LIVE weather updates: Chaos as Cyclone Debbie wreaks havoc

Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 April 2017, 5:35AM

• The worst of the weather will hit Auckland between 11am and 9pm today, MetService says
• Severe thunderstorms to hit Coromandel and Great Barrier Island
• Fire services responding to dozens of flooding-related callouts in Auckland as the city is lashed by rain
• A heavy rainfall warning applies to the entire North Island and the north and west of the South Island
• Some areas may get three times April's normal rainfall in just 48 hours
• Central North Islanders are being told to keep survival items nearby
• A state of emergency has been declared in Whanganui
• Rangitikei district is also in a state of civil defence
• Cliff in Auckland's Kohimarama collapses onto units

Many areas of the North Island are awash this morning, with multiple reports of flooded homes, roads and school closures and landslips as the tail of Cyclone Debbie continues to lash New Zealand.

Power is out in some areas and emergency services are responding to calls for help from residents in many centres.

While rain eased in some areas overnight, it's expected to deteriorate later in the morning and there are warnings of severe thunderstorms for areas in the north of the country.

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Torrential rain continues to hammer the central North Island and Auckland, with a state of emergency declared in the Whanganui and Rangitikei districts. All schools in the regions are closed today.

About 500 people will be evacuated this morning in low-lying areas of the district, Mayor Hamish McDouall said.

Defence Force personnel would assist with evacuations.

Today's rainfall is expected to be worse than Wednesday night, particularly in Auckland. But Auckland fire services have already responded to dozens of call-outs, with the east of the city and Waiheke Island worst affected.

Almost the entire North Island is expected to get torrential rain, but central regions will be particularly bad.

Up to 200mm of rain is expected to fall. Regions affected include Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Waitomo, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Taranaki, Whanganui, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa

Some areas are expected to get three times April's normal rainfall in just 48 hours.

The northeast of the South Island could also get a soaking.

Whanganui District Council will check homes in Anzac Parade, Taupo Quay and Putiki with the river predicted to rise to 19.3 metres.

Communications manager Sarah Pomeroy says people needed to be out of their homes by 10am.

She says teams were to check homes at 6am.

South Taranaki is already in the eye of the storm, with the Waitotara River rapidly rising yesterday.

Ngamatapouri School was closed and evacuated yesterday, and Waitotara Valley Road is closed.

Farmers in low-lying areas nearby are being warned to be prepared to move stock to higher ground.

Locals are being told to keep survival items and a getaway kit nearby.

South Taranaki District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, and Taranaki Civil Defence were all monitoring the system, and keeping locals informed.

More heavy rain was forecast for Taranaki's eastern hill country last night.

In Manawatu, motorists are being warned to avoid Manawatu Gorge as there have been slips.

Caution will still be needed if taking Saddle Road as an alternate route, as it's also prone to slips.

In Hawke's Bay, authorities are closely monitoring river levels.

Heavy rain has started over the past 24 hours, with Wairoa getting 63mm, Takapau Plains 52mm, Napier 44mm and Hastings 27mm.

Up to 150mm more could be on the cards for some coastal hill areas to the south of Cape Kidnappers and the ranges.


This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.