24 Jan 2011

North Island highways reopen after flooding

1:52 pm on 24 January 2011

Major North Island roads which had been closed due to flooding following the wild weekend weather began to reopen on Monday morning.

The Desert Road in the Waiouru area which had been affected by flooding and SH3, blocked at the Manawatu Gorge by a slip, both reopened.

In Taranaki however, SH 43 between Stratford and Taumarunui remained closed by floodwater as at 10am Monday, while one lane of SH3 was blocked by a tree, rocks and mud.

From early Sunday until midnight Fire Service staff attended a total of 184 incidents in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty caused by the wild weather.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council says up until last Friday the region had received only 18% of its average rainfall for January, but now it's over 200%.

In Rotorua, crews had about 30 callouts relating to fallen trees, power lines, and structural problems.

Heavy rain has eased in Waikato but the regional council says larger waterways including Lake Taupo and the Waikato and Waipa Rivers are expected to continue rising and are likely to peak on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The council says low-lying riverside walks through Hamilton, Ngaruawahia and Huntly are likely to be swamped as the flood peak moves through.