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Gisborne next in path of rain

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/09/2016

The Gisborne hills are set to be hit by the heavy rain which has left the Coromandel drenched and which also forced some motorists to sleep in their stranded cars.

The Metservice says up to 120mm of rain is expected in the hills and ranges, particularly north of Tolaga Bay, on Monday and Tuesday.

"This rain is expected to cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly and may cause slips and surface flooding," it said in a severe weather warning.

However, a heavy rain warning was lifted for the Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty.

Four cars on the Kauarenga Valley Road were among those trapped on Sunday night, the occupants forced to spend the night there and wait for the water to recede.

"As the water recedes sufficiently they will be driving out of there," Senior Sergeant Dean Anderson told Fairfax Media. "Family were in contact with them and they were all fine."

Officials are urging motorists to avoid the Coromandel, even as local river levels drop.

State Highway 25, between Thames and Tairua, was closed by flooding south of Tairua on Monday, along with about half a dozen local roads affected by slips.

Waikato Civil Defence on Sunday said people trying to get to Pauanui should affirm "my car is not a submarine".

Flooding has also affected local water supplies. A tanker is bringing drinking water to the Hikuataia Store, between Thames and Paeroa.

Over the weekend, a car with three children inside had to be towed out of water on Hikuai Settlement Road, near Pauanui.

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