Nine schools closed for the day in Kaeo, Mangamuka, Matauri Bay, Pawarenga, Peria, Umawera and Waikare because buses were unable to run. Taipa Area School closed because buses were cancelled and its grounds were flooded, while Motatau and Pamapuria schools were closed because of power cuts.
Around 3.30pm police were investigating reports that a car had left State Highway 1 at the bottom of Turntable Hill near Moerewa and plunged into the flooded Otiria Stream.
Two men were reportedly seen emerging from the water before making themselves scarce. Police were waiting for the water to subside at edition time yesterday.
The heaviest rain – 111mm in the 24 hours to noon yesterday, according to Northland Regional Council figures – fell on Oruru, east of Kaitaia. The nearby settlement of Peria was cut off when access roads from both directions were flooded.
An employee at Peria’s Bush Fairy Dairy, Emily Parker, said water by her back steps was almost a metre deep yesterday morning and the dairy owner had to get a ride to work on a tractor to open up.
Julie Brown, who works the afternoon shift, also had trouble getting to work due to a flooded ford. She said business was brisk because everyone who couldn’t get to work headed to the dairy for coffee instead. At 3.30pm yesterday Jecentho Bridge on Oruru Rd was still passable only to four-wheel-drive vehicles, she said.
State Highway 1 was flooded at the usual trouble spot near Rangiahua Bridge when the Waihou River breached its banks around noon, as well as south of Kawakawa. However, no Northland highways were closed yesterday despite the wild weather, a New Zealand Transport Agency spokeswoman said.
Strong winds and heavy rain cut power to about 1000 Far North households overnight, mainly in the Kerikeri and Towai areas.
A Top Energy spokeswoman said a falling tree brought down power lines at Herekino and closed the road for several hours while another power cut affected 100 customers at Fairburn, south of Kaitaia. Customers in Honeymoon Valley, near Peria, were still waiting to have their power reconnected at 4pm yesterday because flooding had made the area inaccessible to repair crews.
Whangaroa College and Kaeo Primary were among the schools that closed for the day, although State Highway 10 remained above water at flood-prone locations just north of the township and north of Whangaroa Bridge. Kaeo River peaked at 3.49m about 6am, shortly after high tide at 5.20am.
The highway floods when the river exceeds 3.5m.
Omaunu Rd, which connects Kaeo township with Whangaroa Hospital and homes on the far side of the valley, was submerged early in the day but was still passable to four-wheel-drives.
Some locals left their cars on the far side of the valley and continued to town on foot or by hitching rides in higher vehicles. Water levels started dropping even before the rain eased around 10am.
After Oruru the heaviest rain was recorded at Houhora, north of Kaitaia (98mm in 24 hours to noon yesterday); Glenbervie, near Whangarei (96.5mm); and Ohaeawai, near Kaikohe (90.5mm). Whangarei recorded 44.4mm and Pouto Pt in the Kaipara just 10mm over the same period.
MetService meteorologist John Law is warning that it’s not all over for Northland. He expected showers to continue today with the possible odd rumble of thunder. Yesterday’s northwesterly wind would be replaced by a strong to gale-force southwesterly later today, with the west coast likely to bear the brunt of the rain. On the plus side the weekend was looking more settled, he said.
Source: Northern Advocate