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Published: 2011-03-21 00:00:00

Waikato Civil Defence is warning people to be aware of the dangers posed by heavy rain expected to hit the Coromandel later today, while a weather watch is also in place for the rest of the Waikato.

Emergency management officer Greg Ryan said the MetService had advised that up to 180mm was expected for the Coromandel Ranges from 4pm, with up to 100mm elsewhere on the Peninsula.

“Up to 50mm of rain could fall in an hour and this heavy rainfall has the potential to cause surface flooding, as well as slips on some of the Coromandel’s rural roads,” Mr Ryan said.

“Due to the intensity of this rainfall storm water drains could struggle to cope. The community can help minimise the impact of surface flooding by clearing debris and rubbish from drains and gutters.

“Motorists should ensure their headlights are on, so other road users can see their vehicles in the rain. Drivers should also reduce their speeds and increase their following distances to minimise their risk of a serious crash.

“The combination of the heavy rainfall, strong on-shore winds and higher than normal tides could also lead to flooding in low-lying areas.”

Mr Ryan advised water users to always check conditions prior to entering the coastal areas and adhere to all warnings.

He also reminded members of the public that the impact of the rainfall on rivers and streams would not be realised immediately and people should not endanger their lives by entering either flood waters, or swollen rivers or streams.

The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is working closely with Environment Waikato to monitor the region’s rainfall and river levels.

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