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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises State Highway 35 is now closed between Hicks Bay and Te Araroa due to flooding, as Cyclone Fili continues to batter the Tairāwhiti and northern Hawke’s Bay regions.

Flooding on State Highway 35 between Hicks Bay and Te Araroa.

National Journey Manager Helen Harris says with Heavy Rain and Strong Wind Warnings in place, people should be avoiding unnecessary travel.

“We’re also seeing surface flooding around Hiruharama Straight and north of Tokomaru Bay. With the worst of the weather expected later this afternoon and into the night, combined with high tide around 3pm, further road closures are likely.”

Those who need to travel are advised 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(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.”