Mangawhai hit by latest heavy rain, now forecast to move to Hawke’s Bay

An exit south of Brynderwyn closed State Highway 1 in both directions.

The main road remains closed between Brynderwyn and Waipu.
Photo: Delivered / Waka Kotahi

A route between Auckland and Northland is now open – after unprecedented rain in the area last night caused further flooding and landslides.

Roads closed last night included much of State Highway 1 between Te Hana and Waipu.

The main road between Brynderwyn and Waipu remains closed, but people can now travel between regions via Dargaville. SH16 is also closed today between Kaukapakapa and Tauhoa due to slipping.

Molesworth Drive in Mangawhai was closed after a car got stuck in downpour.

The flooding scene in Mangawhai on Friday where a car got stuck on the surface after flooding.
Photo: Samantha Oley

More than 200 people spent the night in camps in Mangawhai in Northland on Friday night as multiple slips blocked exit routes.

Mangawhai residents unable to return home stayed overnight in schools in Kaipara district.

MetService said the Mangawhai area received 300mm of rain over a seven-hour period.

Fire and Emergency said it had responded to 112 weather-related calls in Auckland and Northland since Friday night.

Many of the outreaches were designed to help people stranded on roads due to slips and flooding.

These included about 30 cars trapped between slips on Tara Road in Mangawhai on Friday night.

Hawke’s Bay under heavy rain warning and severe thunderstorm watch

MetService has put in place a heavy rain watch for Hawke’s Bay through 1:00 p.m. Saturday and a severe thunderstorm watch through 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

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Hawke’s Bay could expect another 70-120mm of rain over the mountain ranges and also outside the mountain ranges north of Hastings (which includes the Esk Valley area and the Wairoa district), MetService said.

Hawke’s Bay Emergency Management Controller Ian Macdonald said his biggest fear would be if more rain fell than forecast.

Macdonald said local downpours were a problem when there was still silt, but he believed the region was in a good position to deal with it.

“A lot of resources are in place at the moment, obviously we are now fully activated and have been for a week and a half. We have a lot of New Zealand Defense Forces here, so you know we’re in a good space if we have to evacuate people.”

Police said the number of people who remained unavailable in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti was 13 as of 9pm on Friday – down from 56 people on Thursday night.

Esk Valley residents were evacuated ahead of the heavy rain on Friday and Macdonald urged all Hawke’s Bay residents to prepare to evacuate should the need arise.

Hawke’s Bay Civil Protection said a full assessment of the Esk Valley would take place this morning.

It said overnight rainfall was less than forecast, but MetService expects more rain across the region on Saturday.

Esk Valley residents would be notified when the lockdown was lifted and they could return home. Until the evacuation order is lifted, people should not re-enter the area.

Hundreds of soldiers are in the area, helping deliver supplies to remote communities.

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“We’re just positioning ourselves for any other regions where the emergency management agency decides they need to proactively move people,” Lt. Col. Mike Nochete said Friday.

PM visits Muriwai

The PM visited the flood-stricken Auckland suburb of Muriwai today and said it has been an incredibly traumatic time for residents.

Chris Hipkins said being evicted from their homes and not being able to return to collect their belongings can put people under a lot of pressure.

Hipkins said the floods were paying a heavy price but the government was committed to working with communities to rebuild.

He said this will involve making quick decisions about how – and where – to build.

Helicopters delivering aid in Tairāwhiti are grounded due to the weather

Tairāwhiti Civil Defense Emergency Management said the weather halted helicopter flights in the area dropping supplies to isolated families.

The flights would return as soon as the weather clears up and the forecast for Sunday looks good, it said.

A truck removes belongings left by the roadside in Te Karaka this week.  The small town of 500 people, about half an hour from Gisborne, was particularly hard hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.

A truck removes belongings left by the roadside in Te Karaka this week. The small town of 500 people, about half an hour from Gisborne, was particularly hard hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Photo: Rebecca Grunwell / Gisborne Herald

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stolz urged locals to seek help if they needed help this weekend as the latest high tide is likely to cause more slips and flooding.

Even more atrocious weather held back the cyclone’s cleanup efforts and dampened people’s spirits, she said.

This could mean more people would need council and civil defense support, Stolz said.

“We may have missed people and we want to know if you need anything. So if you need to get in touch with Gisborne District Council Civil Protection, please get in touch, we are here to help.”

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The Uawa Civil Defense in Tolaga Bay is urging people to stay off the roads as the Hikuwai River is currently 11.5 meters high. The Hikuwai has started to drop as the rain has stopped in the area. State Highway 35 is closed from Okitu to Uawa due to flooding in Rototahi, SH2 in Ormond is also closed.

Meanwhile, staff from the National Emergency Management Agency and Council are still working to make a risky rubble dam safer to allow locals to return home.

64 homes were evacuated in Tokomaru Bay on Thursday amid fears a debris dam on the Mangahauini River could fail in the event of heavier rain.

Stoltz said the dam has held up so far and staff are working flat out to find a solution.

New advice from the National Emergency Management Agency

  • Heavy rain could cause more flooding, landslides and road damage in regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • Put safety first. Act quickly when you see rising water and don’t wait for official warnings. Go to higher ground and stay away from flood waters.
  • Have bags ready with: medication, snacks, water, flashlights, pet food and baby food (if needed) in case you need to evacuate.
  • Plan where to go if you need to evacuate.
  • Make sure you have enough food, water, and other essential supplies for several days.
  • Stay up to date with the latest information from MetService and your local Civil Defense Emergency Management Group.
  • When cleaning up flood water and mud, wear protective clothing including: mask, goggles, gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and rubber boots or work shoes.


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