Police are strongly advising motorists in the Nelson-Tasman region to stay home and avoid travel unless they have to, as heavy rain and strong winds continue to batter Aotearoa.
At 6.15am, police put out an advisory for people to avoid unnecessary travel in the Nelson-Tasman region.
Travel should be limited to essential trips only, and anyone in danger should call 111, police said.
The region has been the hardest hit these past few days with massive flooding and evacuations.
There are reports of more widespread flooding, including in the settlements of Richmond and Brightwater, and evacuation of residents, including from Hill St, between William and Templemore Dr.
There have also been reports of more road closures overnight, including on State Highway 60 in Golden Bay, from Onekaka Iron Works road to Haldane Road, due to multiple slips.
SH60 was also closed between Tākaka and Upper Tākaka due to flooding and debris.
A state of emergency has been declared for the Nelson and Marlborough regions.
Heavy rain warnings are in place for Nelson, Mt Taranaki, the Tasman District west of Motueka, the Marlborough Sounds, Rai Valley and the Richmond Range, Buller and Westland. A warning for Northland ran through till 3am.
Nelson has been hit hard by heavy rain, flooding and slips over the past few days, and that looks set to continue on Saturday. A red heavy rain warning is in place for the district, through till 11am.
Any person or organisation wishing to donate to the Nelson Tasman Mayoral Relief Fund can deposit funds into the Nelson City Council bank account 03 0703 0325055 00. When making a donation, please use the reference “Mayoral Relief Fund”.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese said the emergency team working on the response has been overwhelmed by the offers of help by the public, and the fund offers a straightforward way to channel that support.
She said it will take years for the region to recover: “Some will not be able to go back to their homes.”
Tasman mayor Tim King said the effects of the weather event would be felt well beyond the declared state of emergency.
With a long recovery period predicted, all contributions from the local community and those outside of the region would be greatly appreciated.
“The impact from this natural disaster has been wide-ranging.
“We’ve seen the obvious damage caused by flooding and landslips so far – however, once the debris is cleared, a number of people will need ongoing support to bring their lives back to normal.”
Meyers said atmospheric rivers are huge plumes of moisture that move from the tropics to the mid-latitudes, where New Zealand sits.
“This current atmospheric river is pretty exceptional.
“Analysis we undertook indicates that the amount of moisture in the atmosphere for this particular event is unprecedented for August in climatological data going back to 1959,” he said.
The University of Otago’s Dr Daniel Kingston said the event this week was also notable because of how long the atmospheric river will linger above us.
“A blocking high-pressure system is currently located to the east of New Zealand, which will essentially cause the atmospheric river to stay parked overhead for a number of days,” he said.
“I’d speculate that it’s in line with what we would expect from climate change; for every degree of warming, the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere can increase by about 7 per cent.”