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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is asking people to take care and avoid unnecessary travel from late Tuesday until early Thursday, with Cyclone Fili expected to bring heavy rain and severe gales to the Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay regions.

National Journey Manager Helen Harris says with the ground still saturated from the significant weather event last month, heavy rain may trigger slips and cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, requiring Waka Kotahi to close some state highways.

“We know the effects of last month’s weather event are still being keenly felt by communities across the two regions and the importance of maintaining access for these communities.

“Our contractors will be working hard, doing what they can to keep the state highway network safe and open. However, it may pay for those areas worst impacted by last month’s significant weather event, in particular, to prepare for the possibility of further road closures and plan ahead to ensure they have everything they need. Those areas include the Wairoa District and State Highway 35 between Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs.”

Ms Harris encourages people to avoid unnecessary travel and, if they must travel, to expect the unexpected and remain alert.

“Drive to the conditions, view the latest weather forecast on the MetService website and check your intended route for hazards or disruptions before setting out using the Waka Kotahi interactive Journey Planner website.

MetService website(external link)

Journey Planner(external link)

“Stay alert for unreported hazards, such as surface flooding, slips, fallen trees and branches, and downed powerlines.

“If you must travel, slow down and maintain a greater following distance between your vehicle and the one in front. Treat all powerlines as live.”

The rain won’t be the only concern, with winds are forecast to approach severe gales at times.

“High sided vehicles and motorcycles should take particular care in strong winds.”

People should also be mindful of contractors who could be out clearing hazards off the road, and drive slowly through work sites, Ms Harris says.

“We want to see everyone get home safely. Stay safe and stay alert.”