Fresh weather warnings in place for Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne

MetService map shows weather warnings across regions today (online image)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, February 23, 2023

MetService has issued an orange warning meaning heavy rain is on the way for cyclone-hit Hawke’s Bay with significant accumulations of rain expected in areas recently affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

A complex trough of low pressure remains over the North Island for the next few days before moving away to the south late Saturday, bringing rain with heavy falls and possible thunderstorms.

A Heavy Rain Watch remains in place for Gisborne and Wairarapa (including the Tararua District) and now also covers Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula and western Bay of Plenty.

People are strongly urged keep up to date with the latest forecasts, in case changes are made, or further areas are added.

According to MetService, Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous in Hawke’s Bay.The warning will be in place for 48hrs from 10 am on Thursday, February 23, 2023 till 10 am on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

MetService has said that the region can expect 150 to 200mm of rain about the ranges and also away from the ranges North of Hastings (this includes the Esk Valley area and the Wairoa District), and 75 to 100mm elsewhere. The heaviest falls are likely from 3 pm Friday, with peak rates of 20 to 30mm/h possible.

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence controller Ian Macdonald said, “People who live on the Heretaunga Plains area where stop banks failed should make preparations in case they need to evacuate.”

Civil Defence said that it is keeping a close eye on the rivers, and expects to have up-to-date advice for residents this afternoon.

Volunteers getting supplies ready for communities in Hawke’s Bay region (Hawke’s Bay regional Council Image)

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said, “The rain presents further risks to already compromised land and infrastructure. There’s a strong likelihood of slips, rock falls, fallen trees, and flooding across the state highways.”

Other areas are under a heavy rain watch and thunderstorms are possible in Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty about and west of Te Puke from 2 am on Friday until 1 am Saturday.

Gisborne can expect periods of heavy rain, with thunderstorms possible in the 36 hours from 2 pm today, Thursday 23 February, 2023. Rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria, according to MetService.

Auckland can also expect to be drenched tomorrow (Friday, February 24, 2023) with some heavy rain and possible thunderstorms from midday until 10 pm.

Meanwhile, Police have deployed four specialist victim recovery dog teams to the Eastern District to help in the search.

Many communities across Hawke’s Bay are still being supported after the cyclone. Hinewai Ormsby, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair said, “We delivered much needed supplies to the people of Waiau and they blew me away with their resilience. Amongst many collective initiatives, they had set up a school for 24 tamariki across the three communities that have become isolated because of the cyclone. For some it is still an absolute mess and the clean-up will take weeks yet, however, our region will build back better.”

The death toll remains at 11 – nine people in Hawke’s Bay, and two firefighters in Auckland.

About 700 people displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle across the North Island are still seeking shelter at Civil Defence centres.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink  reporter based in Hamilton.

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