October 3, 2023

Widespread flooding, road closed in Waihi Beach as area hit by severe thunderstorms

There is widespread flooding in Waihi.

A road is closed and emergency services are responding to widespread flooding in Waihi Beach after the region was hit by a severe thunderstorm on Monday.

Waka Kotahi said major flooding has closed State Highway 25 between Waihi to Whiritoa. People are urged to avoid the area or expect delays.

It comes as MetService issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, Kawerau and Rotorua.

The forecaster said severe thunderstorms are moving towards the southeast and will bring heavy rain to the areas on Monday afternoon.

“Very heavy rain can cause surface and/or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous,” MetService said.

Photos from Waihi Beach show widespread flooding across much of the town. In one photo two cars can be seen sitting in floodwaters, while another shows several houses surrounded by water.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) is responding to several reports of flooding and evacuations.

The National Emergency Management Agency said as the storm approaches residents should:

– Take shelter, preferably indoors away from windows;

– Avoid sheltering under trees, if outside;

– Get back to land, if outdoors on the water;

– Move cars under cover or away from trees;

– Secure any loose objects around your property;

– Check that drains and gutters are clear;

– Be ready to slow down or stop, if driving.

During and after the storm, you should also:

– Beware of fallen trees and power lines;

– Avoid streams and drains as you may be swept away in flash flooding.

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes