Cyclone Fili: 700 homes without power, roads closed in Tairāwhiti

Source: 1News

Gisborne and the East Coast have been hit hard from the remains of ex-tropical Cyclone Fili.

Gisborne District Council Civil Defence manager Ben Green says he was "reasonably comfortable" with how river levels were looking, but surface flooding had developed this afternoon.

"The rain intensities in the forecast show we should reach the peak later this evening", he said.

Green hopes the rain will ease after midnight and says 700 homes are still without power on the East Coast.

Gisbourne Civil Defence said on its website the Hikuwai River is estimated to peak at 9.5 to 10 metres at 6pm on Wednesday.

Many in Tairāwhiti are still facing repairs just three weeks after severe rainfall caused widespread flooding.

The flooding damaged homes, businesses and roads.

Among them is the East Coast settlement of Waipiro Bay, which has now been split in two after the road was washed out on Wednesday.

One local resident told 1News that there are about three or four families stuck on the other side but they prepared and have supplies.

Flooding has forced the closure of part of State Highway 35.

The road at Waipiro Bay is washed out during Cylone Fili.

1News weather presenter Dan Corbett has said the region could be hit by two months worth of rain thanks to Fili.

It comes as MetService has issued a swathe of weather watches and warnings for the North Island.

The Wairoa District and Gisborne are covered by a red heavy rain warning.

MetService says residents can expect dangerous river conditions and significant flooding.

It warns communities could become isolated due to impassable roads. Power outages are likely.

Severe south to southwest gales are also forecast, which could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.

The red heavy rain warning is in place until midnight on Wednesday for Gisborne and 4am on Thursday for the Wairoa District.

An orange strong wind warning remains in place for Bay of Plenty and Rotorua, Gisborne, and parts of Hawke's Bay and southeast Taupō.

It has been lifted for Auckland, Great Barrier Island and Coromandel Peninsula.

A heavy rain watch remains in place for Hawke's Bay. It has been lifted for parts of Northland and Auckland.

Also in a 10am update, MetService said the orange heavy rain warning has been lifted for Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, and Bay of Plenty and Rotorua.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to take care and avoid unnecessary travel from late Tuesday until early Thursday on state highways in Waikato and Bay of Plenty due to the forecast wind and rain.