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Worst Of Rain Over, But River, Tide Watch Urged

Date: 1530hrs 26 July, 2008

Worst Of Rain Over, But River, Tide Watch Urged

Torrential rain has now eased in Northland but officials are warning people to keep a wary eye on the region’s rivers, many of which are expected to continue to rise over the next 24 hours.

Claire Nyberg, Civil Defence Support Officer for the Northland Regional Council, says 90mm to 115mm rain – roughly a fortnight’s worth - had fallen on the eastern hills from Kaeo to Whangarei Heads in just 14.5 hours between midnight and 2.30pm today.

But Ms Nyberg says while the worst of the rain has now eased, river levels in parts of the region could continue to rise over the next day or so as water drains into major catchments already swollen by heavy rain.

Officials are warning people to stay away from rivers which could still rise rapidly, while in coastal areas, potential problems are being exacerbated by very low air pressure which has already allowed tides to rise just over half a metre above normal levels.

“People in the Dargaville and West Coast areas should be aware of higher than normal tide levels throughout the rest of today and tomorrow as the low pressure system moves off region and would be advised to monitor the state of the northern Wairoa River.”

Ms Nyberg says river levels at Titoki Bridge about 15km north of Maungatapere, could rise as much as 12 metres overnight as feeder catchments drain into the Mangakahia River.

“This will result in extensive flooding of Tangiteroria River flats, however, that is not unusual in this area and farmers were advised yesterday to move stock to higher ground.

Ms Nyberg says Regional Council hydrologists are also expecting flooding in the Lower Kaihu River catchment from now through to tomorrow morning and are advising caution for those travelling on State Highway 12 between Dargaville and the Waipoua Forest road.

Further north, river levels are continuing to rise throughout the Awanui catchment, with the possibility of flooding on State Highway One south of Kaitaia later this afternoon.

Ms Nyberg says although the storm is now moving down to Coromandel through to the Bay of Plenty, officials in Northland will keep a close eye on the weather for the remainder of the weekend.


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