More wet weather is on the way after torrential rain caused widespread flooding in northern and eastern parts of the North Island.
Conditions were easing on Wednesday evening, but the Metservice says further downpours can be expected in Northland and the Coromondel Peninsula on Thursday.
It said the rainfall would produce flash floods, cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly and make driving conditions hazardous.
In the Coromandel Peninsula, another 150 to 180mm of rain is forecast from midday Thursday to midnight on Friday, with peak intensities of up to 25mm an hour.
In Whangamata, which was hit by a one-in-100-year deluge over a 24-hour period, residents were evacuated from two houses on Wednesday, while a number of other properties have been flooded.
Farmers, stock evacuated
Many farmers, their families and their stock had to be shifted to higher ground on Wednesday as heavy rain caused floods across Auckland and the Coromandel.
As many as 10 homes were flooded in Kaiaua and occupants were being looked after by friends and family. The occupants of two homes damaged by a slip in Onemana have been relocated, along with two evacuations in Tairua.
Heather Ratahi, a resident of Kaiaua said when she woke up at 6am on Wednesday, she discovered that her car was underwater.
She said she hasn't seen weather this bad in 10 years.
Her house is higher than her neighbours', so she plans on holding tight "and [hoping] it doesn't get as high as the house."
Philip Bell, a farmer in Clevedon told RadioLIVE his stock have made it through the flooding unscathed - but only because he got up in the night to shift them. He says lifestyle farmers in the area are likely to be suffering loses.
"It's hair-raising," he said.
The worst of flooding and heavy rain is expected to have passed for Auckland and Coromandel for today, but the rest of the week could see more bursts of rain.
MetService says a thunderstorm watch remains in place for Northland until 6pm, but watches for Auckland and Coromandel have now been lifted.
Heavy busts of rain expected from Friday until Sunday could lead to more flooding, slips and debris on the roads, Auckland Civil Defence warns.
- Worst-hit Whangamata has had about 260mm of rain in 36 hours, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
- SH25 is closed south of Thames.
- Five Auckland regional parks have been closed due to flooding - Hunua Ranges, Tapapakanga, Waitawa, Duder and Waharau.
- Civil Defence has opened centres for possible evacuees at the Pauanui Community Centre and Whangamata Hall.
- At least five schools in Auckland and 12 in the Coromandel have been closed, along with 11 early childhood centres in Coromandel and one in Auckland.
- In Whangamata, power has been restored to all but 200 homes following outages earlier on Wednesday morning, but eftpos and cellphones are down, and there's no petrol.
- More than 900 homes in Tauranga's Welcome Bay were temporarily left without power earlier, and more than 300 still don't have electricity in Te Aroha and Paeroa.
- Sewage systems in the Coromandel Peninsula have come under pressure from flood waters and the local council has asked locals not to flush toilets.
- But NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll said despite the intensity of the rain hitting Whangamata being a one-in-100-year event, there's more to come.
- In Auckland, the rain prompted the evacuation of more than 350 children from two camps at Hunua - from Camp Adair in the morning and Hunua Falls Camp later in the day.
- Localised flooding had caused more than 30 landslips in the south-eastern suburbs of Papakura, Beachlands, Maraetai, Kawakawa Bay, Auckland Transport said.
- Auckland fire crews have received more than 100 calls about flooding, with the Beachlands, Clevedon and Maraetai areas strongest hit.
- About 2000 properties are still without power in the outer suburbs in the southeast of the city, with Vector teams working on restoring it.
- About 15 homes in Kawakawa Bay were earlier cut off, with one house evacuated in Papakura and dozens of calls also coming from Waiheke Island.
- Auckland Civil Defence advises stock be moved to higher ground in areas prone to flooding.
Have you been affected by the wild weather? Send your stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
4.15pm: Severe thunderstorms are expected to reach Rawene, Kohukohu and Punakitere from 4.30pm on Wednesday. Metservice warns the thunderstorms are likely to be accompanied by very heavy rain. Residents should take shelter, away from windows and trees. Avoid streams and drains to avoid being swept away by flash floods.
2.56pm: Power is expected to be restored to 141 properties without power in Opoutere by 5pm on Wednesday. 500 properties without power in Whitianga may not have power restored until 7pm. Click here for further updates.
