Mudslides block only road to New Zealand town after storm

A car has been washed off the road into a ditch on SH1 near Factory Rd Hapuku

The storm that hit late Tuesday was the remnants of Cyclone Gita, which last week ripped through the Pacific nation of Tonga, destroying homes, churches and the historic Parliament House.

The supplies went to the clinic in Golden Bay, which was running short because the storm has cut the Takaka Hill Road.

The worst of the storm has moved off to the east, but there are still warnings out for Wednesday evening (local time).

The cyclone had since been downgraded to a storm, but forecasters warned it was still likely to wreak havoc as it traversed the centre of New Zealand, parts of which were still reeling from a huge storm that prompted authorities to declare of states of emergency at the start of February. But the heavy rains were enough to cause disruptions in New Zealand, although the country escaped major damage.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said they had been concerned about coastal inundation but were fortunate there had not been a very high tide.

Mr O'Connor, who is the MP for the West Coast, said vineyards would be hard hit because they were close to harvesting.

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More than 40 schools and preschools shut in the upper South Island, while mayors urged people to stay home.

Food supplies would be delivered by New Zealand Defence Force with an Air Force helicopter flying from Woodbourne, Blenheim to Motueka on Wednesday morning.

Many places exceeded their average monthly rainfall totals for February during the storm - Christchurch measured a 69.2mm of rain with the average February rainfall stating at 44mm.

The latest severe weather warnings from MetService New Zealand said heavy rain is possible overnight on Wednesday in some areas.

Nelson City Council communications manager Paul Shattock told local media the military had been deployed in Takaka and was helping to get people to safety. "I mean, apart from damage that's been caused".

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