Weather live updates: Heavy rain, strong wind batters NZ

These live updates have now ended. Click here for the latest on Friday's weather.

Upper parts of the North and South Island are set to bear the brunt of a storm which will bring driving rain and gale-force winds to our shores over the next day.

The severe weather, which is anticipated to cause coastal floods, strikes today - and it'll continue to rip across New Zealand through Friday before petering out completely by Saturday, MetService says.

Northland, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, the Coromandel Peninsula, Mt Taranaki, Marlborough and Nelson will be struck by the storm, with winds as high as 120km/h in some areas and as much as 160mm of rain falling in others.

Refresh the page for the latest updates.

Storm clouds near Palmerston North airport.
Storm clouds near Palmerston North airport. Photo credit: Matt Lee

9:10pm: Power outages in Auckland and further north

There are currently 12 unplanned electricity outages across Auckland and further North, according to Vector. Whether all the outages are weather-related is unknown.

Weather live updates: Heavy rain, strong wind batters NZ
Photo credit: Vector

People have taken to social media to complain of power outages in Snell's Beach and Te Puke.

7:45pm: 'Hurricane force winds' to hit on Friday morning

The west coast of the North Island will be hit by what WeatherWatch describes as "hurricane force winds" on Friday morning.

These winds are wrapped around the continually-deepening low, meaning they have the most potential to do serious damage.

5:49pm: The 'monster storm' as seen from space 

A huge, koru-shaped cloud can be seen from space as it moves over New Zealand.

The 'monster storm' will have similar air pressure to a category 2 or 3 tropical cyclone, according to NIWA.

4:30pm: Holidaymakers not deterred by weather at Mt Maunganui

Lucy Warhurst reports from Mt Maunganui, where holidaymakers are still swimming, surfing and boating despite the wind and rain.

The worst of the weather is still to hit the Bay of Plenty, which will see 100-150mm of rain in the next 12 hours.

3:44pm: Auckland cricket pitch submerged by coastal flood

WeatherWatch's Kyle Aitken has sent through some photos of flooded cricket fields and car parks in Auckland.

The images were taken in the North Shore suburb of Northcote, where the coastal inundation of Little Shoal Bay saw low-lying areas close to the sea submerged.

An electric power transformer reacts to sea water flooding in Little Shoal Bay.
An electric power transformer reacts to sea water flooding in Little Shoal Bay. Photo credit: Keith Aitken / WeatherWatch
Flooding in the local bowling club's carpark.
Flooding in the local bowling club's carpark. Photo credit: Keith Aitken / WeatherWatch

Auckland's western beaches are also anticipated to be hit hard over the next day or so.

3:16pm: Keep up-to-date with weather patterns with our live stream

The storm is causing a bit of chaos up north - but you see it as it happens right now from the comfort of your home.

Watch the live stream at the embedded link below or at our Facebook page.

As you can see, Northland and Auckland are getting hit pretty hard at the moment.

2:24pm: Auckland ferry services scrapped

Those Aucklanders who commute to work via the water may have to consider making alternative plans to get home.

A number of ferry journeys between the city and Gulf Harbour and Half Moon Bay have been cancelled.

Auckland Transport has posted changes to the ferry timetable on its Twitter account, and says it'll post any further cancellations there.

Auckland Civil Defence has also warned locals to take care on wet roads, urging locals to refrain from walking or driving through floodwaters.

2:03pm: Coromandel locals evacuated; warned of slips, flooding

The Coromandel is set to be one of the worst-affected areas in the country amid today's storm.

With severe winds, driving rain and a king tide expected to coincide this afternoon, the Thames-Coromandel District Council has gone about evacuating some along the coast from their homes.

Civil Defence spokesperson Garry Towler says they're concerned about the possibility of flooding, landslips, toppled powerlines and massive surf.

"Combine all those things together and it’s problematic," he said in a Facebook video posted to the council's page.

"What will happen, and what is likely to happen, is that there will be flooding in low spots all around the peninsula."

1:46pm: Floodwaters that closed Whangārei city recede

Floods that closed part of the central city in Whangārei have regressed. 

Heavy rain from the approaching storm and a king tide were behind the inundation, but Mayor Sheryl Mai says things are getting back to normal.

"We had a little bit of surface flooding, so we were encouraging people to avoid Commerce Street," she says.

"However, the tide has definitely receded and the stormwater system is working really well so everything is back under control."

Ms Mai is urging residents to remain cautious while driving, and to take precautions at home.

1:37pm: Bay of Plenty locals told to batten down hatches

Up to 160 millimetres of rain is expected in the Bay of Plenty, while wind gusts up to 120 kilometres are predicted for Auckland and Northland.

Jono Meldrum from Bay of Plenty Emergency Management told Newshub residents should take precautions.

"Often we find that if people take a few active measures to protect themselves, they actually become pretty comfortable to ride out these weather systems," Jono Meldrum from Bay of Plenty Emergency Management said.

1:14pm: Campers evacuate before the storm

On Auckland's West Coast, campers have been told to go home as the bad weather escalates.

Piha campground owner Fiona Anderson doesn't want people's lives put at risk.

"There's been a mass exodus this morning," she told Newshub.

"Of our 250 campers, around 230 or so have left.

"There's the odd stalwart insisting on riding it out in their buses and campervans but we've given them a very strong recommendation that they should go."

Pinnacles Hut in the Coromandel has also been closed, and campers are being told to leave the Kauaeranga Valley.

1pm: First downpours from storm hit Northland

MetService meterologist Ciaran Doolin says Kerikeri is bearing the brunt of the severe weather, with more than 70 millimetres in the last six hours.

"19 millimetres of that has fallen in the last hour, so it shows there's some pretty heavy rain associated with this system," he told Newshub.

In Mangonui, the king tide has already caused minor surface flooding. Local resident Madge Rouse told Newshub the waves had reached the waterfront road.

"You could see where the tide had been up over the tar seal with all the mangrove seeds and seaweed on the verge of the road," she says.

"Further into the township the tide was right up to the top of the wall and by now it's probably gone over the wall with the wind behind it."

Mr Doolin says residents living along the coast from Northland to the Bay of Plenty should be prepared for storm surges, king tides and big swells.

"Those things may combine in some areas and lead to coastal inundation," he says. "People need to be aware of that if they're either in the foreshore or in low lying areas near the ocean."

12:45pm: Sol3 Mio cancel Coromandel concert

Opera group Sol3 Mio have been postponed their show in the Coromandel Peninsula township of Whangamata, citing the severe weather as the rationale for their decision.

Instead of performing on Thursday night, the trio will now be performing at the same time on Friday.

"Civic Events and Sol3 Mio apologise for any inconvenience caused and Pene, Amitai and Moses promise to bring their very best performance giving ticket holders a wonderful evening in Whangamata tomorrow," a statement read.

12:38pm: Gale-force winds to bring ideal surf conditions

The latest MetService update has revealed that surfers will be the big winners as winds batter the country over the next couple of days.

"It's worth bearing in mind that as the low pressure sinks southwards, there's going to be a fair bit of swell - particularly around those northern coasts," meteorologist John Law said.

Waves are looking particularly good on Friday, Mr Law said, especially for the west coast of Northland and Auckland, as well as the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula.

12:15pm: Tamaki Drive reopened after floods

Tamaki Drive, a major central Auckland road starting in the CBD and ending in the outer suburb of St Heliers, was closed after floods made it too dangerous to drive on.

The road was closed for a small period after a king tide hit the coastal road, making driving conditions difficult.

Police have now reopened it but they've issued a warning to motorists to drive to the conditions - especially later this afternoon, when they say weather is "expected to deteriorate".