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Flooding, Road Closures As Weather Bites

Date: 1100hrs 26 July, 2008

Flooding, Road Closures As Weather Bites

The rain and winds lashing Northland are making their presence felt with surface flooding and power cuts in parts of the region and rain-swollen rivers tipped to top their banks this afternoon.

The bad weather arrived as forecasted about 1am today (subs: Sat 26 July) and in the 10.5 hours to 10.30am today a maximum of about 75mm of rain had fallen on the eastern hills from Kaeo to Whangarei.

Northland Regional Council hydrologists say that is roughly 30 percent of the rain which would normally fall on the region for the entire month of July. However, recent wet weather in the region means the ground is already saturated and the effects of today’s downfall are beginning to be felt more quickly than usual.

Regional Council Civil Defence Support Officer Claire Nyberg says rivers are already rising rapidly in the Kaeo and Kerikeri areas and there is extensive surface flooding throughout Northland, including State Highway 12 at Rawene and State Highway 10 at Kaeo.

Ms Nyberg says the weather is starting to track in a more easterly direction, which means it could be moving off Northland within the next few hours towards the Auckland and Coromandel areas.

However, rain and strong winds were expected to continue to affect Northland into the early evening today. “If the rainfall continues as predicted, the potential for rivers to overflow their banks from about midday to late afternoon today is still high.”

Ms Nyberg says as well as surface flooding in usual parts of the region, electricity had been cut to a number of areas, mainly in Far North, but also in some parts of the Whangarei District. Cellphone coverage has also reportedly been affected in the Opononi area.

Strong winds were adding to the mix, with gusts of up to 150kmh recorded at Cape Reinga today.

Ms Nyberg says officials are monitoring the situation closely and are warning Northlanders to avoid non-essential travel and keep up to date with latest forecasts.


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