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Heavy rain continues

Sunday, 23 January 2011 2:30 p.m.

Widespread rain is continuing across the Bay of Plenty and has increased in intensity through this morning as a low pressure system moves across the upper North Island.

The Bay of Plenty Emergency Management flood room is operational and staff are monitoring the situation and attending to field issues as they arise. Eastern Bay of Plenty rivers are steadily rising and the Otara, Waimana, Waioeka and Kaituna rivers have passed first warning levels, with Mangorewa having just passed second warning level. (These levels are Council operational triggers for river levels and pump station operations.)
The MetService has issued a severe weather warning and is continuing to forecast another 200mm to 300mm for the Bay of Plenty. At this stage the Council has recorded rainfall levels across the region of up to 150mm.

Rainfall averages for the past 24 hours are:

• Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty 100mm (intensity of about 6mm per hour);
• Rotorua 180mm (intensity of about 15mm per hour);
• Whakatāne 120mm (intensity of about 6mm per hour);
• Rangitāiki Plains 230mm (intensity of about 15mm per hour); and
• Ōpōtiki 90mm (intensity of about 5mm per hour).


Bay of Plenty Regional Council Community Relations Manager Bronwyn Campbell said rivers in the region are rising steadily, but that there were not significant issues at this stage. Rainfall levels and visual monitoring are continuing.
The Ōkere Gates in Rotorua have been opened to maximum flows from Lake Rotoiti into the Kaituna River.
TrustPower has increased generation from the Matahina Dam this morning and is now undertaking a controlled spill into the Rangitāiki River to lower the dam level to increase dam storage.

Ms Campbell said that at this stage the river level situation was in hand and any minor problems were being dealt with quickly and were under control.
"We understand that there is some localised and surface flooding throughout the region, mainly in the Whakatāne District, however this was been attended to by local Council staff," Ms Campbell said.
"High sea levels produced by strong north to northeast onshore winds accompanying the rain could restrict rivers flowing into the sea, and this will be closely monitored with high tide in Tauranga at 11.06pm and Whakatāne at 10.44pm.
"If people don't need to travel they should stay at home, but if they must travel then they should drive to conditions. All farmers have been asked to move stock to high ground. Campers in the region have also been asked to pack up and move to a safe area.
Regional Council staff will continue to monitoring the situation and Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management staff are on standby."
People are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings.

Ends

The next situation update from Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be 5pm today, or earlier if required.

For further information on weather predictions please go to www.metservice.com
For live monitoring and regional rainfall data go to http://monitoring.boprc.govt.nz/MonitoredSites/cgi-bin/hydwebserver.cgi/districts/details?district=3

For further media information, please contact Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Bronwyn Campbell, Community Relations Manager on (021) 287 9380 or on 0800 368 288 ext 9526 (Tony Dunlop's ext)

 

UPDATE FROM EASTERN BAY OF PLENTY CIVIL DEFENCE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Eastern Bay Civil Defence Controller Diane Turner says Civil Defence officials are actively monitoring weather situation and are responding issues of surface flooding and wastewater in Edgecumbe, Matatā and other areas in the District as they arise.

A number of roads in the Rangitāiki Plains and other parts of the district are restricted to single lane or have surface flood.

Whakatāne/Ōhope
• Ōhope Road restricted single lane either way

Edgecumbe
• Rata Street closed due to flooding
• College Road closed
• Puriri Crescent closed

Matatā
• Police are evacuating the Matatā Motor Camp and the Causeway will be closed.

Ms Turner said people should desist from making unnecessary trips and residents close to streams and rivers should be aware they could rise rapidly during the next 24 hours and should take necessary precautions.

If people need any assistance they advised call the Council on 306 0500 or for more information visit the website www.whakatane.govt.nz/civildefence and continue listening to the Radio.

ENDS

For further information, please contact the Eastern Bay of Plenty CDEM Public Information Manager Barney Dzowa on 07 306 0500 or 027 2333 522.