Cyclone Fili: Calls to avoid unnecessary travel

Heavy rain may cause surface flooding, trigger slips and cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, requiring Waka Kotahi to close some state highways. File photo.

People are being asked to take care and avoid unnecessary travel from late Tuesday until early Thursday.

Heavy rain and severe gales are expected to hit the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions as Cyclone Fili passes New Zealand.

Waka Kotahi Transport Agency maintenance and operations regional manager Rob Campbell says heavy rain may cause surface flooding, trigger slips and cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, requiring Waka Kotahi to close some state highways.

“Our contractors will be working hard, doing what they can to keep the state highway network safe and open.”

Very large waves are expected to affect northeast and eastern coasts.

There is a heavy rain and strong wind warning in place for the Coromandel from 7pm this evening.

There is also a heavy rain warning for Bay of Plenty and Rotorua from 9pm until around midday Wednesday.

Rob 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 (metservice.com) and check your intended route for hazards or disruptions before setting out using the Waka Kotahi interactive Journey Planner website (journeys.nzta.govt.nz).

“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, says Rob.

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

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