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Published: 2008-08-15 00:00:00

Hamilton river front houses are still safe from flooding, despite the swollen Waikato River coming under more pressure from overnight rain in the Taupo area.

Over the past 12 hours, up to 30mm of rain has fallen on the Taupo catchment.

However this has not translated to problems further downstream in Hamilton, where the Waikato River level is fairly steady at about 15.80m.

“Surface flooding remains at river walkways and the Grantham St car park, but the river is still lower than river front houses and roads (including Ann St),” Environment Waikato emergency management officer Adam Munro said.

“We expect the river level to rise slightly in Hamilton due to rain over the past 12 hours, but at this stage it is still not expected to pose any flood threat to houses.

“We are continuing to work with Mighty River Power to carefully balance water flows through the river system to protect private property.”

Meanwhile, about 25mm has fallen over the upper Waipa catchment, and about 10mm has fallen in the lower Waipa catchment.

The upper Waipa river, which empties into the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia, is responding to last night’s rain and has risen 25cm over the past 24 hours in Otorohanga. 

Although the river is expected to continue rising throughout the day, water levels in the lower Waikato area, including Huntly and Mercer, are not expected to be as high as they were last week.

The MetService has forecast heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms in the Taupo and Waitomo areas through to Saturday night, with 40-70mm of rain expected.

But Mr Munro said based on the current forecast, flood modeling suggested peak flows over the weekend would be about 20-30cm lower than last week’s peak.

“Environment Waikato’s emergency response team will continue keeping a very close eye on rainfall and river levels throughout today and over the weekend,” he said.

Environment Waikato operations staff are also checking stop banks, flood gates and pumps are operating as designed.