Wild weather: Clean up begins after monster swells batter Coromandel, Bay of Plenty coastlines

Council staff and contractors are this morning assessing the damage to the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastlines after monster swells battered the coastlines last night.

MetService recorded waves overnight of up to 6.5 metres in Bowentown near Waihi and up to 8m in Pukehina, east of Tauranga.

Swell warnings have lifted for most of the country except the Gisborne District which could see waves between 4.5m and 5.5m from now right through until Thursday.

MetService shift meteorologist Ashlee Parkes said the worst of the high swells had already happened and it was now easing for most places such as Bay of Plenty and Coromandel.

The wind is still blowing quite strongly along the eastern coast of Coromandel.

Thames Coromandel District Council last night asked people to stay away from the beaches until staff and contractors could assess the damage and start cleaning up this morning.

“We have had reports from around the Eastern Seaboard of huge tides, waves across roads and entire beaches wiped out,”TCDC civil defence controller Garry Towler said.

Waka Kotahi/NZTA contractor Higgins had staff on duty throughout the night to ensure safe management of the highway network through Whitianga in anticipation for the next high tide at 4am.

Strong wind warnings are in place for the eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne north of Ruatōria. The northern Gisborne region and the ranges have a heavy rain warning in place with 70 to 90mm of rain to fall from 8pm last night to 11am today.

A heavy rain watch is in place for the south of Gisborne and strong wind watches are in place for the eastern Bay of Plenty ranges, eastern Taupō, eastern Taihape, inland Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki.

Brophy’s Beach was the most affected and SH25 at Brophy’s was closed for several hours yesterday due to flooding.

“This is day one of a three or four-day storm so don’t underestimate the damage it may do, especially later into next week when the king tides arrive.”

Yesterday afternoon storm surges flooded roads, including in Whitianga and Tairua. There was concern the surges may damage beach infrastructure such as ladders.

MetService warned of huge swells on the east coast of the North Island

“The wave buoy at Marsden Point has seen average wave heights of 5-7m, largest up to 10m earlier,” MetService tweeted.

Tauranga City Council also closed Moturiki (Leisure Island) and the Mauao base track until at least 7am today due to dangerous sea swells which breached the Mauao base track and crossed over the sand bar at the back of Moturiki.

Tauranga council staff and contractors would also be out this morning to reassess the area and determine whether the tracks can be reopened.

Updates are expected later this morning.

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