Heavy rain is easing off in the Gisborne region and with it the concerns Civil Defence had about rising river levels and possible evacuations.
Gisborne District Council Emergency Manager Richard Steel says the Te Arai River, south-west of the city, has risen to around 2.5 metres. It floods at 3.5 metres.
Mr Steele says while several rivers are running high, there’s now no likelihood people will need to be moved from their homes.
He says there were also concerns about the Waimata River, which flows through parts of the city.
In Whakatane, heavy rain is making residents nervous as they prepare for yet another possible major flood. The district has been hit by several severe weather events in the last year, costing million of dollars.
The Whakatane River has reached its first warning level, however rain has subsided this afternoon. Surface flooding has affected Edgecumbe, Ohope and Whakatane with a number of road-related issues from fallen trees and debris.
Council CEO Diane Turner says while rain has eased this afternoon, forecasts for more heavy rain is making people nervous.
“The main issues for us is that the rain forecast for the rest of the week is not good and everything is so saturated that it’s not going to take much rain to cause flooding again.”
State Highway Two between Gisborne and Wairoa is closed at Nuhaka due to severe flooding.
The New Zealand Transport Agency says drivers of cars and light vehicles risk being turned back until the flood waters subside, however heavy vehicles are still able to get through.
Te Awamutu is also one of the areas taking a battering from extreme gusts of wind. The Fire Service says roofs have lifted off properties, trees are down, parked cars have blown across the road and debris is flying everywhere.
Deputy Station Officer Murray Gillard believes it’s more severe than Cyclone Bola.
“Anything that’s not tied down is blown away,” he told Newstalk ZB. “I’ve been in the brigade when Cyclone Bola came through, and I think this one’s a bit worse than Bola because we’ve had more calls with this one.”
Murray Gillard says many people walking around don’t realise the damage and dangers of flying timber and iron.
Over 1,100 customers in the Taupo and Rotorua regions are without electricity as high winds and heavy rain batter the island and crews are working frantically to restore power.
Unison Customer Relations Manager Danny Gough says there are numerous faults on the network, as well as fallen trees bringing power lines down.
“It is proving a challenge for us and we do have hundreds of customers without power at this point in time,” he told Newstalk ZB. “However we do have all available crews out in the field working in very trying conditions trying to get power restored as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Taupo Emergency Manager Parker is urging residents to conserve water as reservoirs could run out within 12 hours if power isn’t restored to pumping stations.
Most of Taupo has had to shut up shop early during one of its busiest times of year.
Destination Great Lake Taupo General Manager Scott Pearson says service stations have also had to close. He says with a few days left of the school holidays, the timing is not ideal.
The weather is also causing havoc for Taupo residents and motorists.
Broadlands Road remains closed with around 200 metres of road covered in fallen trees and power lines, while some roofs have lifted slightly in residential areas.
Mr Parker says there’s no major surface flooding yet, but the wind is causing concern.
“This morning we were getting between 70km/h and 90km/h gusts and it’s very steady at the moment.”
Motorists are also being urged to use extreme caution on rural roads in the Waikato
Road Policing Manager Leo Tooman says crews are working right across the district to clear slips and trees brought down in the wind and rain. However he says they may not have all areas covered and is urging motorists to take care.
Mr Tooman says so far, there has been one road accident reported. A vehicle rolled on State Highway 30 near Te Kuiti but no one was injured.
– Homepage image / Rose Taylor
on 26/04/2011 6:07am
New Plymouth. My large 25m x 4m glasshouse is shedding it’s glass all afternoon and from the sound of breaking glass my smaller glasshouse is now joining the party..
More broken glass than Bola. TV aerial ripped off this morning.
Daughter in Law saw a trampoline flying up the road in Carrington Street. Son has lost his awning.
The strength isn’t weakening and in fact some gusts seem stronger.
Any idea how long before it will be safe enough to get into my glasshouses to start repairs?
I cancelled my insurance policy on them 2 years ago as the premium was too expensive to justify.