RNZ, Auckland, June 4, 2018
Torrential rain could cause chaos on the roads as holiday makers head home this long weekend. Heavy rain and thunderstorms have slammed the top of the North Island causing flooding and road closures.
Poor driving conditions could mean long delays for people returning home at the end of the long weekend.
Drivers are being asked to be extremely careful and avoid the area if possible.
Pelting for Northland
Northland can expect a pelting over the next 24 hours, while Auckland and the Coromandel will be hit with rain until this evening, as a front moves south towards Gisborne and the East Cape.
The Transport Agency says that there are still multiple areas of surface flooding around the Bay of Plenty district, and the potential for slips and debris on the road is high.
The holiday road toll stands at two.
Meanwhile, roads in the Thames and Coromandel area have now reopened but motorists can expect some delays as workers continue to remove debris.
On the East Coast, about 20 residents in the Tolaga Bay area have evacuated their homes due to flooding.
Rivers peak in Tolaga
The Tolaga Bay area was hardest hit by torrential rain and flooding overnight, but Civil Defence thinks rivers have now peaked.
Almost one hundred people are thought to be without power, but linesman can’t get in to fix it because the roads are blocked with debris.
Earlier, a family of three was airlifted off their roof after being stranded for four hours.
Civil Defence is also monitoring two other households who may need to be airlifted out.
State Highway 2 at Mangatuna Road north of Tolaga Bay has been closed and at Whangara, where water has reached the bottom of the Waiomoko Bridge.
In Kaiti, east of Gisborne, diluted sewage is being discharged on the Gladstone Bridge to cope with a storm water overflow.
The Gisborne District Council says that the discharge is diluted but could be a risk to human health.
More rain to come
While it’s been a wet, windy and cold holiday weekend for most, there’s still more to come.
MetService warn of heavy rain for the northern and eastern regions of the North Island and eastern Marlborough, strong southerly gales for eastern Otago, and significant snow for the bottom of the South Island.
There is a possibility of rainfall reaching warning level in Northland, northern Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, northern Gisborne and eastern Marlborough before Tuesday morning.
Snow fall is expected to fall to low levels in the south of the South Island tomorrow night, with a possibility this may accumulate to warning levels, above 400 metres, during the period to Wednesday morning.
Coastal Clutha and Dunedin areas may experience severe south-southwest gale strength winds from Tuesday evening to early Wednesday morning.
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Torrential rain has caused flooding in Whangara (Photo: Kristin Kirkpatrick)