Residents in Gisborne region urged to stay at home

By Micah Thompson

Residents in the Gisborne region have been urged to stay at home as contractors and Gisborne District Council staff continue to work to clear trees, slips and assist people across the region as the weather eases slightly after days of persistent rain.

Roads were closed overnight and the Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Management team were sent to monitor river levels.

The Hikuwai River in the Uawa catchment peaked at 12.25 metres at 9am Saturday, making it the highest flood level since 2005. It was also the third-highest flow on record since 1975.

While the Hikuwai has continued to drop and at noon was at 11.38 metres, the Waipaoa is still slowly rising and was at 5.9 metres late Saturday afternoon.

SH35 is closed from Tolaga Bay to Ruatorea, and SH2 is down to one lane between Hihiroroa Road (in the north) and Waihuka Road. A temporary speed restriction is in place in the Waioeka Gorge, between Opotiki and Gisborne, due to a slip.

The heavy rainfall warning and watch for the region has been cancelled but some rainfall is still expected and people are urged not to be out and about on the roads unless necessary.

Contractors have been working hard to clear trees and slips, and an assessment is being done around the slash along the Mangatokoro River. The Tokomaru Bay Transfer station has been closed until further notice.

There has been extensive surface flooding throughout Tairāwhiti, including properties in Clifford Street, Seymour Road, Owen Road and Stout Street.

Early Saturday morning a handful of houses self-evacuated from Mangatuna, while others opted to sit it out in their homes.

People are advised to keep an eye on and for the latest in road conditions.