23 Jun 2023

Te Karaka cut off as torrential rain hits Gisborne again, state of emergency in place

9:00 pm on 23 June 2023
Surface flooding on Poverty Bay Flats

Surface flooding on the Poverty Bay flats. Photo: Gisborne District Council

The region is under a state of emergency until Sunday.

More than 100 people have evacuated their homes around 14 families are cut off by floodwaters in the Tolaga Bay region.

After three weather-related emergencies this year alone, Civil Defence spokesman Greg Shelton said everything is in order.

"Got everything under control, got welfare centres ready to go, teams ready to go, radios on, generators ready to go, so, we're well versed in this."

Shelton is urging people to stay at home overnight.

Civil Defence has asked residents in low lying areas not to wait for an official evacuation and leave if they feel unsafe.

Controller David Wilson said emergency responders were standing by to help anyone who needed to evacuate.

House of Breakthrough and Te Poho-o-Rawiri Marae are open as evacuation centres.

Civil Defence said about about 30 people have taken refuge in welfare centres in town today, on top of 130 who left their Te Karaka homes before dark yesterday.

Police, St John, Fire and Emergency and other government agencies are sending extra staff to the region to bolster the emergency response.

The Pakarae River, where State Highway 35 crosses it. Previous scouring of banks shows where the water level was during Gabrielle.

The Pakarae River, where State Highway 35 crosses it. Previous scouring of banks shows where the water level was during Gabrielle. Photo: RNZ / Kate Green

Between 200 and 250 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall north of Ūawa, near Tolaga Bay, with high tide just after 9.30pm tonight.

Landslides have already started to hit properties in the Gisborne suburb of Whataupoko.

Food provider Leaderbrands said it was reworking deliveries as it dealt with road closures.

State Highway 2 between Wairoa and Napier has reopened again, with State Highway 5 expected to do the same this afternoon. However, many other roads remain closed.

Leaderbrands chief executive Richard Burke said time was important because their products only lasted for 10 days until they went off.

There could be gaps on shelves if trucks were unable to meet their targets, he said.

Welfare checks in Hamilton

Hamilton City Council said its response teams have been doing welfare checks on people affected by flooding, including in Glenview.

Hamilton Airport received 74.8mm of rain in a 28-hour period, submerging Exeter Street in Glenview.

The council's general manager of infrastructure, Eeva-Liisa Wright, said they were working to determine the extent of flooding in some of the city's residential streets.

She said tapwater was still safe to drink.

Meanwhile, SH1 north of Hamilton will be closed tonight for urgent repairs to potholes caused by persistent rain.

All southbound traffic will have to detour at Ngaruawahia on to the old highway between Gordonton Road and Horotiu from 7pm until 5am on Saturday.

The potholes are in an area of the Waikato Expressway where work was underway.

Traffic went down to just one lane and now that lane has potholes.

A spokesperson for Waka Kotahi said contractors have to close the southbound lane to fill and fix some areas, rather than carry on with temporary patching.

Rain eases in Bay of Plenty

The orange rain warning for the Bay of Plenty has been lifted, but residents are being warned that further weather-related problems are possible over the weekend.

Tauranga City Council said the ground could only soak up so much water and, with more rain forecast, there was an increased risk of surface flooding and landslides.

The council has taken the rare step of closing sports fields this weekend.

However, the Chatham Cup football match will go ahead on the Links Avenue field.

Sunday's Blindzone Demonstration involving trucks and buses, has also been postponed due to the weather forecast.

See how the day unfolded earlier here:

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