Wellington has been cut off and Hutt Valley residents have been told to prepare to evacuate their homes.
Police are now asking Wellingtonians to stay where they are now and avoid all non-essential travel.
State highways 1 and 2 have been closed, while Waiwhetu Stream breached its banks this morning.
Evacuations in the Waiwhetu Stream area are likely.
“Residents should prepare to evacuate or evacuate now to friends or family or Walter Nash Stadium,” the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office said.
Hutt City Council is advising residents to check on family and neighbours and place their possessions up high if possible.
Anyone feeling uncomfortable should evacuate to higher ground or Walter Nash Centre on Taine St in Taita, Lower Hutt.
Riverbank car park is closed as a precaution. People can park in all metered car parks today for free.
Gracefield, Pukeatua, Waterloo and Normandale schools are closed. Eastbourne, Moera, Stokes Valley and War Memorial libraries, and the Naenae and Taita clubhouses are also closed.
Residents should avoid unnecessary travel and stay away from waterways and drains.
SH58 from Paremata to Haywards Interchange at SH2, Greys Road and Paekakariki Hill Road are closed.
The highway between Mackays Crossing and Paremata is in the process of being closed due to the severe flooding.
There is also severe flooding at Mana and the Plimmerton roundabout.
Flooding of Waiwhetu Stream, Hutt City. Residents should prepare to evacuate or evacuate now to friends or family or Walter Nash Stadium.
— WREMO (@WREMOinfo) November 14, 2016
Porirua Harbour will experience high tide around 11am and this may affect roads around Porirua Harbour and the Pauatahanui inlet. Motorists are asked to avoid the area if possible and take alternate routes.
There are numerous reports of surface flooding in Hutt Valley and police are responding to a number of weather related call outs.
The Hutt River is very high and has overflowed at some parts. Police recommend motorists avoid State Highway 2 between Upper Hutt and Petone due to surface flooding.
Motorists are asked to avoid non-essential travel. They should exercise caution, adjust their driving to the conditions, avoid any areas where there is surface flooding and be tolerant of other road users.
There are contractors in the worse affected areas who are managing traffic and motorists should follow their instructions.
— MetService (@MetService) November 14, 2016
Wellington City Council’s regional emergency management said it was experiencing “a dynamic situation”.
Last night was marked by aftershocks, wind and rain – the motorway signs had replaced the tsunami warning to motorists with one warning of extreme weather.
This morning the official line is Wellington’s CBD is open for business, but the city remains a bit of a ghost town.
Deep flooding on SH2 between Ngauranga and Petone about 15 mins ago. Must be closed by now!! pic.twitter.com/bwkCaPD2os
— Chris Hipkins (@chrishipkins) November 14, 2016
The CBD has re-opened but several streets, including Featherston Street, are still closed because of the risk of falling glass.
This morning, there were few commuters on the street and very few suits on their way to work.
Inner city cafes which would usually be full of people having breakfast and queuing for coffee have empty tables.
Buses were running but have many empty seats.
The fuel that keeps Wellington running – coffee – is however still flowing for those who have ventured out.
One coffee outlet is offering free coffees to emergency services workers helping with the earthquakes and weather.
Mojo coffee have kindly offered free coffee to Wellington emergency workers in uniform or with ID. https://t.co/58ZAYTt1Cv
— Wgtn City Council (@WgtnCC) November 14, 2016
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said many workplaces would now be ready to get back to work and described the forecast gales and rain as “nothing more than a gentle breeze” by Wellington standards.
Civil Defence has advised people to use commonsense when in the central city today.
Some buildings are still being assessed and areas, particularly around Featherston Street, are still cordoned off.
Police are controlling traffic on Featherston Street and making sure people stay away from damaged buildings.
Weni Ling’s store Mama Sushi, on Customhouse Quay, is on the edge of one of the worst-hit parts of the city.
Her store was undamaged in the quake, but she is worried about further quakes.
“This building is very new so we’re ok,” she said. “I have been in New Zealand 16 years and this is the most awful [earthquake].”
“We are thinking of moving now, maybe to Auckland, somewhere with less earthquakes. Especially in the city, the business in Wellington cannot open.
“And we are just worried about the big earthquake. My kids are a little bit worried.”
Alison Zikonda, who owns Monsignor Antiques in central Wellington, said the poor weather was “adding insult to injury” after the quake.
Her store was relatively unscathed. She had learned from previous quakes and fixed all of her shelves to the walls with steel braces.
“All of these valuable mirrors and things, and not one broke,” she said. “So somebody’s looking after me.”
Zikonda says she is prepared for the “big one”. She has blankets, duvets, food supplies and in her store, and has even attached a butcher’s hook onto a rope “so if I’m stuck under furniture I can hook it onto something and pull myself out”.
“I tell the neighbours to do the same but they never listen.”
Due to severe flooding and slips the following roads are closed:
• SH58 from Paremata to Haywards Interchange at SH2
• Greys Road
• Paekakariki Hill Road
• SH2 between Ngauranga and Petone is closed
• SH1 between Mackays Crossing and Paremata
• Miromiro Rd
• Udy St in Petone
• Harcourt Werry Dr between Taita Dr and Percy Cameron St
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
• Rain with heavy falls is expected to ease by midday today. In the 3 hours from 9am to midday, expect a further 20 to 30mm of rain on top of what has already fallen. Peak intensities of 10 to 15mm/hr.
• A heavy rain warning have been issued for Wellington, Kapiti and the Tararua Ranges.
• Grays and Paekakariki Hill Road in Porirua are closed, as well as State Highway 58 over the Haywards Hill.
• Mana College is closed due to flooding, but the exam room remains open.
• The CBD is open for business. Workers were being told to check with their employers whether their workplace was open.
• Passenger ferry services are back up and running but the port was still out of action.
• Wellington Railway Station has been cleared and trains and buses are back in action although the weather and power problems are causing some delays and there are restricted services to some places.