Napier flooding: Weather watches for Hawke's Bay as citizens remain without power, roads closed

Two weather watches are in place for Hawke's Bay as some Napier citizens remain without power after Monday's widespread flooding. 

Residents in the eastern city spent much of Tuesday assessing damage caused by torrential rain, flooding and landslides on Monday evening. 

While the worst of the weather subsided on Tuesday morning, Metservice has a heavy rain watch in place for the North Island's east coast - including Napier - with possible thunderstorms forecast. The watch is expected to be in place until 8pm on Wednesday.

"Expect rainfall accumulations of 40 to 60mm, though localised places may see up to 75mm of rain accumulating if thunderstorms do occur, including Napier City. Please note, rain should ease about and south of Napier late Wednesday afternoon," Metservice says.

A severe thunderstorm watch has also been issued until 9am on Wednesday.

"Rain about Hawkes Bay and the Tararua District is expected to increase overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday. There is a possibility of a few thunderstorms with the rain, bringing an associated risk of localised downpours. 

"Although there is some uncertainty whether this convective rain will bring localised downpours and to exactly where, it is considered given the situation in Hawkes Bay following the recent heavy rain there, that there is sufficient cause to issue a severe thunderstorms watch."

The forecaster says localised downpours of 25-35mm/h are possible with or without thunderstorms. 

"Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and/or flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips. Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain."

Power company Unison says on its website that about 70 customers in the Napier region remain without power. That includes on Munroe St, Waterworth Ave and in the wider Onekawa / Pirimai area. 

Unison relationship manager Danny Gough said on Tuesday that while floodwaters were slowly receding, flood damage is proving more challenging than expected.

"The depth of the water in some areas has damaged our high voltage assets, such as transformers and switch units. Our process is to inspect, clean, repair and then once deemed safe, liven these assets - which unfortunately is proving to be a hard slog, and of course we can only commence this process once the water has subsided," he said.

Several roads also remain closed, including on Bluff Hill, where large landslides have left debris laid over roads. Thompson Rd on the hill is closed as a "tree is across the road channelling water into [a] property" while streets in Onekawa are closed due to flooding. 

On Tuesday night, Hawke's Bay Civil Defence told residents that authorities "weren't expecting the volumes of rain we had yesterday but we know many people will be concerned about the possible impact of tonight's rain. 

"At this stage the forecast rain is not expected to cause serious issues."

Fire and Emergency New Zealand told Newshub on Wednesday that there had been no calls to emergency services overnight. 

It has determined 16 homes uninhabitable and has evacuated those that live there. Kennedy Park Resort in Napier has had its doors open to people who can't stay in their homes. 

There has been no evidence of water contamination but the wastewater system is overloaded, meaning residents are asked to keep their household wastewater to a minimum. 

"DO NOT take baths or flush toilets unless absolutely necessary, keep showers short and leave running the dishwasher until tomorrow," Civil Defence said on Tuesday night.