25 Nov 2020

Flooding on New Plymouth streets as downpours pound North Island

5:04 pm on 25 November 2020

Flooding and slips are causing disruption across Taranaki and the council has mobilised its emergency response teams as heavy rain pounds much of the North Island.

MetService said rain and thunderstorms had been due to affect Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki and Taihape through to 8pm.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for an area near Taupō this afternoon but the system tracked off to the south-east.

Meterologist Lewis Ferris said Auckland was hit with a band of showers about 1pm and isolated heavy showers were still possible.

He said although Taranaki had a lot of rain overnight and this morning, the forecast was looking better.

Ferris said about 300 lightning strikes hit the central North Island this afternoon.

Downpours in Taranaki started overnight in the day and by midday 90mm of rain had fallen at New Plymouth Airport, more than in all of last of last November. Nearby Hillsborough got 67.5mm from 6am-9am, including 33.5mm in the last of those hours.

Sewage overflows have been reported at pump stations in New Plymouth and public health warning signs are going up at beaches after the rain.

The district council has closed Calvert Road in Moturoa, Brougham Street in the city and Egmont Road between Katere Road and Henwood roads due to flooding.

The Huatoki Plaza underpass was closed due to rising water levels.

The Huatoki Plaza underpass is closed. Photo: New Plymouth District Council / Jacqueline Baker

It has also closed the Huatoki Plaza and Puke Ariki underpass due to rising water levels.

Mayor of New Plymouth Neil Holdom warned residents to steer clear of contaminated beaches, rivers and streams.

Holdom said the city's emergency response team had been mobilised and public health warning signs had gone up at contaminated areas.

The city's wastewater treatment plant was working at full capacity but coping well, he said.

A flight from Wellington to Hamilton was diverted to Auckland today after a suspected lighting strike.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said the aircraft was being assessed by engineers in Auckland.

Passengers were put onto another flight from Auckland to Hamilton.

The airline said lightning strikes were not uncommon and pilots were trained for the scenario.

The council has mobilised its emergency response team and has crews on the ground clearing drains and removing debris.

The Transport Agency says a slip is being cleared from State Highway 3 at Tangahoe south of Hawera.

One lane is flooded at the intersection of SH3 and Dudley Road south of Inglewood and a 30km/h speed limit is in place.

Flooding is also causing distruption in Egmont Village and further south on SH3 at Kākaramea.

On State Highway 45, flooding was reported at multiple locations between Ōkato and Opunake.

Rain warnings were in place for Bay of Plenty and Taranaki north of Eltham, including the mountain, through to this evening.

MetService says rainfall this heavy can cause surface flooding and flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips.

The upper South Island are not likely to escape the wet weather, with the Kaikōura Coast and Takaka Hill and Arthur Range areas under a heavy rain watch.

Main centre forecasts:

  • Auckland - Rain, heavy at times, turning to showers in the evening as strong, gusty northerlies ease. Possible squally thunderstorms this morning and afternoon. High: 24C
  • Hamilton - Rain, heavy at times, turning to showers in the evening as strong, gusty northerlies ease. Possible squally thunderstorms until late evening. High: 23C
  • Wellington - Periods of rain, some possibly heavy, easing at night. Northeasterlies. High: 16C
  • Christchurch - Patchy drizzle, turning to rain later this morning, easing back to drizzle in the evening. Northeasterlies. High: 17C
  • Dunedin - Fine. Northeasterlies, freshening in the afternoon. High: 18