16 Jul 2018

Flooding and slips isolate Coromandel Peninsula

3:56 am on 16 July 2018

Coromandel Peninsula has been isolated by flooding and slips after a storm lashed the top of the North Island yesterday.

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Flooding just outside Whitianga. Photo: Supplied / Viv Barrett

Heavy rain warnings have been lifted for Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula but there are warnings in place for Bay of Plenty, west of Maketu and for Gisborne from Tolaga Bay northwards and the ranges of Bay of Plenty, east of Opotiki.

The wet weather was set to make its way towards Gisborne overnight, then move on to the top of the South Island, where there are heavy rain warnings in place for the area northwest of Nelson and eastern Marlborough including the Kaikōura Coast.

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A monument dedicated to Captain Cook fell into the sea at Mercury Bay. Photo: Supplied / Danny Philips

Thames-Coromandel Civil Defence controller Garry Towler said major slips on Kopu-Hikuai and Manaia Roads meant both arterial routes had to be closed around 2pm yesterday.

State Highway 25 between Kaimarama and Whitianga were also closed due to flooding, he said.

"Our waters go down very very quickly, but what does concern us of course is any slip on the Kopu-Hikuai, State Highway 25, is always significant and therefore we can expect that the Kopu-Hikuai could be closed for some time."

In Waikato, flooding had caused congestion in both directions on State Highway 1 Ohinewai to Mercer, NZTA said.

Meanwhile, a monument dedicated to Captain Cook has fallen into the sea in the Coromandel.

There have been major slips on the Kopu-Hikaui and Manaia Roads and there has been erosion along the Mercury Bay coastline, near the monument.

Thames-Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie said the council was working on ways to save the monument.

"Unfortunately the sea beat us to it, but we're going to fight back.

"My understanding is we've rescued the plinth and we're going to have a meeting with the locals on site tomorrow ... to work out where they want to replace the plinth."

Gisborne Civil Defence said it was on standby with more rain expected from Tolaga Bay northwards up until 2am on Monday.

Northland received its heaviest rain in the early hours of yesterday morning.

If you have witnessed any flooding in the area, and would like to share pictures with us, please email it to: iwitness@radionz.co.nz

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Flooding just outside Whitianga Photo: Supplied / Vivi Barrett

Coromandel Peninsula had the most rain so far with 106.5 millimetres in the last 24 hours recorded up in the pinnacles, MetService meteorologist April Clark said.

She said the weather was moving faster down the country than what was initially forecast.

"People may be seeing the rain a little bit earlier and it will be clearing a little bit earlier."

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Photo: Supplied / Vivi Barrett


Earlier, emergency services were busy with callouts to about 30 incidents of flooding in Auckland, while power is finally back on for 77 homes near Dargaville after wild weather lashed parts of the North Island.

Strong rain and wind coincided with a king tide earlier today, wreaking havoc.

Auckland Civil Defence said another king tide at 9.26pm would be likely to flood Tamaki Drive and Esmonde Road, and possibly Beachlands-Maraetai and Omaha coastal areas.

The MetService said the high tide could cause further disruptions to vulnerable east coast roads in Auckland and that all eastern coasts from Northland through to Bay of Plenty would be at risk.

Fire and Emergency shift manager Daniel Nicholson said they had attended 30 flooding incidents in Auckland since 7am.

Callouts were initially concentrated on the North Shore.

Sandbags out in Pipimea Reef this morning.

Sandbags out in Pipimea Reef this morning. Photo: Facebook / Desley Simpson

Coastguard Auckland duty officer Carolyn Caukwell said there had been no reported incidents and very few boats were out on the water.

"We hope that people are heeding the warnings.

"It's not very nice out there but it's certainly not the worst weather we've seen this year."

Ms Caukwell said the coastguard were keeping an eye on Tamaki Drive and their breakwater in front of the marine rescue centre in light of expected king tides.

The biggest risk today was for people with moored boats.

A Vector spokesperson said there had been no major power outages in Auckland.

Power supply to 77 homes in Tokatoka, near Dargaville, is back on after being out since 4.15am after an 11,000-vault power line came down.

Roads have reopened at Oteha Valley after closing due to flooding this morning.