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New Storm Just Hours Away

Number of pages: 02
Date: 1030hrs, Tues 29 July, 2008

New Storm Just Hours Away

Widespread flooding looks almost certain in Northland overnight with latest forecasts confirming 80-100mm of heavy rain is due to start falling on the sodden region from about 3pm today (subs: Tuesday 29 July).

Rain was already falling over much of the region this morning, but MetService forecasters say the 15 hours from 3pm today to 6am tomorrow will see heavy sustained falls likely to total up to 100mm.

With ground in the region already saturated – and river levels still higher than usual after the weekend’s deluge – today’s storm is predicted to bring even worse flooding.

Graeme MacDonald, the Northland Regional Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Senior Programme Manager, says if the rainfall pans out as predicted, high tides early tomorrow will be of extra concern, especially on the region’s east coast.

“Many of these high tides – especially on the east coast – will come in darkness early tomorrow morning and will be right at the end of the heavy rain.”

He says a 2.4 metre high tide is expected along the region’s east coast ranging from 4.28am tomorrow at Tutukaka to 5.22am at Houhora, while a 3.1 metre high tide is expected on the west coast, ranging from 7.11am at Ahipara Bay to 8.25am at Tinopai.

Mr MacDonald reiterated earlier warnings for people to watch for – and stay away from - rapidly rising streams and rivers and to keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts.

“Again, most people already know the areas and roads in their local area that are flood-prone and these are likely to be under water again over the next day or so.”

He urged motorists to avoid all non-essential travel and issued a plea for people forced to negotiate flood-affected areas to slow down.

“Not only is it dangerous to drive too quickly through flooded areas because you can’t see what lies beneath the floodwaters, driving through at speed can also cause a wake that poses a danger to other motorists.

“In built-up and urban areas, the extra 30cm or so of wash created by irresponsible motorists can also literally mean the difference between businesses or homes flooding or not.”

Meanwhile, Mr MacDonald says Civil Defence and other officials will be working throughout the storm and will be keeping a way eye on developments as they occur.

He says the Northland Regional Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz will offer up to date information as it comes to hand on flooding, road and school closures, weather and tide forecasts as well as the state of power, telecommunications and other essential utilities.


ENDS

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