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Take extra care on roads, Civil Defence advises

GISBORNE CDEM GROUP EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE

MEDIA RELEASE

Date/time: 9am, 21 September 2015 Release No: 1

Take extra care on roads, Civil Defence advises

[Update: At Okitu, Tairawhiti Roads have placed a pre-warning about a SH35 road closure.
The highway has been closed at the Waihau Bay turnoff through to the Tauwhareparae turnoff at Tolaga Bay.
This covers the Rototahi wetland area.]

Motorists are advised to take extra care on the roads around the district today as rain continues to fall and rivers north and west of Gisborne the city rise. State Highway 35 was closed north of Wainui just before 9am.

Surface flooding has been reported across wide areas with trees down in many places. Tairawhiti Roads placed speed restrictions at Makorori last night because of surface flooding and has crews out around its roading network to keep an eye on the situation.

This morning, a car was overcome by floodwaters at Rototahi south of Tolaga Bay and a bus, with no children on board, was stuck at the top of the Waimata Valley.

The Hikuwai River north of Tolaga Bay was close to 8 metres at 8am and rising at one metre an hour. State Highway 35 becomes flooded when the river reaches 12m. The river is forecast to peak at about 9m at around midday.

Gisborne Civil Defence Emergency Manager Louise Bennett said the area north of Tolaga Bay had received more rain than initially forecast.

Since 9am Sunday, the region has experienced significant rainfall with the highest at Pakarae, 146mm; Whatatutu, 140mm; 122mm at Waerenga a Kuri; and 116mmm at Goodwins on the Waimata River.

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At Waipaoa, the Kankanaia River was close to 6m at 8am. However, State Highway 2 could be cut off at the Puha road turn-off if the river reaches 7m and at Nesbitts Dip if it reaches 8m. The river is not forecast to reach 8m until midnight.

Residents and farmers in the most-affected areas have been advised of rising river levels.

Manholes have overtopped in parts of the city. To prevent sewage going on to people’s properties, Gisborne District Council has opened the valves to release the pressure.

Check gdc.govt.nz website for road closures and river and rainfall data.


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