Flooding causes traffic chaos on the Coromandel
A weather bomb hitting the Coromandel is causing headaches for thousands of holidaymakers who have been asked to exercise ''extreme caution'' as heavy rain causes slips and flooding in the region.
Waikato police are urging against all but essential travel along the east coast of the Coromandel.
Officer in charge of Thames-Coromandel Road Policing, Sergeant Jim Corbett, said heavy rain from overnight hadn't let up. Several areas were flooded and a number of slips had fallen across roads.
"Flooding has been reported in Tairua, Pauanui and Matarangi, Whitianga and a number of other locations with camping grounds at Opoutere and Cooks Beach flooded," Corbett said. "The community hall at Cooks Beach has been opened to accommodate evacuated campers.
"The eastern coast of the peninsula appears to have been hit the hardest with the area having just reached high tide which has compounded the issue.''
At Hot Water Beach SH25 is closed at the intersection due to flooding.
The affected area is approximately half-way between Tairua and Whitianga, and flooding is expected to increase with high tide due around 4.30pm.
The intersection and affected area is likely to remain closed until around 7pm this evening, but will be reassessed.
Police advise motorists to avoid the area by taking an alternative route or delaying travel.
Police are advising people intending to travel to the area is not to, at least for the next three hours and to monitor the NZTA Highway Information website.
Corbett said for those drivers who still need to use Coromandel roads despite the warnings, extreme care needed to be taken, even after the rain stopped.
"There will still be a lot of water on the roads and the key thing will be to take care and watch your speed."
Heavy , thundery rain is forecast for the rest of the day in the region but is expected to ease by evening.
Areas affected as at 8am include but are not isolated to:
SH25 Kuaotunu-Wharekaho Rd on the Whitianga side of Kuaotunu Hill
SH25 Whangapoua Hill
Tairua - surface flooding various locations
Whangamata - surface flooding various locations
Pauanui - surface flooding various locations
SH25 Matarangi - surface flooding between Matarangi and Coromandel
Opoutere - surface flooding
Cooks Beach - surface flooding