The remains of Tropical Cyclone Wilma that hit Northland overnight exceeded expectations lashing the region with heavy rain causing surface flooding, road closures and rain-swollen rivers topping their banks
The bad weather arrived as forecasted with heavy rain saturating the region’s eastern hills north of Kaeo with 270mm to Whangarei in the south with 220mm.
Northland Regional Council hydrologists says that rainfall intensities reached 20 – 40mm per hour throughout the night with some areas experiencing 100mm in only four hours.
In 19 hours between 8am Friday to 3am Saturday, highest recorded rainfall figures were in Kaeo 279.5mm, Kawakawa 276mm, Puhipuhi 276.5mm and Whangarei Heads 274.5mm.
Even though the rain has now eased, some of the larger catchments throughout the region will continue to rise and overflow their banks.
Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Controller Tony Phipps says rivers rose rapidly and there is extensive surface flooding throughout Northland, including State Highway 11 at Puketona Junction, State Highway 1 at Kawakawa, Rangiahua and State Highway 10 at Kaeo and Bulls Gorge.
There are also a lot of localised road closures caused by surface flooding and slips.
Emergency services have been extremely busy throughout the night dealing with flood-related incidents and evacuations in high risk areas such as Kaeo, Kawakawa and Haruru Falls.
Mr Phipps says officials are monitoring the situation closely and are warning Northlanders to keep off the roads and avoid all travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Road closure information for the state highway network can be checked on the AA Roadwatch website www.aaroadwatch.co.nz and local road closure information will be available later this morning from their District Council.
River and rainfall data from throughout Northland is also automatically posted at two hour intervals on the Regional Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz/riversandrain