Upgraded state of emergency and worry over Edgecumbe stopbank as new deluge nears video


Civil Defence are on high alert after receiving weather reports of heavy rain.

A upgraded state of emergency for the Bay of Plenty comes as frantic efforts to pump water out of the flooded town of Edgecumbe and lower the Matahina Dam to the lowest level on record are made.

A state of emergency was declared by Whakatane District Council when Edgecumbe was inundated with floodwaters on Thursday, April 6, after the stopbank in the town breached forcing the evacuation of 1600 residents.

Now, a regional state of emergency has been announced as the aftermath of Cyclone Cook bears down, kicking a Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Regional response into action.

Whakatane District mayor Tony Bonne was quizzed by media at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Whakatane District mayor Tony Bonne was quizzed by media at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Current models show the remnants of Cyclone Cook, currently wreaking havoc in New Caledonia, will hit the Whakatane region from midday Wednesday with a forecast 200 to 250mm of rain falling on already saturated catchments.

* Edgecumbe residents return home after historic flood
* Photo essay: Edgecumbe in ruins
* First Edgecumbe residents get to go home
* Behind the cordon: Edgecumbe

At a hastily-organised press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's duty flood manager Peter Blackwood said everything that was possible to lower the possibility of a flood was being done.

Will the new stopbank hold? Officials remain hopeful in the face of further potential floods in Edgecumbe.

Will the new stopbank hold? Officials remain hopeful in the face of further potential floods in Edgecumbe.

It was literally a case of all hands to the pumps.

"With the information we currently have available, the bulk of the rain is going to arrive Thursday and it looks like coastal communities are going to be hit the worst. Severe gales are also predicted along the coast which will likely lead to storm surges and flooding of coastal margins.

The council was working closely with Trustpower to lower the Matahina dam to the lowest levels ever recorded, he said.

Kevin Stent/Fairfax NZ

Lead Minister to Edgecumbe Anne Tolley is not confident the temporary stopbank for the flood ravaged town will cope with predicted rain

"Our pumps along the Rangitaiki are also going full speed to remove water from flooded areas and there are ongoing inspections of the stop banks."

Ad Feedback

Outside of the eastern Bay, the Okere gates had been open for more than two weeks and were discharging flood water from Lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua at capacity.

"There are no further steps we can take to lower these lake levels and residents should expect some flooding around lake margins.

Water flows into Edgecumbe through a breach in the Rangitaiki River stopbank shortly before 9am Thursday.

Water flows into Edgecumbe through a breach in the Rangitaiki River stopbank shortly before 9am Thursday.

"Our pumps in the lower Kaituna have also been going flat tack."

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence controller Clinton Naude had a stark warning for Eastern Bay residents who had returned home.

"Make sure your getaway kits are ready ... Heed the natural warning signs and self-evacuate if you feel the need. Don't wait for the official warning.

CHRIS McKEEN/Stuff.co.nz

Floodwaters recede in Edgecumbe - Sunday 9 April

"We are looking at a very similar event [to last week's]. Sit down as a family and come up with a self-evacuation plan. Arrange where you will go and who you can stay with."

Farmers were being advised to move stock to higher ground from low lying areas before noon Wednesday.

"Edgecumbe residents will be alerted to any evacuations by fire station sirens sounding continuously and by emergency services vehicles driving round with sirens on. That will be the signal to move."

CHRIS McKEEN/Stuff.co.nz

Work on rebuilding Edgecumbe's flood wall began last week.

The dire predictions were a very different situation to last week, when the flood waters washed into the town with no official warning or even the sounding of a fire alarm.

Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne admitted his hopeful early estimates that all the Edgecumbe residents would be back in their homes by Easter were now impossible.

"I think a lot of people will understand why they now can't get back."

He had inspected the new replacement section for the town's failed stopbank and he was impressed.

"I would rather be behind the temporary wall than the other walls ... The stopbanks are saturated, so there will be weaknesses."

Bonne would not be drawn on whether the area of failed stopbank had a deep enough foundation. Nobody had expressed any concerns about it to him.

"I can't answer that. It's been there for decades."

The magnitude of last week's deluge had taken everyone by surprise, and it was very difficult to say what steps could have been taken to avoid the flooding, he said.

MetService meteorologist Brian Mercer said the current cyclone tracks showed the ex-tropical storm was going to hit the Bay of Plenty late Thursday into early Friday.

It would then move across the East Cape and skirt down the east coast of the North Island and onto the South Island.

"That will bring some quite heavy rainfall to a lot of areas including the Bay of Plenty and also quite strong gales."

