Holiday makers are being warned to revise their plans for outdoor activities this weekend as heavy rain and damaging gale-force winds bear down on the Waikato region.
Waikato Civil Defence duty officer Greg Ryan said the severe weather warning forecast for most of the North Island was expected to hit Waikato from midday today and worsen throughout the night and Sunday.
“Civil defence is particularly concerned about campers, trampers and boaties in Coromandel and Taupo where very heavy rain and high winds are expected,” he said.
”People in the Taupo area are advised that up to 400mm of rain is forecast in the hills so trampers and people planning on going fishing need to be aware rivers and streams will rise quickly.”
Civil defence has advised campers at Spa Park and Reid’s Farm near Taupo to prepare for the severe weather.
“People along the Coromandel coastline are at risk of flooding as an exceptionally high tide coincides with the wild weather.”
The high sea levels resulting from the strong north to northeast onshore winds accompanying the rain could restrict rivers flowing into the sea.
As the high tide peaks, coastal flooding is washing over roads in some parts of Coromandel.
Campers are being moved to higher ground and advised to secure their tents and other belongings.
“The advice to campers on the Coromandel is, if you need to be at work by Monday morning, leave now because there could be road closures by tomorrow.”
He warned driving conditions could be dangerous so motorists should reduce their speeds and increase their following distances to minimise their risk of a serious crash.
At all times recreational boaties and fishers should check conditions prior to entering the region’s coastal areas and adhere to all warnings.
Mr Ryan urged members of the public not to endanger their lives by entering either flood waters, or swollen rivers or streams.
He warned farmers on the Hauraki Plains to be aware of rising rivers, full drains and surface flooding.
People are advised to listen to their radio for the latest forecasts and warnings.
As a result of the weather warning, Environment Waikato has activated its flood management team. Staff are monitoring river levels and rainfall, and will alert landowners, councils and other stakeholders when early warning river levels are triggered.
Information on rainfall and river levels, and up to date situation reports on the weather are available at www.ew.govt.nz, or on the following info lines:
Ohinemuri, Kauaeranga and Waihou – 0832 25 334
Piako, Waitoa, Thames tide – 0832 25 335
Waipa, lower Waikato – 0832 25 336
Taupo basin, Awakino – 0832 25 337
Waikato Civil Defence is also working closely with Environment Waikato to monitor the region’s rainfall and river levels.