The unprecedented weather event that is Cyclone Gabrielle is stretching resources across the various councils in Hawke’s Bay.
A lot of rain and high winds since Monday afternoon have combined to cause rivers to rise and in some cases overtop their banks. This has happened on the Tutaekuri River at Taradale causing some flooding. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday it appeared the river had stopped rising.
The heavy volume of water volume of water combined with debris has also severely damaged several bridges in the area making them unpassable. This includes the Puketapu Bridge, the Brookfields Bridge and the SH50 Bridge at Waiohiki.
Between these bridge outages and SH5 to Taupo and SH2 to Wairoa being closed by flooding Napier is effectively cut off for the time being.
We now under a National State of Emergency NSD thew HBRC Incident Management Team (IMT) has been stood up to cover our needs 24 hours per day – with employees working 12 hour shifts until further notice.
We have suffered significant damage to our infrastructure, but now our focus is on gathering intelligence and planning a way forward over next couple of days including supporting the priorities of the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management centre. We are also collaborating with Napier City Councilo as we are the two councils cut off north of the bridge outages.
Napier City Council and Hastings District Council have opened evacuation centres at St Joseph’s Māori Girls College in Greenmeadows (for Napier) and the Hastings Sports Centre (Railway Rd, Hastings). New Zealand Defence Forces are expected in the area to offer assistance. We will also stand up a Welfare Team to gather and distribute information about needs for those who have bene evacuated.
Another complicating factor is that power provider Transpower has declared a Grid Emergency following the loss of electricity supply to Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. They say there could be extended power outages. This is a result of flooding to the Redclyffe substation. Until they can gain access to the substation, they will not have a clear picture of how long the region will be without power. However, they are advising that the community should be prepared to be without power for days to weeks, rather than hours.
Another important note: Please minimise your use of water across the region. While drinking water is safe, the wastewater network is under extreme pressure. This means you should keep your toilet flushing to an absolute minimum, avoid showering, or using your washing machine and dishwasher.
We strongly advise people to remain in their homes if they are not threatened by flooding, but if they or someone nearby is seriously threatened to call 111.
We will try to make these updates each day at 4 p.m. and 8 a.m.
27 February 2023
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