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Locals evacuated as Tokomaru Bay hit by flash floods

Parts of the North Island have been hit by flash flooding, as the storm which caused yesterday’s tornado moves across the country.

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Former Te Karere reporter Irena Smith told 1 NEWS she's never seen the local river this flooded before. Source: Supplied

State Highway 23 between Tokomaru Bay and Gisborne has been washed out due to flooding at the Kaiawha Stream bridge, forcing it to close.  

Now as the water levels recede, parts of SH23 have reopened north and south of Tokomaru Bay. The heavy rain warning for the area was lifted this morning. 

Motorists are being warned to avoid the area or delay travel if possible according to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. 

Low-lying houses through the area have been submerged by rising floodwaters, with locals having self-evacuated.

Emergency management teams are now helping some of these families return to their properties.  

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A large dumping of rain has left much of the area covered in water. Source: Supplied

Former Te Karere reporter Irena Smith was forced to flee her home this morning after rising flood levels threatened her property. 

"Never ever, in my whole life here, has it ever been that high," she told 1 NEWS. 

A slip on State Highway 35 in Pōtaka has fully closed the road. Source: NZTA

The wild weather has also caused slips further along the East Cape in Pōtaka along SH35 causing it to close near the intersection with Lottin Point Road.

Gisborne and Coromandel received the bulk of last night’s rain, with 80-100mm recorded.