12 Jun 2018

Roads remain closed as Gisborne deals with flooding

9:06 pm on 12 June 2018

About 50 roads remain shut in the Gisborne region after heavy rain caused flooding, slips and trees to fall.

Heavy rain had hit the Gisborne region as residents prepare for more wet weather overnight.

Heavy rain had hit the Gisborne region as residents prepare for more wet weather overnight. Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

The stormy weather is easing and crews have been repairing roads, inspecting bridges and restoring power.

State Highway 2 reopened north of Gisborne, but State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupō was closed and the bad weather also closed State Highway 1 near Kaikōura.

An inland road near Hastings was also closed because of heavy rain and strong winds.

Taihape Road was expected to remain closed all night with an assessment to be made tomorrow.

Wiggin Bridge on Tauwhareparae Road

Wigan bridge on Tauwhareparae Road, cleared only yesterday of logging debris, was hit again overnight. Photo: Gisborne District Council

A severe heavy rain warning remains in place for the Gisborne area after heavy rains and wind, and mayor Meng Foon said Civil Defence was on alert.

Eastland Network said it was making progress getting the power back on to homes in the Gisborne region.

Gisborne District mayor Meng Foon

Gisborne mayor Meng Foon (file photo) Photo: New Zealand Government

The network said more than 750 properties were still without power, and some people should prepared to be without it overnight.

Crews will be working late into the night to reconnect the power, but flooding, fallen trees and other problems mean it was hard to get to some areas.

There were also 23 bridges in the area that needed inspection and about 20 roads closed, cutting off some communities.

Mr Foon said no one had been forced to evacuate the area, as happened during the storm a week ago, at this stage.

Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi was due in Gisborne this afternoon to assess what support the community needed.

Meanwhile in Hawke's Bay the severe weather alert will stay in place until midnight tomorrow, with a further 80mm to 100mm expected on top of what has already fallen in the Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges.

Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi

Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Civil Defence group manager Ian Macdonald said they were keeping a close watch on the Esk River and the rivers around Wairoa.

Water levels were still rising but Mr Macdonald said they were confident the water level rise would not breach the stopbanks.

Civil Defence was also worried about big swells along the coast, with high tide at 4pm.

Civil Defence said that it had already been in touch with people in places like Haumoana and Te Awanga.

MetService said heavy rain was falling in the Kaikōura ranges and likely to continue until tomorrow afternoon.

A transport agency spokesperson said travellers heading to and from Picton should use the Lewis Pass instead of the coastal route.

In Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay, 15 schools and six early childhood centres were shut and a number of school bus services in Taranaki, and Tolaga Bay were cancelled as a result of the heavy rain and high winds.

The Ministry of Education said the closures have affected more than 2000 children.

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