Flood warning for Auckland residents

Last updated 20:58 23/01/2011
WET WEATHER: Flooding at Amy's Kitchen cafe, Whitford Road, near Howick. The cafe remains open.
milford beach
HAVOC: A photo of Milford Beach taken a short time ago.
Little Shoal Bay in Birkenhead.
BIG POND: Little Shoal Bay in Birkenhead.

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Residents of low-lying Auckland areas are being warned to have a getaway kit ready in case they need to move to higher ground tonight in the event of flooding.

Civil Defence controller for Auckland Clive Manley said high tide was expected at 11.21pm, and people should be prepared.

Getaway kits should contain essential items, family documents such as passports and drivers licenses and personal items such as medication and toiletries, Mr Manley said.

Areas worst-affected by flooding this morning were the lower central business district and eastern suburbs, Maraetai, Leigh, Herald Island and parts of State Highway 16, SH1 and Tamaki Drive.

"Areas that have already flooded are likely to suffer flooding again at high tide this evening," Mr Manley said.

"Although the rain has eased, the combination of a high tide and strong winds means the worst may be yet to come.

"People should stay off the roads and only travel this evening if it's absolutely necessary."

Heavy rain and strong winds caused havoc across the North Island today, with campers evacuated, trees down, roads closed and widespread flooding.

The Fire Service responded to more than 150 weather-related events in the northern region.

Fire Service northern shift manager Jaron Phillips said concern was held for Herald Island in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, when the high tide came in at midnight.

The MetService had heavy rain warnings in place for most of the North Island from Northland to Wanganui.

Gale force winds were also blasting parts of Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki, with a wind warning in force for Coromandel.

Waikato Civil Defence duty officer Greg Ryan said people needed to be aware potentially damaging winds could reach 120kmh on the Coromandel Peninsula.

"The concern is the wind will whip up the king tide expected around 11.30 tonight, increasing the likelihood of flooding in low-lying coastal areas," Mr Ryan said.

There was also a risk of rivers flooding in Coromandel, Hauraki Plains and Taupo over the next three days, he said.

About 300 people were evacuated from a Taupo campground this morning.

Rivers had reached warning levels in eastern Bay of Plenty and were steadily rising, Bay of Plenty Regional Council community relations manager Bronwyn Campbell said.

"We understand that there is some localised and surface flooding throughout the region, however this is been attended to by local council staff."

Tonight's high tide would be closely monitored as onshore winds and rain could restrict rivers flowing into the sea, Ms Campbell said.

Campers in the area had been asked to move to safe areas and farmers to move stock to high ground.

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In Rotorua, there had been some minor wastewater overflows but sewer flows were under control and being closely monitored, Rotorua District Council utilities operations manager Eric Cawte said.

"There is the possibility of contamination of some of our waterways so as a safety and health precaution we are recommending people stay well away from swollen streams and rivers.

"We certainly urge people in the meantime not to swim or take fish from our waterways, or from areas where streams and rivers enter the lakes."

There had also been surface flooding and minor slips, Mr Cawte said.

Drivers are being warned to take care in the hazardous conditions with slips and surface flooding and high winds blasting the North Island.

Motorists should take extra caution on State Highway 2 between Napier and Wairoa, SH3 from Wanganui to Taranaki, SH4 from Wanganui to Raetihi and SH5 from Napier to Taupo due to minor slips and surface water on roads, Sergeant Andy Dow of police central communications said.

The Desert Road between Waiouru and Turangi was closed.

Further south, weather had forced the cancellation of the flying programme at Wings Over Wairarapa.

Senior Sergeant Marty Edgehill, of police central communications, said there had been slips, debris on the road and minor crashes in the central and lower North Island.

"It's quite noticeable that were having a fair bit of activity that can be put down to the weather," Mr Edgehill said. 

Do you have any photos of the flooding? Email them to stuffnewsroom@stuff.co.nz.

Watch YouTube footage of the flooding below:


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