Wild weather wreaks havoc
Northland residents are hunkering down for another night of severe weather after a day that saw emergency services rescue a number of people from cars and homes threatened by floodwaters.
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Some coastal communities were cut off from main roads, power to hundreds of properties was knocked out as heavy rain and high winds battered New Zealand's north.
Many communities experienced what would normally be a month’s worth of rain in just 12 hours.
Inspector Ian Booker told Radio New Zealand that police had rescued people in almost every town in Northland.
Late this afternoon police rescued a number of people from the tops of their vehicles who became trapped on a bridge near Hikurangi, RNZ reported.
Fire Service northern communications shift manager Scott Osmond said a family of three had been trapped by rising waters in a house on the road between Ngunguru and Whangarei this morning.
In Portland, south of Whangarei, a woman who was trapped in a car a had to be rescued about midday, he said.
The Fire Service helped rescue the trapped people, but needed an inflatable boat to reach them.
In Otaika a woman was rescued by neighbours after being swept into floodwaters.
MORE RAIN TO COME
Further rain could cause more issues in the region and there are plans in place to activate welfare centres overnight if necessary, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group spokesman Graeme MacDonald said.
Northland could expect a further 70mm to 90mm overnight of rain, MetService said.
Civil Defence would monitor the situation overnight.
Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay would experience heavy rain overnight and tomorrow, while severe gales were expected in Taranaki, Taupo, the central plateau, Wellington and Horowhenua Kapiti Coast, a MetService spokesman said.
HUNKERING DOWN IN KAEO
In Kaeo, John Owens was preparing to spend the night in his shop, where he today sought refuge from the flooding.
He arrived at his Kaeo Farm and Fuel shop at 6am to discover “a bit of flooding”.
“It was about a metre below our shop but within two hours it was lapping at the door,” he said.
Water seeped through cracks in the building, but shutter doors managed to keep most of it out, he said.
He can now return to his Whangaroa home, but with more rain expected overnight, he’s staying put, fearing he won’t be able to make it back to the shop in the morning.
AUCKLAND: FLIGHTS DIVERTED, POWER CUT
Flights were diverted from landing at Auckland Airport as the wild weather started to move south this afternoon.
Several Air New Zealand flights, including one from Adelaide, which were bound for Auckland today were diverted, while 24 return services were cancelled due to adverse weather, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said.
Where possible, passengers were transported to their destinations by road. Some disruption to flights should be expected in the morning as aircraft are repositioned, the spokeswoman said.
Winds this afternoon reached up to 45km an hour at Auckland Airport, MetService said.
Power was expected to be fully restored on Waiheke Island by 7pm after a high voltage pole snapped earlier today, leaving 148 homes without power, a Vector spokeswoman said.
Power had also been restored to homes in Takanini after an outage and 1200 homes in the South Hokianga area were expected to have power to them restored this evening.
DELAY TRAVEL - POLICE
Police received "numerous calls" today about rain-related events. They included reports of slips, fallen trees and widespread flooding.
At least 12 roads were closed or had limited access due to fallen trees, while many more were closed due to flooding.
Police advised anyone intending on travelling north of Auckland to delay their trip for at least 24 hours.
The severe weather also delayed mail deliveries in and around Whangarei, and other parts of Northland.
Northland Regional Council (NRC) figures showed that between midnight Saturday and 11am today, 311.5mm of rain fell on the eastern hills above Kaeo, north of Kerikeri. That was more than twice the 130mm to 140mm of rain normal for Northland during the month of March.
In the Glenbervie area, east of Whangarei, 223mm had fallen since Saturday midnight, with 226mm at Puhipuhi near Whangarei, 209mm at Kerikeri and 193mm at Waitangi. The Ngunguru area near Whangarei had 198mm.
Whangarei city recorded 145mm and Dargaville recorded 49.6mm.
Surface flooding had been reported in many areas and many of the region's rivers were seriously affected.