A local state of emergency has been declared in Napier where lashing rain has led to widespread flooding, slips and evacuations.
Mayor Kirsten Wise urged residents to shelter at home and avoid driving where possible.
“If you feel unsafe at home, self-evacuate to family and friends first,” she shared on the city’s Emergency Defence website.
“If you have no other options, evacuate to Kennedy Park at 11 Storkey Street, Marewa.”
Anyone in danger should call 111.
Widespread downpours have affected more than 90 homes, with dozens of people, including elderly residents, being rescued from flooded houses.
The Council was forced to discharge wastewater in the sodden region, prompting warnings contaminated floodwaters could make residents sick.
Rainfall recordings from Napier Airport show more than 110mm of rain fell in the city from midnight on Sunday to 8pm today – 100mm of which fell between 12pm and 8pm.
And more than 126mm is expected to fall before midnight tonight.
Firefighters have rescued a 75-year-old woman trapped in her flooded home as torrential rain wreaks havoc in Napier.
A police spokesperson confirmed officers and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) were at the home in Lighthouse Rd, Bluff Hill.
Firefighters elsewhere have rescued elderly residents trapped in their homes and taken them to the safer houses of family in the area, a Fenz spokeswoman said.
Panicked residents have called emergency services saying water was seeping underneath their front doors and into their homes, she said.
“We’ve had reports of flooding and leaking roofs, mostly in the Napier CBD,” she said.
“Hawkes Bay’s Urban Search and Rescue team is assessing a number of landslips on Napier hill caused by the heavy rain.”
Hawke’s Bay Emergency Management controller Ian Macdonald says more than a dozen people have been evacuated.
People were being rescued and evacuated on a case-by-case basis, he said.
Cars were stranded in flooded waters and residents were urged to stay inside as roads in the city were no longer driveable.
“At one stage crews were responding to 150 calls for help in the city, mostly flooding and some leaky roofs and there were some gas leaks reported,” the Fenz spokeswoman said.
“We’re advising people to stay at home and keep dry. Stay inside your house.”
Residents needing urgent help should call 111 – instead of the overwhelmed local Hawke’s Bay Fire brigade, the spokeswoman urged.
The local Civil Defence branch warned residents against rubbernecking, saying it caused further headaches for emergency services.
“Driving through floodwater creates bow waves, which drive water into homes,” the agency shared online.
If you need urgent help, please call 111. Our emergency services are very busy responding to call outs.
Fourteen crews from the city and region were kept busy responding to calls from stranded residents.
Power outages have hit much of the city, as Unison confirms almost 3000 customers have been left in the dark tonight.
A large landslide has also been reported near Havelock Rd, on nearby Hospital Hill.
Much of the town’s CBD is under water after persistent rain this afternoon.
Residents were also asked to limit their use of toilets, showers and washing machines to prevent contaminated stormwater flowing into Ahuriri estuary.
The district had 53.2mm of rain today, with a further 34.7mm of rain expected to fall through to midnight.
MetService has warned the rain could continue until late tonight, and more is expected tomorrow.
A Napier City Council spokeswoman urged the public to only flush their toilet when necessary, and hold off using showers, dishwashers and washing machines to prevent stormwater overflowing.
Lashing rain in the city caused manhole covers to lift, forcing the Council to discharge wastewater into the Purimu stormwater stream, which flows out to sea through the Ahuriri Estuary, shortly before 6pm.
Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said floodwaters could carry bugs that cause disease from the ground surface and sewerage systems.
“Children should be kept away from flood waters and from playing in puddles, which may have been contaminated by sewerage,” he said.
Residents should not eat any food that had been in contact with flood waters, Jones warned.
8:55pm – Mon 9th Nov: Napier City is currently being affected by a heavy rain event. Please avoid ALL non-essential…
Heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and even hail is forecast to stay across the region until mid-week, with up to 130mm of rain expected to fall in some areas of Hawke’s Bay.
By mid-afternoon today, surface flooding was evident at several roads and highways in the region.
A Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency – Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne spokeswoman encouraged drivers to switch on headlights, slow down, increase following distances and drive to the weather conditions in order to be prepared for unexpected hazards.
MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr says the broad low pressure system currently over the North Island is expected to linger until it’s pushed eastwards by a ridge of high pressure.
“From now through to later on Wednesday, parts of the North Island will see heavy rain or showers, with thunderstorms and hail possible, while strong or gale south to southeast winds affect the lower North Island,” he said.
Kerr said the main area of concern is the ranges of Hawke’s Bay and southern Gisborne.
A Heavy Rain Warning is in place for those areas, with 100mm to 130mm of rain expected to accumulate about the ranges from Te Haroto southwards, with 70 to 100mm elsewhere.
The warning began at 10am today and is in place until 11pm.
Peak intensities were expected from this afternoon when hourly rates could reach 25 to 40mm/hr in thunderstorms.
“This is a large amount of rain in a short period and isolated downpours could see totals exceed that range,” Kerr added.
Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Manager Ian Macdonald warned that heavy rain can cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, with surface flooding and slips also possible. Driving conditions may be hazardous.
“It’s always good for anyone driving to take extra care on days like this and keep an eye on the weather forecast,” he said.
“As little as 30cm of water can cause people to lose control of their vehicles, so the usual cautions apply: slow down, drive to the conditions and stay safe.”
The northbound lane of State Highway 2, near Tangoio, was blocked this morning after a logging truck slid into a roadside ditch.
Emergency services were called to the crash about 8.09am, but nobody was injured.
Surface flooding also caused the Mohaka Township Rd, Mohaka, to be closed at the Nakis Rd intersection this afternoon.
NCC said Kennedy Rd, at the intersection of State Highway 2 and Downing Ave, was also closed from 4pm due to severe flooding.
Eastern District Police said surface flooding was causing multiple issues with vehicles “breaking down” when driving through floodwater.
The police requested the public keep vehicle traffic to a minimum until the flooding eases.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said a tree had fallen onto a caravan in Bluff Hill, Napier, due to the weather at 2.32pm.
Kerr said a “further burst of heavy rain” may be expected in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday before the low pulls away.
Hastings District Council and Central Hawke’s Bay District Council said they had not experienced any weather-related issues.
Waka Kotahi NZTA warned motorists to take extra care as surface flooding pooled over now un passable roads in the region.
“There is significant flooding on Taradale Rd, so take extra care in this area,” the agency tweeted.
Some manhole lids had been lifted on roads in the city – but motorists likely wouldn’t be able to spot that through the downpour and surface flooding.
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