Edgecumbe residents from 130 homes were able to return on Tuesday through West Bank Rd.

Wastewater, water and power were due to be back on in this area this morning but residents were asked to use these sparingly.

Building inspectors are continuing to do checks around Edgecumbe on Tuesday, inspecting properties not already cleared.

Stickers indicating whether buildings are safe (white), restricted access (yellow) or unsafe for access at this stage (red). Red status doesn't automatically mean homes will be uninhabitable, they are just unsafe at this stage.

Residents back in their homes could register for emergency text alerts by texting WH to 2028. People should get a text back confirming registration.


 - Waikato Times


Ad Feedback
special offers

Holiday traffic turns deadly

Traffic heading south out Auckland will test weekenders' patience. And the roadworks don't help.

Labour Weekend off to a tragic start following a fatal crash on SH2 near Wairoa as traffic builds nationwide.

Auckland's Motutapu to reopen

Motutapu Island is home to Kiwi and many other native birds.

Pest-free island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf will open again in time for Labour Weekend.

Kiwi war hero runs for his life video

With each step on the Auckland Marathon, pilot Ben Pryor will put the trauma of being shot at in Afghanistan behind him.

With each step on the Auckland Marathon, pilot Ben Pryor will put the trauma of being shot at in Afghanistan behind him.

Cliff-fall victim an avid walker

Cliff stabilisation works are being carried out nearby.

Elderly woman Ruth Sutherland fell to her death at the bottom of her own garden in Auckland.


Blind bowls: easier than it looks video

The white ball is called a jack or kitty.

How do you bowl when you can't see the balls?

Holiday traffic crawl

Labour Weekend traffic heading out of the capital is already starting to build on State Highway 1 Plimmerton to Paraparaumu.

Traffic congestion builds, as motorists head away for the long weekend.

Vaping fears evaporate

The Ministry of Health believes e-cigarettes have the potential to make a contribution to the Smokefree 2025 goal.

The Ministry of Health now supports vaping as a way to reach the Smokefree 2025 target.

Mixed bag for Labour Weekend video

Wellington weather will be a mixed bag this weekend.

In true spring fashion, the region's Labour Weekend weather will bring a bit of everything.


SH1 rebuild to continue into 2018

Work at Ohau point on State Highway 1 on Thursday. The site is one of the critical parts of the rebuild.

Night-time closures, unsealed sections and lane closures will greet travellers when the quake-damaged SH1 reopens in December.

Boy seriously hurt

Police have attended multiple crashes in the South Island on Friday afternoon. (File photo)

The long weekend's off to a bad start, with a three-vehicle crash leaving a boy with serious injuries.

New technology hub in CBD

The building has eight storeys and large floors.

An education, research and technology transfer hub is to be established in an old office building in Christchurch's east frame.

Christchurch motorway open day

Drone images of the Western Belfast Bypass, which is set to open in November.

Walkers, runners and cyclists will be the first to travel on the Western Belfast Bypass.


Wheelie boys rile police

Hamilton has a new gang the H-Town Wheelie Boyz.

You can recognise them from the gang-like patch, and the fact they're doing wheelies in traffic.

Crash spot work eyed

The Gordonton and Thomas Road intersection was the site of 12 crashes in nine months.

Intersection at Gordonton and Thomas roads could get a roundabout or lights.

Anxiety, elation in PM's hometown

Kiwitahi farmer Paddy O'Shea and his 10 year old daughter Danielle. O'Shea was disappointed with Peters' decision to ...

The new government means good times ahead or off to hell in a hand-cart, depending on who you ask in Morrinsville.

Students abandon pets

The Waikato SPCA is expecting a lot more abandoned cats like Necky as students move away in November.

Students are dumping their pets as they head away from their study cities.


Fitzell brings up 50 years

Taranaki area commander Pat Fitzell has worn many hats in his 50 years with the fire service.

He's seen a few changes in his time but isn't about to hang up his boots just yet.

Brown baths be gone

Inglewood resident Larissa Linley and her daughter Ava Roberts, 9 months, have grown tired of the town's brown water issues.

This small town's funny-tasting, strange-smelling brown water is about to get cleaned up.

New Government divides region

Aaron Huston preferred a National-led Government.

There were cheers and tears at the news of a new Government.

Kererū shot in protected area

Four kererū were found shot dead at Lake Mangamahoe

Bullet fragments were found in the carcasses of four native wood pigeons.


Building her body

Jose Marshall has gone from learning how to walk again to competing at the bodybuilding nationals.

Jose Marshall was almost killed in a crash. Now, she's competing at the bodybuilding nationals.

