Wild weather: Roads open in Coromandel but more rain, high tide could bring further flooding

The heavy rain that has hit the Coromandel Peninsular is forecast to continue into Friday, with fresh concerns a high tide could cause more flooding.

The popular holiday hotspot has been hit by over 400mm of rain in the past 72 hours. 

High winds and driving rain on Thursday forced thousands of holidaymakers to abandon their summer plans and head from popular spots such as the Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty. 

The Coromandal has been particularly hard hit, with many roads closing and areas cut off by slips. 

"Pretty much the whole of the eastern seaboard is cut off," Thames Coromandel District Civil Defence controller Garry Towler told Newshub on Thursday.

"We've had 200mm last 24 hours and another 200mm in next 24 hours... it's unknown territory."

The weather forced the cancellation of concerts and a mass exodus of campers across the region. 

On Friday Thames-Coromandel District Council said on its Facebook page most major roads in the region had reopened but some remain closed. 

The update said the following roads were affected: 

  • Tapu Coroglen Rd remains closed 2.5km from Tapu due to a large slip. We expect to have the road opened to one lane by 13:00
  • Tapu Coroglen Rd is closed 2.5km from Tapu due to a slip. A crew is heading there now to assess extent and install traffic management. Further updates to follow.
  • Wentworth Valley Rd remained closed overnight due to surface flooding an update on this is expected shortly
  • ​Hikuai Settlement Road remained closed overnight due to surface flooding an update on this is expected shortly
  • State Highways - Waka Kotahi/NZTA roads
  • SH25 Te Mata to Kereta (from Te Mata Creek Rd to Waikawau Valley Rd): Due to a fallen tree north of Te Mata, traffic management is in place. Take extra care when passing through the area.
  • ​SH25 Coromandel to Whitianga – Whangapoua Hill (east of Coromandel township: Due to a slip east of Coromandel township, traffic management is in place. Please take extra care when driving through the area.
  • SH25 Whitianga to Kaimarama, Wades Road is now OPEN.
  • SH25 and SH25a to Tairua Road-Hikuai is now OPEN.
  • Local Council-run roads
  • Tapu-Coroglen is CLOSED due to a tree down over road 2.5km from Tapu end

There are concerns the high tide at 8am this morning could cause more flooding and residents are urged to check the TCDC Facebook page and website. 

Thames Coromandel Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler told Newstalk ZB he was hopeful if the high tide didn't bring more issues the region could start to open up again. 

"We’ve got a high tide in about an hour’s time. If we get through that I think fingers crossed that the Coromandel will be open for business, albeit tenuously," Towler told Newstalk ZB

"By 3 o’clock, hopefully we’ll be good to go," said Towler.

The region is hoping the holidaymakers will return once the bad weather passes. Tourism has already been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and many operators were hoping for a good summer. 

At Tairua Campground, Dave Bell was one of the brave campers sticking it out. 

"Go to the fishing club tonight, have a couple of beers and all tell the same story and whinge about the weather!" Bell told Newshub.

Metservice has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for lower parts of the South Island. There is a moderate risk of thunderstorms on Friday evening for Canterbury Plains, Canterbury High Country, North Otago, Central Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland that could become severe Metservice said. 

The wild weather has affected another festival with Juicy Fest 90s in Tauranga on Friday cancelled amid "increasing safety concerns" caused by the wild weather hitting Aotearoa.

In a statement released on Friday morning at 8:30, organisers said they were "heartbroken" to have made the call.

"We are heartbroken to announce we have had to make the tough decision this morning to cancel Juicy Fest Tauranga on Friday due to increasing safety concerns prompted by potentially dangerous weather conditions."