying to enter.
"This has caused overflowing and diluted sewage to overflow the system, which means there is contaminated wastewater entering the stream and lake. As a precaution any surface water should be treated as contaminated.
"Toi Te Ora Public Health and Bay of Plenty Regional Council have been notified."
Stormwater lids "popping up" were part of the problem, and so the council asked for water use to be kept to a minimum.
"Every time you use the taps or flush the toilet, it's adding to the pressure our stormwater and wastewater systems are already under as a result of the rainfall."
Currently some of the worst affected areas are:
* Tarawera Rd near Buried Village where flooding has caused damage to the road surface. Fire service crew and contractors on site.
* Robinson Ave, Ford Rd and one end of York St closed due to severe flooding.
* Ash Pit and Republican roads, Rerewhakaaitu, are flooded and impassable.
* Paradise Valley Rd down to one lane due to slip near Relph Rd with a second slip just reported.
Slips and fallen trees:
* Te Akau Rd - slip (not attended to yet)
* Pongakawa Valley Rd – tree (not attended to yet)
* Tumunui Rd - slip across road ( not attended to yet)
* Part of the road has collapsed on Mountain Rd (crew en route to assess)
* A culvert has collapsed on Rerewhakaaitu Rd
* A slip and tree fall have blocked both lanes on Dansey Rd
Meanwhile, a woman was rescued from her car on her way to KFC during a day full of emergency callouts caused by flooding, slips and tree falls in Rotorua.
The rescued woman, who only wanted to be known as Prue, was trapped on her way to get lunch.
"I started to panic there for a while. I did not think the water was that deep when I started driving and then I got stuck half way down Elizabeth street."
Prue said she called the emergency services as the water started seeping through the back doors.
"It took about 10 minutes for them to get to me, that was a relief. The water had made it to the front by then."
She said her engine was flooded and the car was pushed up onto higher ground.
"Let's hope it dries out," she said.
Kaylee Browne lives on a badly hit stretch of Lake Rd.
She said this morning she "had seen better days".
"I got home from Whakatane at 4am and the road was driveable, Kuirau Park was not flooded. I woke at 10am to find my property underwater. Especially the bathroom and garage. I called the council and emergency services multiple times at that point. I parked my car on the street with the hazard lights on to stop people to deter people but some haven't got the message."
Browne said she had not ever seen it this bad.
"The water is not cold it is warm because it is mixing with the geothermal areas. I don't think it will be long until the pipes burst."
A police car that went to Bryon Grove on the eastern suburbs of Rotorua for a family harm incident became stranded on the street this morning.
A resident said another police car arrived and pushed the stuck police car out. Both police cars then blocked the street to stop other vehicles going in.
Residents on Byron Grove said the flood waters in the cul de sac were so high, they were unable to leave their homes.
Ngongotaha Volunteer Fire Service Chief Francis Boag said an indundation of calls started about 7am.
"All the guys are busy and totally soaking wet," he said just after 10am.
He said the brigade's two crews had been all over Ngongotaha, Hamurana and Rotorua.
"We are going from one call to the other, all flooding related."
Boag said most of the calls related to access problems cause by the volume of rain.
"It has been a matter of shifting water away from homes or finding ways to provide a barrier, but the rain is not letting up. It's intensifying by the sounds of it."
He said the whole brigade of about 15 people was on deck, and despite delays he was adamant they would get to every callout.
"If it's anything that will cause major issues, give us a call. If we are not there straight away we will get to them. In the meantime we need people to be patient and careful around the likes of electronics. For the larger part drivers seem to be driving to the conditions and staying safe."
The Metservice website reported at midday that so far today 101mm of rain had fallen. The total rainfall forecast for today is 125.9mm.
A severe weather warning was in place until 2pm for Rotorua, Bay of Plenty about and east of Whakatane, Gisborne north of Tokomaru Bay from 9am.
On Sunset Rd, flood waters rose quickly outside Sunset Primary School about 11am. While most bigger cars were able to get through, one smaller vehicle unsuccessfully tried its luck.
A Rotorua Daily Post reporter was there when the vehicle got stuck. Thankfully within minutes, a 4WD ute drove into the water with a tow rope and towed the vehicle out.
Kim Ho, who works at Better Quality Pies on Tarewa Rd, said it was "very bad" and the floor of the shop had been covered in water.
"It's so bad, when the cars drive past they are pushing the water up into the shop.
"At this point customers can't even get in."
Pauline Spence sent a photo to NZME of a stranger she described as "a bloody legend".
"Bare feet and kneeling in the sh***y water to clear drains in Rotorua. Driver racing by and sending waves at him but he never faltered. After I took this photo he walked to the next drain, wading up to his knees and the knelt down so his entire upper body was immersed as he tried to clear the drain."
In Owhata, Sean Strickett said he woke to it "absolutely drenching down" about 4am.
"A guy a couple of doors over was out trying to clear the drains and I was just like 'oh wow', because it was right up past his knees.
"This happened just before Christmas last year, once it stopped raining it was all over in about 30 minutes."
Strickett said it would be a stay indoors kind of day with lots of paper work to do.
"I guess this is a good excuse to get it done.
"It'll be right, I don't see it coming up our driveway."
A commenter on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page said they had lived in Rotorua for many years and had never seen flooding like this before.
"In all my years living in Rotorua I never saw flooding like this."
Another said her partner had spent the morning towing people out of "sticky situations" in his truck.
"Stay home people, only go out if you have to," she said.
Another commenter said the whole stream was flooding up over the road on Aquarius Dr while one woman said Whittaker Rd was completely underwater.
Videos shared on the Facebook page show houses having to be cleared by the fire brigade, completely drenched gardens and leaking roofs.
While some residents deal with the flooding Jenni McGowan and her family were making the most of the stormy day.
"The weather here in Ngongotaha is pretty grim," she said.
"We were watching the rain from out the window and my almost 4-year-old mentioned splashing in muddy puddles like Peppa pig, so we did and we had a blast!"
McGowan said Thomas, 3, and Mason, 1, were out splashing in the puddles for almost an hour before coming back in for a "nice warm shower".
"My plans for the rest of the day will be to try and dry all the washing and cook a meal for my friends."
How to stay safe and dry:
• Weather forecasts and forecast updates can be viewed online at www.metservice.com.
• The public is advised to avoid any unnecessary travel and for those on the roads to take extra care - drive to the conditions, take it slow and use headlights to help with visibility.
• Call the council on (07) 348 4199 if you need help or to report flooding, slips, tree falls or other weather-related issues.