Hukarere Girls College in Eskdale has been evacuated today due to major flash flooding in northern Hawke's Bay, with around 90 students and all staff members escorted out by police to get to safety.
The freak flooding centred around the Eskdale area, right where Hukarere Māori Girls College is based.
"There was already water coming across the road, SH5. I kept reassuring the students that 'we're fine, we're warm, we're safe' because the classrooms were quite high up. There was a lot of water on the ground. It was [about] getting out of the SH5 and getting away from there safely- that's where the flooding was," says Hukarere principal Lelie Pearcey.
Around 100 Havelock North Intermediate students were evacuated from their school camp in nearby Rissington, with the heavy rain also forcing a major timber mill, Panpac, in Whirinaki to shut down.
"Overnight we had some alarms go off and we had Hukarere School evacuated this morning and also the camping ground. Since then we've had some other houses that have been flooded in the Shore Rd area. Some of the residents have self-evacuated and emergency services have been out there and evacuated people as they needed to," says Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Manager Ian Macdonald.
North of Napier all the roads are closed. However, the worst is not over yet as more heavy rainfall is predicted throughout the night.
"At the moment the weather systems are very unpredictable and we're seeing lots of more this isolated weather bombs affecting small catchments," explains Macdonald.
Civil Defence and local authorities are monitoring the situation very closely and putting in place further evacuation plans if needed.