A local state of emergency has been declared in Napier as widespread flooding causes landslips, power cuts and evacuations.
It came as emergency services were inundated with calls for help and heavy rain continued to hit the region.
More than 3300 homes faced a night without power as electricity company Unison said crews had been forced to halt work due over safety concerns until Tuesday morning.
Just before 11pm Civil Defence said police had evacuated one side of Havelock Road on Napier Hill. It was aware of slips on at least five roads. At least 14 roads and streets were also closed.
* Severe thunderstorm risk for many parts of North Island, heavy rain warning for the east
* Systems collide to create tumultuous thunderstorms in central North Island
* Another bout of severe weather headed for east, north North Island
Multiple schools also announced they wouldn’t open on Tuesday, including Tamatea Primary, Porritt Primary, Tamatea Intermediate, Tamatea High and Fairhaven classes based at these schools.
Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence announced the emergency just before 10pm and called for people to shelter at home and avoid driving where possible.
An evacuation centre was set up at Kennedy Park on Storkey St in Marewa for Napier residents who couldn’t stay at home or with others. Civil Defence asked for people to only go there as a last resort.
“If you feel unsafe at home, self-evacuate to family and friends first. If you need urgent help because you are in danger, call 111.”
Unison spokesman Danny Gough said conditions were too rough for crews to continue work.
“Rest assured, we have all available resources on stand-by to start repairs on Tuesday morning – weather permitting and flood waters subsiding. Our crews will still attend to any emergency situations if required.”
Fire and Emergency NZ said some elderly residents had been removed from their homes to stay with relatives due to flooding and roofs leaking.
Hawkes Bay’s Urban Search and Rescue team was also facing a number of landslips caused by the heavy rain.
In one slip a shed had fallen prompting the evacuation of at least seven at-risk homes on Havelock Terrace on Napier Hill.
Unconfirmed social media reports stated the homes were evacuated after the nearby shed had “gone down a slope”.
Maraenui Golf Course during the flood.
McGregor Ave resident Carrie Smith said she was without power, her house is flooded and cars were floating down her street.
No one had come to provide her any information and Smith said she was worried for her elderly neighbours who “weren’t sure what to do and were quite upset”.
Her five-year-old daughter was also worried because she thought her bed was going to float away, Smith said.
“Our conservatory is shin-deep [in water] leading into our house, both the shed and our cars in the driveway are flooded, almost half-way up to the door.
“We’re about 10cm away from water coming into the main part of the house.”
Smith said two neighbours had both evacuated due to flooding.“Our neighbours have both left their residence, one from substantial flooding earlier today and the other about three hours ago due to flooding. Their son-in-law came to pick them up and his ute was flooded in the process.”
MetService warned the Hawke’s Bay region could expect another 30-70mm of rain. At least 77mm fell on Napier in 24 hours, with 23mm of that between 5pm and 6pm on Monday.
Fenz crews were working with Napier City Council building inspectors to assess land slips and any significant safety issues and making recommendations to occupants as to whether they should evacuate.
Earlier, Fire and Emergency New Zealand received a report of a 75-year-old woman stuck in her flooded home in Lighthouse Rd, Bluff Hill.
There have been numerous reports of people trapped or needing urgent assistance to evacuate flooded homes.
This included one family trapped in their home, and a tree which had fallen on another home, both after a land slip.
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board issued a warning flood waters could carry bugs that cause disease from the ground surface and sewerage systems.
Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said people should not eat any food that had been in contact with flood waters.
“Children should be kept away from flood waters and from playing in puddles, which may have been contaminated by sewerage.”
On social media, Napier City Council said it was receiving “constant reports” of flooded roads and advised against any non-essential travel.
“We will not be able to continue to report on individual roads as resources are diverted to managing the situation.”
Those using the roads would take care as some manhole lids may have been lifted and there may be other risks which aren’t visible, they said.
Flooded roads in Taradale.
Hawkes Bay Civil Defence asked people on social media to not rubberneck.
“People driving around Napier unnecessarily are making the situation more difficult for everyone. Driving through flood water creates bow waves, which drive water into homes.”
Earlier Hawke’s Bay firefighters were called to a slip on a Bluff Hill property in Napier, which resulted in a tree toppling on to a caravan.
Other areas with heavy surface flooding in Napier included Latham St, Nuffield Ave, Kennedy Rd and Barker Rd.
Napier City Council said the amount of rain was affecting the city’s wastewater network.
“In order to prevent an emergency discharge from the network into Ahuriri estuary, Napier City Council asks that the community flush toilets only when necessary, and hold off using showers, dishwashers or washing machines if possible.”
Heavy rain in Napier.