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Severe weather warning for Coromandel, more roads closed

Waikato Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Oct 2023, 2:37PM

Severe weather warning for Coromandel, more roads closed

Waikato Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Oct 2023, 2:37PM


  • Several roads closed: Colville Rd now open, SH25 at Manaia now open
  • Localised flooding
  • Communities asked to conserve water
  • Pool closed
  • Rubbish and recycling collection on hold.
  • MetService has advised the severe weather warning for the Coromandel has been extended to
  • 9am Tuesday with a further 200mm of rain expected.

It said there was a lull in the weather at the moment, however heavy rainfall would build again during the afternoon and coincide with the next king tide around 9pm.

The gale force winds would ease somewhat but strong easterlies would remain overnight.

Local roads and the state highways had been affected today, and an extreme caution advisory was in place for those travelling.

Waka Kotahi said a section of Coromandel’s SH25 has reopened after flooding closed it this morning. SH25 was now open at Manaia under traffic management.

It was closed at the Manaia River after floodwaters inundated the stretch of highway between Marae and Goldfields Rds.

Local road closures as of 12:50pm:

  • Hikuai Settlement Rd is close due to surface flooding near the start of the road.
  • Maramarahi Rd is closed 300m from the start for the road due to surface flooding.
  • Old Maratoto Rd is closed at the ford due to flooding.
  • Victoria Street, Thames remains closed due to surface flooding at the second ford 900m from the start for the road.
  • Kauaeranga Valley Rd remains closed due to surface flooding near the start of the road.
  • Tapu-Coroglen Rd remains closed for the ongoing repair work due to the cyclone damage earlier this year.
  • Colville Rd is now open.

Severe gales of up to 120km/h in exposed places are expected on the Coromandel Peninsula as remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Lola track down towards the region.

The wild weather began to lash the top of the country yesterday, bringing heavy rainfall and strong wind gusts which are expected to last in Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty over the next couple of days.

The weather system involves a large, deep, complex low-pressure system moving slowly down the country, bringing moisture and tropical air from the subtropics.

The Coromandel Peninsula remains under an Orange heavy rain and strong wind warning today and Waka Kotahi advises drivers to take care. It said the impact on the State Highways was fairly moderate, but surface flooding had closed the road at Brophy’s Beach just north of Whitianga.

Other areas of risk are:

  • Hikuai – river levels are rising and it may flood in the usual area.
  • Kauaeranga river levels are dropping from their peak this morning, but if that changes the spillway near the airfield in Thames may be activated and result in flooding.

The wet and windy weather is expected to ease from around 3pm today. Road users are advised to drive to the conditions, slow down, watch their following distances and expect the situation could change at any time.

In addition to flooding response, Waka Kotahi contractors are in the area ready to take action should slips or downed trees eventuate.

MetService forecaster Lewis Ferris said the Coromandel had seen the most rain this morning as the remnants of Cyclone Lola hits the top of the North Island.

An elevated weather station near The Pinnacles recorded 14.5mm of rainfall between 7am and 8am, and had recorded 120mm over six hours.

Ferris said it was particularly wet between Northland and Coromandel right now.

The worst of weather was expected to hit Auckland, Northland, Coromandel and Gisborne today before starting to ease from tomorrow.

Surface flooding at Brophy's Beach on the Coromandel. Photo / Waka Kotahi

Surface flooding at Brophy's Beach on the Coromandel. Photo / Waka Kotahi

“People are just going to need to get through today, that’s when we’ll see the worst of it with the tail end into Tuesday and easing on Wednesday,” said Ferris.

Waikato Regional Council said with heavy rain overnight, the Kauaeranga River was continuing to rise.

“We are currently on a spring tide, with above average tides expected. All of this means we’re expecting the spillway is likely to operate this morning.

“The spillway diverts water from the river over SH25 south of Thames. This diverts water in a planned manner, and is not the river bursting its banks as is being reported by some outlets.

