17 Feb 2017

Summer soaking: more downpours on the way

1:00 pm on 17 February 2017

Heavy rain has caused a big landslip on a Northland road and downpours are forecast for other parts of the country.

A deluge after a long dry spell in Northland brought down a landslide on a 50m stretch of Omamari Road, north of Dargaville, closing the main route to the Kai Iwi lakes. The slip took out power lines.

The landslide came down after parts of Northland had the wettest two-day period in a decade.

Contractors are working to clear the road but it is likely to be closed for most of the day. Diversions are in place.

Police say Northland roads are slippery with rain and there has been a spate of crashes and vehicles rolling over around the region.

MetService said the rain band had moved south of Auckland late morning and was heading to Tauranga and Waikato.

Heaviest falls of 100-140mm are expected in eastern Waikato, Taupo, western Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa and the Kaikoura region.

The rain would continue through to Saturday evening.

There could be surface flooding and slips, and rivers would rise rapidly, especially in eastern Waikato and western Bay of Plenty where there has already been significant rain.

Marlborough warning

Marlborough District Council is warning the rain could put pressure on landslip dams created by the Kaikōura earthquake.

Recovery manager Dean Heiford said there was a high risk the dams could pool and release water in heavy rain, causing sudden surges in water levels.

The council is also advising people to stay clear of rivers in eastern areas of the district this afternoon and over the weekend. Farmers are also being told to move stock and machinery to high ground, and campers are being warned not to camp along the riverside.