UPDATED 1:23pm — A fire crew had to use an inflatable boat to rescue a family of three from rising flood waters near Ngunguru, 22km northeast of Whangarei, with flooding expected to get worse over the next day.
The couple and their three-year-old child were rescued at about 12.30pm from Scows Landing near the Ngunguru River after flood waters threatened their home.
The family were ferried across the river in the boat.
The main road into the area has been closed because of flooding.
The driver of a car trapped in floodwaters at Motatau, 52km northwest of Whangarei, was also freed by passersby this morning while a minor car accident in Oakura and a blocked road in Kamo due to a tree fall were attended to by firefighters.
Meanwhile, the Civil Defence is warning Northland to brace for widespread flooding as heavy rains continue to hit the region, with businesses in Kaeo already hit by floodwaters.
Power is out in some areas while some roads and properties are flooded as heavy rain and high winds hit the north of the country overnight.
A Northland Regional Council spokesman said some businesses in Kaeo had flooded, while surface flooding in Kerikeri and Waipapa could enter the basement levels of properties.
Coastal communities have also been hit by surface flooding and slips, forcing the closure of stretches of State Highway 10 and other roads.
Some schools – including Kerikeri Primary School – have already shut for the day or would be closing early today.
Police and firefighters decided to close the Twin Bridges at Kawakawa about 10.50am due to rising flood waters.
In the 27 hours from 9am, Northland is expected to get a further 100 to 150mm of rain, mainly from about Kaikohe southwards, before easing tomorrow morning, while Gisborne is expected to receive 120 to 180mm of rain in the 33 hours from 9am.
Northland Civil Defence spokesperson Graeme MacDonald stressed the seriousness of the situation.
“We’re urging people to take appropriate precautions, especially those living in flood-prone areas. We’re also asking people not to travel at all and stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.”
Northland Regional Council figures show between midnight Saturday and 9am today, 283.5mm of rain had fallen on the eastern hills above Kaeo – roughly twice the 130mm to 140mm of rain that normally falls on the Northland region for the entire month of March.
Over the same period, 202.5mm had fallen at Whangarei’s Glenbervie area, 200mm at Puhipuhi near Whangarei, 189mm at Kerikeri and 179mm at Waitangi. The Ngunguru area near Whangarei had recorded 172mm.
Whangarei city had also recorded 117mm and Dargaville had 49.6mm.
Mr MacDonald said there had been surface flooding reported in many areas, affecting roads and closing some schools.
“With many of the region’s rivers already seriously affected by the rain that has already fallen, more rain along the lines of that forecast, coupled with a 2.4m high tide along the east coast about 6pm today means the likelihood of more serious flooding is looking increasingly likely.”
Police this morning advised motorists to take care on the roads in the Kaeo area as the heavy rain has caused surface flooding.
The Whangarei District Council is reporting flooding this morning on Ngunguru Rd, SH1 Whakapara, Whananaki North Rd, Matipo Pl, Marua Rd, Otonga Rd, Kokopu Rd and Russell Rd, and trees down or slips on Russell Rd, Peach Orchard Rd, Kaiatea Rd, and Springs Flat.
Flooding has also been reported on SH10 between Kaeo and Hihi Rd.
MetService has issued a severe weather warning in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Peninsula, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, and Taupo, as a deep low moves slowly past the northeast of the country.
Auckland, north of Whangaparoa and Great Barrier is forecast to get 80 to 100mm of rain from 21 hours from 9am, while the Coromandel Peninsula is expected to receive 80 to 120mm, mainly in the east, in the 27 hours from 9am.
In the 30 hours from midday 80 to 120 mm of rain is forecast in the Hawkes Bay, with larger falls expected in the ranges.
Strong wind warnings are also in place for Northland, Taranaki and Taupo, with gusts up to 120km/h possible in exposed areas.
on 19/03/2012 12:48am
So far its been raining from 8.30ish last night, so far, I’ve emptied out 120 mls from the raingauge and the farm is severely flooded. ( Don’t think I could get out to do shopping, lol)
on 18/03/2012 10:17pm
Honestly up here,pretty miserable weather much of the year in these above mentioned localities places,its “not far enough south” to miss these subtropical depressions and have snow in winter and “too far south” to get decent tropical warm weather.