31 Jan 2010

Around 30 people cut off by flooding near Gisborne

10:03 pm on 31 January 2010

More than 30 people remained cut off on Sunday night by flooding north-west of Gisborne.

The Gisborne District Council says rising floodwaters and a log jam caused a bridge to buckle inland from Te Karaka, leaving no access in or out for Whatatutu and Mangatu residents.

Fifteen people stranded in their vehicles by flooding on State Highway Two, near Te Karaka, had to be rescued by helicopter on Sunday afternoon.

Council emergency management officer Richard Steele says more than 280 millimetres of rain fell in some areas north of Tologa Bay between 7am on Saturday and 7pm on Sunday.

Heavy rain has also caused surface flooding and numerous slips in Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay.

Evacuations

Gisborne civil defence says it will be monitoring river levels overnight on Sunday.

Six residents in the settlement of Mangatuna, north of Tolaga Bay, were evacuated on Sunday in case of flooding, after the Uawa River rose past 11 metres.

Gisborne civil defence controller Jon Davies said a "phenomenal" 250mm of rain had fallen overnight on Saturday.

A MetService severe weather warning issued at 8.15pm on Sunday forecast further heavy rain on Sunday night and Monday morning for Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, western Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula.