14 Apr 2017

A fine day after forecast chaos

12:32 pm on 14 April 2017

The worst of Cyclone Cook has passed, and fortunately for most areas of the country it has not been as damaging as originally forecast.

At a press conference this morning, Civil Defence said the worst of the weather had passed, but the cyclone continued to be "a serious weather event".

Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne got the worst of the storm, which is now passing down the east coast of the South Island, where heavy rain and gales are expected until later in the morning.

MetService forecaster John Crouch said the cyclone had been difficult to predict because it was such an intense system, and computer modelling does not always get that exactly right.

"And because it's been quite small and compact, a change of track by about 50 to 100km it's made quite a difference to the impact on the country.

"What we have found is that the system has tracked a little further east than we initially thought, and the central pressure hasn't been quite as deep as we were initially thinking."

Mr Crouch said the storm will weaken quite considerably as it moves to the south of the South Island tonight.

The Bay of Plenty region-wide state of emergency has been lifted, a state of emergency remains in place for the Whakatane district.

The local state of emergency in the Thames-Coromandel area has been lifted.

Mayor Sandra Goudie says half the Civil Defence crew were stood down last night, and the emergency is - in effect - over.

State Highway 25 - the Thames coast road - remains closed, so three times as much traffic is expected on the peninsula's other highways.

The district council's also warning there are still roadworks and some slips - so people should expect delays, and add at least 40 minutes to their trips.

Children play in a newly-formed pool at a Waihi Beach park.

Children play in a newly-formed pool at a Waihi Beach park. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

Rain turns Waihi Beach park into pool

The storm has caused some flooding to properties and parks at Waihi Beach.

Some houses were evacuated last night, but residents said the weather wasn't as bad as they expected and it had cleared by about 8pm.

One holidaymaker from Tauranga arrived this morning to find her garage had flooded.

She said the water would have been at least 30cm deep. There was a pump operating and she said it was clearing the water pretty quickly.

The property next door was also flooded, with a lot of water through the garage and in the backyard.

Parts of Coronation Park, on the beachfront, are also underwater.

But this hasn't deterred parents and their children, some of whom have turned up in wetsuits and togs, to play in the pool that's been created overnight.

A plastic sheet has been laid out on a slope, turning it into a waterslide.

Some children have also brought their boogie boards and bikes with them.

Flooding at a Waihi Beach property.

Flooding at a Waihi Beach property. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

More Edgecumbe residents to return home

Residents from 174 properties in the south-western area of Edgecumbe will be able to go home from midday.

Their homes are in Tawa Street, Kauri Street, Kowhai Avenue, Kanuka Place, Main Street, Totara Street, Ngaio Place, Matai Street and Rimu Street.

The Whakatane District Council said 174 of the homes in this area have not suffered flood damage and the residents involved will be able to return to their homes permanently.

But it said 42 homes had significant internal flood damage and those residents would be allowed back only temporarily today, to pick up essential items and assess damage.

Residents are asked to go to the cordon's checkpoints at the northern and southern ends of Main Street in Edgecumbe.