State Highway 5 reopens between Napier and Taupo after major flooding, NZTA urges caution on the roads

The Napier-to-Taupo road, closed after heavy rain caused slips and flooding, has reopened.

However, people should take extra care on the road, part of State Highway 5, and delays can be expected, with some sections down to one lane, the NZ Transport Agency says.

Most other state highways are also open.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence says rain is expected to continue overnight and it is monitoring the situation, but the risk of flooding is easing.

It says those residents who have self-evacuated from their homes may return if safe to do so.

However, the situation could change so those in affected area should continue to be prepared to leave, if necessary.

Among those who had evacuated were campers from Eskdale Holiday Park and students from Hukarere Girls College.

There were also evacuations in Patoka, about 40km inland from Napier.

Re-live 1 NEWS NOWS' live updates from the wild weather which caused flooding in the Hawke's Bay region today.

4.45pm: Latest road update from the Central Hawke's Bay Council:

All roads are open - currently there are no closed roads in CHB

Blackhead Beach Campground Ford - now only accessible by 4wd
Flaxmill Bridge by Ugly Hill Rd – ponding - extreme caution advised

4.22pm: Relief is in site tomorrow as the low moves offshore.

4.08pm: Click here for the latest in-depth weather update from TVNZ Weather Presenter Dan Corbett.

3.47pm: Crikey indeed!

3.35pm: The torrential rain has left some stranded in the Ruapehu District, including a heavily pregnant woman. 

3.32pm: Latest update on the weather situation from the Hastings Distrcit Council:

The situation in Hawke's Bay has eased. River levels have dropped however 50 to 60mm of rain is expected to continue overnight, but spread over a longer period of time.

Residents who evacuated are advised that they can return home but those in the Esk River catchment area are asked to remain prepared to evacuate at short notice should the situation change

3.20pm: There was also some wild weather in Auckland last night, as Andre Morrison's slow-mo video shows!

3.10pm: Good news from the New Zealand Transport Authority.

3.05pm: The latest roading update from the Central Hawke's Bay District Council:

  • Wimbledon Road is now OPEN, south of our border
  • Outside CHB Rugby Park - Mitchell St - flooding
  • Minor slip - River Road covering part of one lane 
TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS

2.55pm: The latest update on the weather from 1 NEWS's Dan Corbett.

Latest rain radar for Hawke's Bay region.
Latest rain radar for Hawke's Bay region. Source: MetService

2.30pm: The latest rain radar image from the MetService for the Hawke's Bay region shows some relief for Napier, but rain moving into Whanganui and Palmerston North.

2.15pm: That's a massive amount of rain!

2pm: Click here for more on the small Hawke's Bay settlement of Rissington, which has been slammed by torrential rain, causing the local river to rise alarmingly.

1.50pm: In other weather related news, the MetService has just tweeted out an explanation of cyclonic winds.

A reminder more bad weather may be on the way, with Cyclone Hola possibly hitting the North Island late Sunday into Monday...

Senior Station Officer Mark McGill says the flooding in Rissington can't be fought back – and the forecast is for more rain. Source: 1 NEWS


1.35pm: Marthinus Swart sent 1 NEWS footage of a rather scary drive on State Highway 5 before it was shut by flooding.

1.25pm: "The Eskdale Holiday Park has been absolutely inundated," says 1 NEWS' Sean Hogan.

"A big clean up job ahead".

1.20pm: 1 NEWS' Sean Hogan is live from the scene on Facebook now.

1.18pm: Another rain warning update from the Napier City Council.

URGENT. Message to residents close to Esk River

The Esk River's still rising. Please stay safe out there, drive very, very slowly (if you have to be on the road)...


1pm: A warning from the Napier City Council: "Stay away from rivers and streams and please avoid already flooded areas. On roads, as little as 30cm of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you are driving, please be extra careful. The depth of water is not always obvious."

12.40pm: Josh Pye spoke to 1 NEWS' Sean Hogan from the settlement of Rissington. He said the nearby river is as high as he's seen it, having lived in the area for a decade. 

12.30pm: The Napier-Taupo road - State Highway 5 - is closed due to surface flooding, police say, as considerable rain batters Hawke's Bay.

Flooding just off State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8.
Flooding just off State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8. Source: NZTA

The NZTA said a potential detour route was available via Palmerston North, which they said would add four to five hours to the journey.

Surface flooding on State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8.
Surface flooding on State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8.

"A second but longer detour is to go north from Taupo on SH5 to Rotorua, take SH30 and SH2 to Gisborne and on to Napier," they said in a release.

Hawkes Bay Regional Council reports 291mm of rain has fallen so far today at their Glengarry site - a one-in-20-year event.

Civil Defence said this morning that the Esk River is at "high levels and rising", and warned that properties nearby need to remain vigilant throughout the day.

A graph showing the river level at the Waipunga Bridge sampling station on March 9 after very heavy rain.
A graph showing the river level at the Waipunga Bridge sampling station on March 9 after very heavy rain. Source: 1 NEWS

A measurement of the water level at Waipunga Bridge showed it peaked at more than 7m.

Some people have already decided to evacuate, including Hukarere Girls' College and Eskdale Camping Ground.

Glengarry Road, Mekahu Road and Waipunga Road are closed due to slips, Taihape Road is open but small slips have been reported.

Heays Access Road remain open, with some slips reported, and Seafield Road is closed due to a fallen tree.

For a full forecast for your region, see our weather page here.