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Live: ‘Not out of the woods yet’: Ex-cyclone Lola sweeps North Island, flooding highways

Author
Rachel Maher,
Publish Date
Tue, 31 Oct 2023, 7:38AM

Live: ‘Not out of the woods yet’: Ex-cyclone Lola sweeps North Island, flooding highways

Author
Rachel Maher,
Publish Date
Tue, 31 Oct 2023, 7:38AM

The rain and wind are not over yet, according to forecasters, as the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Lola sweeps across the country, leaving flooding and widespread damage in its wake. 

MetService issued further weather warnings for Coromandel and Bay of Plenty, including Rotorua, which are set to expire this morning. Coromandel could get 100 to 120mm of rain on top of what has already fallen, while Bay of Plenty can expect 90 to 120mm. 

STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVEBLOG 

STORY CONTINUES 

The wild weather caused many issues across the North Island, flooding roads and smashing boats at sea. 

More than 2000 properties in Northland were without power yesterday when the wind toppled powerlines. A number of streets in Whangārei CBD were also closed when the heavy rain flooded the area. 

Dozens of households are entering their third day without power in the Far North, including 33 homes east of Whangaroa that lost power after the Whangaroa feeder was damaged by a tree. Electricity provider Top Power’s outage page also shows 30 customers in Kaikohe have had no electricity since yesterday due to a line fault. 

In Auckland, a large part of Waiheke Island appears to have had no power since Sunday, although Vector’s outage map does not specify how many customers are affected. 

Overnight in the Tauranga suburb of Tauriko 44 properties lost power just before 3am as the wild weather moved down the country. 

Another 68 properties in Paeroa also lost power last night, according to Powerco, and on the Coromandel Peninsula more than 20 properties are still in the dark, mostly in Coromandel Forest Park. 

Ex-tropical cyclone Lola battered Northland on Sunday and Monday, with excess water flooding central Whangārei. Photo / Michael CunninghamEx-tropical cyclone Lola battered Northland on Sunday and Monday, with excess water flooding central Whangārei. Photo / Michael Cunningham 

Whangārei Mayor Vince Cocurullo said yesterday that data from the Northland Regional Council showed that the Glenbervie area had around 127mm of rain and the other areas had between 35 and 75mm of rain 

Heavy rain also made driving treacherous around the Coromandel Peninsula, with major highways becoming flooded when the rain hit the region. 

Flooding on SH25 at Manaia about midday on Monday. Photo / Waka KotahiFlooding on SH25 at Manaia about midday on Monday. Photo / Waka Kotahi 

“We’ve had surface flooding closing various parts of State Highway 25 today and there could be more to come,” says Waka Kotahi’s journey manager for the Waikato, Liam Ryan. 

“While the network has held up pretty well given that we’ve had 200mm of rain in the last 24 hours on the Pinnacles, we’re not out of the woods yet with another 100 to 200mm of rain expected overnight 

“At various times [yesterday], flooding closed the state highway at Manaia, Hikuai and just north of Whitianga.” 

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

Auckland was tipped to see 130km/h wind gusts in exposed places, with a chance the Harbour Bridge could be briefly closed. 

A cruise ship had its entrance into Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour delayed by four hours due to the storm. Several ferries were also cancelled. 

Storm surge wreaks havoc on yachts at Waiake Beach, Auckland. Photo / Greg ReedStorm surge wreaks havoc on yachts at Waiake Beach, Auckland. Photo / Greg Reed 

There were heavy swells across Hawke’s Bay, likely to be at their worst at Haumoana, where they were expected to reach 1.9 metres overnight last night. 

The rain will continue today, as MetService forecasts said to expect 110-140 millimetres of rain - with peak rates of 10-20mm/h, but 15-25mm/h this afternoon during possible thunderstorms. 

Elsewhere, there is a low danger of thunderstorms embedded within showery weather throughout much of the North Island. 

However, the risk is deemed moderate in Taranaki, Whanganui, northern Manawatū, Taihape, Taumarunui, Waitomo, Taupō, and the ranges of Hawke’s Bay, eastern Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne in the afternoon and early evening. 

Stormy weather and high swells batter Mount Maunganui Main Beach. Photo / Alex CairnsStormy weather and high swells batter Mount Maunganui Main Beach. Photo / Alex Cairns 

The widespread rainfall from the low will have subsided by Wednesday, but the North Island and upper South Island, particularly inland areas, can still anticipate showers, some of which could be thunderous and heavy. The next low-pressure system and its related fronts will sweep across the country on Thursday and Friday, bringing rain with them. 

This week’s forecast calls for warm weather. Most areas will see temperatures in the upper teens to mid-20s, with today and Wednesday looking to be the warmest. 

Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022. 

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