“Our flood response staff are on site and working closely with local civil defence and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

“There is other localised flooding in the area, and we encourage you to be prepared for road closures.”

The regional council said its Whitianga office had been closed to the public due to the severe weather. “Our staff are working and can be contacted via our freephone 0800 800 401.”

The Thames-Coromandel District Council said its crews were out and about this morning assessing the impacts of the overnight weather.

The forecast 140mm of rain fell overnight and gale force winds gusting to 120km/h “likely kept many awake”.

It said its main areas of concern were Brophy’s Beach in Whitianga and the Kauaeranga River in Thames. “Both may overtop when the king tide arrives at 8.50am. If this does occur both roads are likely to close.”

In a 9.20am update the council said Victoria Street, Thames was closed due to surface flooding at the second ford 900m from the start of the road.

Earlier it said Kauaeranga Valley Rd was closed due to surface flooding near the start of the road.

It said MetService had updated the forecast for today: another 140mm of rain was expected to 4pm with gale force easterlies up to 120 km/h through to midday.

“Stay safe and the best advice from Civil Defence is to hunker down until the storm passes.”

The council has asked Matatoki, Puriri and Omahu residents to conserve water for approximately the next 24 to 48 hours.

“The heavy rain we have had overnight means the streams we draw water from are carrying a heavy sediment load.

“This means the water treatment plants have to process at a much slower rate due to the additional sediment in the water, or even be shut off at times to clean filters.”

The council had set up a water tanker in Puriri for residents.

It said Thames Centennial Pool was closed until Tuesday.

Kerbside rubbish and food waste collection was suspended with today’s collections on Tuesday, Tuesday’s collections on Wednesday and so on for the rest of the week with Friday’s collections taking place on Saturday.

All refuse and recycling transfer stations would be closed this morning until 12pm. These include:

• Tairua

• Coromandel

• Pauanui

• Matarangi

• Whitianga

• Whangamata

• Thames

Tairua and Pauanui sites would be assessed late morning as to whether they could open at 12pm pending staff access to get to the sites through Hikuai. Their opening may be delayed further.

Meanwhile Hauraki District Council said yesterday it was hearing updates from Kaiaua locals of debris across East Coast Rd, in particular around the Kaiaua Boating Club and some surface water by Ray’s Rest.

There was also some wave overtopping due to the current spring tides, with above average tide levels.

Motorists were asked to please drive to the conditions and take precautions, especially on this stretch of road.

Due to the high winds expected today, rubbish and food waste kerbside collections for Waihī Zone One and Whiritoa were cancelled and rescheduled for Friday, November 3.

Coromandel has been under a heavy rain watch since 9pm last night. Thunderstorms are possible.

MetService is warning this may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, and surface floods and slips are also possible, making driving hazardous.

Thames-Coromandel District mayor Len Salt said their emergency operation team set up shop yesterday afternoon as the district looks to bear the brunt of the extreme weather.

“We’ve got people and crews all around the peninsula ready to kick in whenever they need to,” Salt said.

Thames-Coromandel mayor Len Salt. Photo / Supplied

Thames-Coromandel mayor Len Salt. Photo / Supplied

Schools are closed today and bin collections have been cancelled due to the forecast heavy rain and strong winds.

“We’ve asked people to stay away from the coastal areas - we’re expecting storm surges and big tides and big waves, so we ask people to just stay away from the shorelines,” Salt said.

Salt also advised residents to only travel if necessary, and was nervous about the already damaged road network being hit hard again.

“What we’re hoping is that this event will go through in a fairly short space of time and the damage will not be too bad,” Salt said.

Civil Defence controller Garry Towler urged Coromandel residents to “stock up on supplies, batteries and gas, check and clear drains in your neighbourhood”.

They had been told to tie down outdoor furniture and “review plans should you become isolated due to slips and flooding”.

“It is the remnants of a cyclone - we have king tides, storm surges, heavy rain, gale-force winds and ongoing land instability issues as a result of Gabrielle.”

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