Finding freedom video

Four-year-old Fowya Julsalam is getting to grips with his new life in New Zealand.

He was thrown into jail and beaten. Now, Musti Rahman and his family are free.

On the road again

A scheme offering passenger services to the elderly and people with mobility issues is now available to private ...

Law change tipped to improve transport options for people with mobility issues.

Karting kid to F1 video

Brendon Hartley gets fitted into his new car ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Brendon Hartley has 21 years of motorsport experience to draw on in the F1.


Makos fans jet into enemy territory

Originair flight OG3313 Captain Warwick Wild shows his support for the Tasman Makos before a flight to New Plymouth today.

Look out Ferdinand - there'll be a few more fins up in the crowd at Yarrow Stadium this weekend.

Tale of two MPs

Nick Smith says National will be a formidable force in opposition.

The top of the south looks set to swap one cabinet minister for another.

Salisbury takes heart 

Salisbury School at Richmond is the only national single-sex residential school for girls with intellectual disabilities.

Could the long fight to save Salisbury School be over with the change of government?

Sanctuary given $150k

The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary says water testing shows no poison residue has been detected in water tests following the ...

The Brook Sanctuary has recieved $150,000 in funding from the NCC.


Building blocks for a happy family

Vanessa Hopkins is in charge of paperwork while Mathew, left, and Glenn drive heavy machinery to lay and smooth out the ...

Workers on the highway rebuild are like one big family. Especially these three, who are family.

The cats nobody wants

Manager, Kaycee Polkinghorne (pictured) said sending the cats to Wellington gave them a better chance of adoption.

Thirteen cats took an early morning flight to Wellington on Saturday hoping for a fresh start.

Doggie Gold Card with benefits

Winston Peters may leave a political legacy with pooches at Marlborough if a doggie Gold Card goes ahead.

Winston Peters may unwittingly leave a political legacy at Marlborough as councillors consider a Gold Card for dogs.

The long and winding dead end

The Acheron Rd, through Molesworth Station, is open again, but only from the Marlborough end.

It's a long, dusty through-road that doesn't go through anymore. The Molesworth road reopens ... kind of.

South Canterbury

It's coming down

Owner of the Hydro Grand, Allan Booth.

Timaru's Hydro Grand Hotel could be reduced to rubble by the end of November.

Disease 'contained'

22092017 News Photo: TOM LEE/STUFF - Dairy Cow, Farming, Fonterra, Cattle. Milking, Dawn Morning.

Ministry for Primary Industries confident Mycoplasma bovis is contained.

Farewell to commissioner

Fairlie Primary School commissioner Terri Johnstone has said farewell to the school.

Fairlie Primary School is in a state of self-governence once more.

Hottest spots as spring sizzles

Peta Couling and Zion Reihana, both 13, were getting their feet wet at Caroline Bay on Wednesday as the hot weather set in.

Otematata hottest in country on Thursday with 30.1 degrees, while Mt Cook set new record.


Boy seriously hurt in crash

Police have attended multiple crashes in the South Island on Friday afternoon. (File photo)

The long weekend is off to a bad start in the South Island, with a three-vehicle crash leaving a boy with serious injuries.

Joint approach trialed to freedom camping enforcement in the Catlins

Freedom camping will be more heavily monitored in the Catlins over summer, with a jointly-funded approach to be trialed ...

Otago-Southland authorities join forces to control freedom camping in the Catlins.

MP wants to get 'stuff done'

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said he will lobby for tourism levy and better transport system in Queenstown.

 "When an MP phones up departments they treat you a lot different than an average Joe Bloggs," Hamish Walker said.

Southern temperatures soar

Archie Livingstone, 6, of Cromwell, cools down at the Lowburn Inlet on Thursday when temperatures reached 28.6degC  - ...

Sunhats are out and sprinklers working over time as record October temperatures hit the south.


Burnoff out of control

Helicopters from Southern Lakes and Te Anau Helicopters using monsoon buckets to fight a large grass fire at Mt Prospect ...

Fire crews are attending an out-of-control burnoff near Te Anau.

Fishing for all

Greg Sheppard, from Te Anau's, Trout Observatory releases a rainbow trout into McGregor's Pond near Te Anau, under the ...

Southerners are spoilt for choice this weekend in terms of things to do.

Southland fraudster sentenced

The Invercargill District Court.

A Southland fraudster who admitted 16 dishonesty charges has been sentenced to community detention.

A passion for the immortal Mustang

Wayne Fabish, of the Taranaki Mustang Club, spent four years building up his 67 Mustang, which he is showing for the ...

The 38th National Mustang Convention taking place in Invercargill this weekend.

Ad Feedback