Coromandel cut off by storm
Coromandel residents are being told to batten down the hatches and prepare for an onslaught of wild weather as a combination of gale force winds, severe rain and surging tides forced the closure of SH25 to the north and south of Thames.
With the high tide expected at 10pm, police said the main road south of Thames to Maramarahi and SH25 from Victoria Street North to Coromandel Township would close from 9pm.
Residents in Thames and those along the highway would be cut off and would not be able to leave or re-enter the area until the tide receded and damage repaired.
Earlier in the night, police in the Coromandel advised motorists to avoid SH25 between Thames and Whitianga as winds gusting up to 130 kmh and expected rain of up to 120mm caused multiple slips and brought down trees.
They urged caution and advised residents to stay indoors
A high wind warning for the Coromandel was extended to Eastern Waikato and Waikato Civil Defence were on high alert as the weather threatened the leeward side of the Kaimai Ranges.
Residents were told to secure loose items and take care on the roads with gusts of up to 130 kmh threatening to uproot trees and cause havoc to power, telecommunications and larger vehicles on the roads.
Heavy rain of between 100 millimetres and 120mm was also expected on the Coromandel Peninsula before easing overnight.
In an early callout, the Waihi Volunteer fire brigade dealt to a pine tree that blocked one lane on the Waihi-Whangamata road.
Chief fire officer Moe Stevens said the brigade cleared the tree from the road before roading crews arrived to take over the scene.
‘‘It looked a pretty healthy tree and yet it was basically rotten at the base. I’m just glad it happened this afternoon and not tonight,’’ he said.
Metservice communications meteorologist John Law said the Eastern Waikato was most susceptible to strong winds particularly in the leeward side of the Kaimai Ranges and damage would be expected.
‘‘These are strong winds and it’s not out of the question to see some damage. It’s not surprising at all.’’
The region would have to batten down the hatches overnight but with the low pressure system remaining close he expected the wind to change change to a southwesterly direction.
‘‘Once that starts to pull away you’ll see the wind start to change direction,’’ he said. ‘‘It moves in from the north, swings down to say south of Auckland and we see that wind change from the southeasterly to more of a southwesterly as we head into tomorrow ntsG Wed 25th nte.’’
Expect the rain to continue throughout the week with improvement before the weekend.
‘‘Once we go through to the end of the week we should start to see the weather improving but for the next couple of days at least, it’s not looking great.’’Waikato region Civil Defence spokesman Stephen Ward said reports of gusts of 120 kmh around the Coromandel and they were keeping a close eye on the situation.
‘‘There’s the tidal issues and the rain as well so there’s quite a mixed bag of influences there.’’
He said civil defence workers on the ground expected the situation to ‘‘get a bit livelier’’ as the night wore on and they urged people to be safe and avoid unnecessary travel.
‘‘Be aware of the risks and we’ll just have to do an assessment in the morning of what impact events have had overnight."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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