2.00pm: Metservice has lifted their thunderstorm watch for Auckland and Coromandel. The watch is ongoing for Northland.
1:00pm: Manurewa farmer Mike Smith had a strange rescue operation on Wednesday morning.
"I walked out the front door, it was knee deep. I was trying to find the cows in the dark and all of a sudden you could hear them swimming past you," he said.
12:55pm: Flooding in the upper North Island is affecting about 1800 customers on the Chorus network, the broadband company says.
In Whangamata where there's been a power outage, there's a major broadband failure, Chorus says.
12:40pm: Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and his daughter are among the Northcote Primary school group being evacuated from the Hunua Falls Camp, Fairfax reports.
12:15pm: Hunua Falls Camp is being evacuated. Access to the camp was blocked on Wednesday morning by a fallen tree across Falls Rd.
The 150 children at the camp are safe and well, Civil Defence says.
The kids will be taken to Hunua School, where school children from Camp Adair were taken earlier on Wednesday, before heading home.
12:00pm: Waiheke Island residents are battening down the hatches as rain continues in the area. There have been several slips and fallen trees on the island.
11:50am: Coromandel road closures update:
- SH25 between Kopu and Thames is now open to one lane. Please drive with extra care as there is still flooding in the northbound lane
- SH25 at Whiritoa is closed because of slips
- SH25 at Whangamata is closed because of flooding
- SH25 at Tairua is closed because of flooding
- SH25 from Kereta to Te Kouma is closed because of flooding
- SH25 at Whitianga is closed because of flooding
11:20am: MetService says the harsh weather is not over yet. There is a moderate risk of localised downpours and severe thunderstorms until mid-afternoon Thursday over Auckland, northern Waikato, Coromandel Peninsula and western Bay of Plenty, it says.
"These downpours and/or thunderstorms may produce localised rainfall rates of 25 to 40mm/hr and possibly more.
"Rainfall of this intensity can cause flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips."
Heavy showers and thunderstorms are also expected around Northland. MetService says there is a moderate risk of hail and a small tornado.
11:00am: A police car has been washed off the road in flooding at Kawakawa Bay, southeast of Auckland.
10:50am: Waikato police are urging people to avoid travel around the Coromandel Peninsula.
"More rain is forecast for the rest of the day and high tide is still to come," Senior Sergeant Dean Anderson says.
The latest road conditions can be found on the NZTA website.
10:45am: Hunua Falls camp - near Camp Adair - is cut off by a landslip, with 150 people waiting for emergency services to clear the road.
10:30am: Some optimistic commuters went up against the wild weather, but not all came out on top.
Maxine Clayton posted to her Facebook page a video of a rescue operation underway, as a car was pulled out of the Wairoa River near Hunua on Wednesday morning.
10:20am: Pupils from Stanley Bay and Mangatawhiri schools are now heading home after being plucked from Camp Adair as water levels came to chest height in some areas.
Stanley Bay School teacher Helen Pelham says the whole operation went off without a hitch.
"I can't say how proud I am, there were no dramas at all from them. Now I've got to think of two days of teaching that I didn't have up my sleeve! We're meant to be here until Friday."
10:00am: Farmers north of Auckland are celebrating the rain. It's finally broken the drought that's been gripping Northland for months, giving rural communities a much-needed boost.
"It's warm rain so it'll definitely help us with our re-grassing," farmer Damian Dixon says.
He says it's perfect timing for the upcoming calving season.
9:00am: Clevedon School and Hunua School are closed for the day. The Stanley Bay School students and parents who were rescued from Camp Adair are being picked up by bus.
Whenuakite School in the Coromandel is also closed for the day.
8:45am: Whangamata remains cut off with road closures and power cuts in some areas.
8:30am: Schoolkids, parents and staff evacuated from Camp Adair are heading to a community centre opened at Hunua School.
"The Red Cross and Auckland Civil Defence have been deployed to supply dry blankets at the school when the children arrive, and food is being organized," says Auckland Civil Defence's Head of Emergency Operations Aaron Davis.
"We understand that everyone is well and accounted for.
