Widespread rainfall continues across region
Sunday, 23 January 2011 2:35 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, Whakatane 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 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 160mm;
- Rotorua 200mm;
- Whakatāne 180mm;
- Rangitāiki Plains 220mm; and
- Ōpōtiki 110mm.
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.
"With the current forecast, it is expected the our rivers will peak from early tomorrow morning through to early afternoon tomorrow," Ms Campbell said
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 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, however this is 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 monitor 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.
The next situation update from Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be tomorrow morning or earlier if required.
For further information on weather predictions please go to www.metservice.com