Rain eases off for sodden Northland

07:32, Jul 20 2014

Storm-weary Northlanders are cleaning up again after heavy rain overnight and facing the prospect of the main route into Northland remaining closed for several days. 

Severe weather caused problems for the North with ''about nine'' slips between Whangarei and Auckland.


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The main road route to Northland is again closed, with a section of State Highway 1 washed away on the Brynderwyn Hill.

The closure comes just days after the road reopened after an earlier washout at Kawakawa closed the road for most of last week.


The NZ Transport Agency said this evening the latest slip meant the highway would be closed for several days.

A 10-metre-long section of hill collapsed under the highway earlier this afternoon.

"Unlike the under slip on SH1 at Kawakawa last week, there is no room on the Brynderwyns to build a detour route around the collapsed section of road," the agency's Regional Journey Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult said. "We will have to repair the underslip itself before we can re-open the Brynderwyns."

Hori-Hoult said the slip was still moving and detailed assessment of ground stability had to be completed before repair work can begin.

"We are aware of the importance of this section of highway as the main road link between Northland and Auckland.  Everything will be done to have it repaired as quickly as possible, but it will only be re-opened when we are completely satisfied it is safe for people to use."

Two detours route are available for drivers.  One is via SH12 through Paparoa and Oakleigh, and the other is via Waiapu and Mangawhai.  The detours will add another 30 to 40 minutes to journeys.

State Highway One near the Brynderwyn Hills was closed earlier for several hours after a large slip and a number of houses were flooded in Maungaturoto.

Authorities worked through the night dealing with flooding, slips, stranded vehicles and other weather-related issues, however,  the region appeared to have emerged without significant further damage according to Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

The Brynderwyn Hill slip was cleared around 4am this morning, but motorists were advised to continue to drive with caution in the region.

River levels throughout Northland had been monitored closely and although they had risen significantly overnight, causing localised flooding in some areas, there were not widespread issues.

Northland Regional Council rainfall figures for the 24 hours to 6am Sunday show that more than 100mm of rain fell in some locations in Northland.

In the Far North, Opouteke recorded the highest rainfall with 63.5mm over the 24 hours. Puhipuhi (north of Whangarei) received 69mm - this was enough to create a 1.5m rise in the inflows into Hikurangi Swamp but stopbanks were not overflowing.

In Whangarei, 106mm had been recorded in Maunu and a similar amount, 105.2mm, at the regional council's Water St offices.

Anyone whose home is flooded or who urgently needed accommodation, food, heating, clothing or medical supplies should contact their local council in the first instance.

Rain was expected to continue throughout today but this was not expected to cause further concern.

Southerlies, rising to gales gusting up to 90kmh in exposed places were expected, but would ease tonight.