Wellington flooding: Evacuation crews on standby as streets submerged, 25 homes cut off by slips

Evacuation crews and search and rescue are on standby on the Kapiti Coast, with landslips and flooding threatening homes.

It comes after the lower North Island was drenched on Monday with an entire month's worth of rain, causing chaos from Waikanae to Wellington.

It was a carpet of mud, trees and water, strewn across hillsides, right beside homes.

"There's a hell of a mess everywhere," one resident said.

"The pressure of the rain and the water behind it has brought all the pine, slash and trees and everything with it. It's come down through one, two, three properties," said local Jim McClay.

More than 100 millimetres of rain fell on the Kapiti Coast on Monday.

This time it was a torrent, leaving 25 homes cut off by slips and emergency crews on high alert.

"Some of the early reports raised some concerns for us about what might've been the consequences up there," said Kapiti District Council emergency controller Paul Busing.

In Paraparaumu, playgrounds became ponds and streets were submerged as the Waikanae River burst its banks.

Those on higher ground were left grateful.

"I've learned to live with nature," one resident said.

Nearby neighbours, not so much.

"They've got their house looking perfect for sale, and out of the blue comes this weather, it must be pretty gutting for them."

At Lower Hutt's riverbank car park, the river and the car park became one.

Cars were towed away before the tide did it for them.

But for property owners, there's nowhere to go.

"Gutted, 'cause it's almost Christmas - so yeah, it sucks," said Capital Gateway Motor Inn's Julia Lamb.

Lamb and her family have run this Wellington motel for 15 years.

She has never seen anything like this in that time, floodwaters filling the basement level.

"I'm worried about what I might've not switched off and whether we're in any danger standing in the water," she said.

Outside, fire crews were pumping water to little avail. It took just an hour for the whole floor to flood, and on Monday afternoon was about 10cm-deep - but the rain kept falling and the water level continued to rise.

It's nearly a month's worth of rain in a day.

"Parts of Wellington and the Kapiti Coast have seen what is a normal amount of rainfall for December fall today," said MetService's Lewis Ferris.

And forecasters warn there's more to come. A waterlogged start to the Kiwi summer and Christmas on hold as the clean-up begins.