Heavy rain cuts off Coromandel town of Whitianga
The beachside town of Whitianga in the Coromandel is again accessible after being cut off to motorists after heavy rain pounded the peninsula.
But many of the region's schools remain closed due to flooding.
A section of State Highway 25 both north and south of the township was completely closed due to flooding on Thursday morning, but roads both south and north were reopened just after 10am, although caution was still being urged.
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Waikato Regional Council staff had been out checking the impact of torrential rain, duty regional flood co-ordinator Adam Munro.
"They're contacting landowners and inspecting local streams and rivers, largely around Whitanga and Tairua."
Munro said more heavy rain expected into Thursday evening could prove hazardous.
"That means there is again a risk of flooding on the peninsula that may be exacerbated by a high tide mid this afternoon, which could prevent swollen streams and rivers draining quickly.
"Residents are warned to look out for surface flooding on roads, slips and the potential for rapidly rising waterways. We'll update any advice as the situation warrants."
Residents on Whitianga's Facebook page reported a slip on Kuaotunu Hill and closure at Simpsons Beach bridge.
Kennedy Bay HIll was also closed due to a slip at the Devil's Elbow.
Broad Spectrum traffic management supervisor David Karaka said they had turned away a lot of cars while waiting for the digger to clear the debris on SH 25.
A build up of debris under and around the bridge had caused the flooding at Wade Rd, the south entrance to Whitianga, he said.
"When I arrived there was a strong current of water gushing over the bridge," said Karaka.
Meanwhile, a bus heading to Whitianga School from Tairua was earlier forced to turn around.
Mercury Bay Area School year 10 student Usheni Fernando was on her way on the school bus when the bus driver told the students they would have to turn around at Coroglen at around 8am.
"I thought he was joking with us."
"All my friends were excited but I like school so I was gutted I was going to miss out."
Manaia School was also closed due to flooding.
Flooding in homes
Fire crews in the town have been called to help residents with a flooded garage due to heavy rain, Northern Fire Communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said.
The call came in just after 7am to a home on Tarapatihi Drive.
"They lifted items higher out of the water and were using shovels to clear drains."
Update: Some pictures of the flooding on SH25 south of Whitianga. ^LC pic.twitter.com/V5oo0fasiZ— NZTA Waikato/BoP (@NZTAWaiBoP) 16 March 2016
Bursts of heavy rain
MetService has issued a severe weather warning for the peninsula as a slow-moving trough moves overhead.
Meterologist Emma Blades said 82mm of rain had fallen in Whitianga in three hours on Thursday morning.
"There has been some localised heavy downpours, especially for Whitianga.
"It is really heavy rain, even for a couple of hours it was over 30mm. It's the front hanging over them with the north-easterly flow bringing heavy rain in."
The eastern area is the worst hit, said Blades. Heavy rain was expected to ease slightly over Thursday morning but more heavy bursts of rain were expected on Thursday evening.
"Unfortunately it is just wet, wet, wet today."
Rain is expected to spread across the greater Waikato on Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning.
"It will be heavy at times for the Waikato, I can't say exactly where, but certainly will get some heavy falls," Blades said.
"By Friday evening it could ease off."
Bursts of heavy rain are expected across the region on Thursday, possibly continuing into Friday. Thunderstorms were also possible.
The watch reports rainfall accumulations could reach warning levels of 50mm in six hours or 70mm in 12 hours.
"Localised downpours are likely, with rainfall rates in excess of 30mm per hour, which has the potential to cause surface flooding and slips, as well as hazardous driving conditions."