Flooding and slips affecting motorists around the country

By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission.

Heavy rain is causing slips and flooding around the country, affecting motorists across the regions.

Flooding near Te Araroa and the East Cape in the Tairāwhiti region today.
Flooding near Te Araroa and the East Cape in the Tairāwhiti region today. Photo: Supplied / Gisborne District Council

Metservice have put heavy rain warnings in place for the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne regions.

Meanwhile in the South, Tasman (about and west of Motueka), eastern Marlborough south of Blenheim, Canterbury Plains north of Ashburton, including the foothills and Christchurch, are all under a heavy rain warning.

The East Cape in the Tairāwhiti region has been hit with serious flooding with heavy rain battering the area.

State Highway 35 near the East Cape, between Potaka and Te Araroa, is closed due to flooding.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area. It is not yet known when the flooding will subside enough for the road to be safely reopened to traffic.

Waka Kotahi is advising motorists in Tairāwhiti and further south in Hawke’s Bay to take extra care and to “stay alert” as severe weather creates challenging driving conditions.

The downpours caused potholes to appear on the road, which crews were doing their best to address.

“Our contractors have been out in the rain over the last couple of days, working hard to ensure that the state highways remain safe for motorists,” Waka Kotahi’s regional maintenance and operations manager Jaclyn Hankin said in a statement.

“Potholes and debris have appeared on roads across the region, so please keep speeds down and stay alert. We want everyone to get to their destinations and back home safely.

“It will take some time for us to repair all the potholes, especially while the severe weather continues. Making permanent repairs to potholes requires warm, dry weather so until the rain clears we can only make temporary repairs.”

“We need people to drive to the conditions for the safety of everyone on the roads, including our contractors who are doing a great job in very bad weather.”

“If anyone sees any issues on the state highways, please call 0800 44 44 49 so that our contractors can get to the site quickly and fix the issue.”

The highway between the small towns of Pōtaka and Te Araroa near the East Cape (SH35) shut due to flooding just before 4pm.

Waka Kotahi said it was not yet known when the flooding would subside enough for the road to be safely reopened.

Several rural council roads in the Gisbrone Tairāwhiti region are also shut due to flooding.

The heavy rain is expected to ease this afternoon.

Canterbury rain causing coastal slips

The heavy rain forecast for Canterbury is already causing chaos with slips along the Kaikōura coast making driving difficult.

Up to 140 millimetres of rain is forecast in the next 21 hours, three times the average amount the region would normally get in the entire month of December.

The police were urging motorists to avoid or delay travel between Blenheim and Kaikōura due to several slips, including one at Oaro where traffic was down to one lane.

They said there was a risk of injury from falling rocks.

Metservice meteorologist Peter Little said Christchurch was expected to bear the brunt of any flooding.

He said the worst was yet to come, with most of the rain forecast to fall on Wednesday evening.

Wellington trains suspended

Train services on the Johnsonville line in Wellington have been suspended due to a slip between Awarua Street and Simla Crescent.

Metlink is running bus replacements to the train timetable and will post updates on its website.

Meanwhile, the technical issue stopping smaller planes from landing and taking off at Wellington Airport yesterday has been fixed.

More than 100 flights in and out of the capital were cancelled or delayed yesterday.

Four flights were impacted today.

The landing system, which required fine weather to test it before it could be operational again, got up and running just before 5pm.

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