Mother nature continues grip on region

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 15:30 12/06/2014

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Mother nature isn't loosening its wet and windy grip on the region in a hurry, with one household in Te Aroha evaucated due to flood risk.

Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) said occupants of a house in Rewi St have been evacuated to friends, with Matamata Piako District Council staff monitoring nearby properties.

Waihou River near Te Aroha  is currently the highest it has been for a number of years and with more rain on the way, it is predicted to continue to rise.

Farmers along the river have been advised to check stock. No houses are at risk, TCDC said.

Waikato Regional Council's flood team is monitoring the level of the region's waterways closely as more rain due today and tomorrow will place extra strain on already swollen rivers and streams.


The regional council's flood team is providing advice to the Thames valley authorities on what is happening with Waihou river levels as they manage the situation, said regional council flood response manager Adam Munro.

 Elsewhere in the region, streams feeding the lower Waikato River are also particularly swollen and regional council staff are out working with landowners on any actions they need to take to protect their properties.

 "We have also activated our flood response room in Hamilton to help co-ordinate any further  response that may be required as the situation develops," Munro said.

State Highway 29 over the Kaimais is closed in both directions due to a major slip on the lower Kaimai range.

The latest severe weather warning from MetService scales down heavy rain from eastern Waikato and Coromandel to Gisborne and Hawkes Bay by early Friday. 

The weather is expected to settle down heading into the weekend. 

The area of low pressure that has been the driving force behind the unsettled weather is finally set to clear the country for the weekend, making way for some quieter weather. A brief ridge of high pressure continues to build across New Zealand in the coming days with the forecast for the weekend looking drier for many, albeit cloudy at times. 

"Over the last few days the South Island has seen some drier and brighter weather creeping northwards, and for the weekend that's moving onto the North Island" said MetService meteorologist John Law.

"However there will still be some areas of cloud, especially around western facing coasts, and lingering patches of low cloud and fog in some inland basins and valleys of the South Island," he said. 

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With the feed of warm air that has extended across the country over the last week, temperatures have been relatively mild. However, with the return of some clearer and colder nights, frosts are on the cards for some this weekend.

The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group urged  Coromandel Peninsula residents to take extra care today through to Friday morning as another band of heavy rain is due to hit the area between Whitianga and Tauranga.

Waikato Police were also busy dealing with surface flooding and crashes on the slippery roads.

MetService predicted between 120mm and 180mm of rain would fall over the period from last night till tomorrow morning.

The new rainband comes as waterways and soils are already saturated from heavy rain on the Coromandel over the past few days.

Civil Defence programme manager Greg Ryan said the forecast rain meant more potential for hazardous driving conditions, slips, surface flooding and elevated waterway levels.

The heavy rain and stong winds that affected many parts of the Waikato overnight Tuesday have eased during Wednesday, but have returned overnight Wednesday and are expected to persist until early Friday morning.

RADIO TOWER DAMAGED

Many Waikato commuters missed their dose of Radio New Zealand's morning report today.

It's understood the FM tower on Mt Te Aroha went dead about two hours ago and a technician was en route to fix the fault.

The location is remote and that's believed to be responsible for the delay.

Inclement weather is still covering the region but it's not clear what caused the transmitter to fail.

The broadcast remains on air via the AM channel, the web and other mediums.

A spokesperson from Matamata-Piako District Council said a flood risk is in place for some Te Aroha properties on the southern end of Rewi St, Honi St, Herries St, and the southern end of Whitaker St. 

"We will be door knocking and dropping off the attached flyer to properties that are at risk," said communications officer Nicole Nooyen. 

 "It is also very important that people avoid travelling through streets with surface flooding as this is creating [bow] waves that flood onto peoples property."

- Waikato Times

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