"If your child is attending the camp on a school trip, please contact your school directly for additional information."
Auckland Council is urging morning commuters to take care and be patient on roads.
8:00am: Rural fire officer Paul Shaw managed to drive from Matarangi to Thames, but says the drive wasn't a pleasant one.
"I got through, but anyone needing to drive up and down that I'd just stay well clear; at the moment there's just debris all over the road, all over the place, there's water running across the road all over the place."
He says it's pretty nasty out there. "It's not a very nice drive at all. If you really, really don't have to do it, then don't do it."
But there was a silver lining, he says: "We're not too worried about fires anymore."
7:45am: The intense downpour dumped over a month's worth of rain in parts of Auckland overnight, Weatherwatch.co.nz says.
Despite the heavy rain, it's not stormy and therefore not a weather bomb, the forecaster says.
7:42am: A large part of the Coromandel Peninsula is cut off, after the road was closed between Kopu and Thames.
Power is out in Whangamata, and the Whangamata Area School is closed for the day.
7:30am: Camp Adair has been evacuated. Stanley Bay School's children and parents were moved to a local farm where they are sheltering in a barn. They had to leave their bags behind, students are in good spirits, reports say. The children are in years 5 and 6.
7:20am: Flooding has closed several Coromandel roads and people should avoid all non-essential travel, NZTA says.
- SH25 is closed south of Tairua. There is a detour in place to the north of Whitianga. It will add 1hr 20mins to a journey.
- State Highway 25 is closed north of Whangamata at Opoutere. There is currently now detour available.
- State Highway 25 is closed near Whangamata. The detour is through Whangamata town.
"Our contractors are currently out checking the roads and we are expecting the closures we have so far to be in place for several hours at least," NZTA's Karen Boyt says.
7:10am: About 180 children, parents and staff have been evacuated from the YMCA's Camp Adair at Hunua,
The camp were rescued by a large tractor and trailer unit, the only vehicle Civil Defence could find that could get through the floodwaters.
7:05am: The wild weather is also causing trouble in the South Island. State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura is closed between Peketa and Goose Bay due to risk of rock fall.
7:00am: Thames-Coromandel District Council spokesperson Laurna White says they're still trying to assess the extent of the damage.
"We are asking people to stay off the roads in these areas until we get a better assessment of what it's like when we get some daylight, there are power outages around the Whangamata area."
Hikuai, Pauanui, Tairua, Opoutere and Whangamata are the worst hit areas with all roads closed.
6:30am: Thames-Coromandel District Council says there have been substantial floods in the Coromandel Peninsula.
It said there were reports of floods, fallen trees and power cuts around Hikuai, Tairua and Pauanui, Whangamata.
Civil Defence centres are being set up in the area for the event of possible evacuations.
6am: Civil Defence and Auckland Council are urging drivers not to drive through floodwaters.
"Emergency services will continue to support those directly affected and we should see rain easing in the next few hours and flood waters starting to recede," Auckland Council emergency operations boss Adam Davis says.
"As we head into the morning commute we're asking people to be patient and sensible. Roads are closed due to slips, conditions are messy and slippery, and areas are flooded.
"Attempting to drive through floodwaters can be disastrous for vehicles and requires emergency services to rescue people – we don't want to see any more of this happening.
"Consider delaying travel in these areas until floodwaters have receded," he says.
- Papakura and Clevedon - severe inland flooding closing roads with stormwater mains affected. Fire Service and Auckland Council Stormwater responding with at least one property evacuated with assistance of fire service.
- Kawakawa Bay - 15 houses affected by flooding; slips on Turei Hill are preventing people getting out of Kawakawa Bay. Fire Service is door knocking to ensure residents are ok.
- Beachlands - significant flooding around Beachlands with slips making some roads impassable. Some properties have been affected by flooding. People are attempting to drive through floodwaters and are getting stuck (two vehicles have been rescued so far).
- Maraetai - one house significantly affected by flooding.
- Hunua - Fire Service is also responding to a group of people, including children, isolated at Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges – more information is expected on this shortly.
- Waiheke Island - monitoring calls that have been coming in from residents.
The heavy rain is expected to ease later in the morning, according to the MetService.
Newshub. / NZN