Cyclone Gabrielle: Tens of thousands without electricity in Northland, home bursts in flames after power line catches on fire

Tens of thousands of people remain without power in Northland tonight - with Top Energy describing some restoration attempts as "impossible".

Cell phone coverage is limited and many rural communities are cut off, with some supplies running low.

Dargaville woke up underwater on Tuesday.

The township was urged to evacuate their homes as the Awakino River burst its banks. 

"I said to my husband, 'Get up, get up… water is everywhere'," one local told Newshub.

"They had the army and the police all coming from all up Northland," another resident said. 

Dozens of families were forced to seek shelter and evacuation centres expect another influx as high tide approaches at 7pm on Tuesday.

"We're expecting maybe another 40 people to show up here and maybe another 40 or so up at the high school as well," Kaipara District Council spokesperson Hayley Worthington said.

State Highway One, north of Whangārei, is a watery graveyard of vehicles after their owners were forced to flee.

One of the owners returned to attempt to retrieve their belongings but when he arrived, he found his vehicle had been broken into and items were missing.

In Onerahi, trees toppled onto roofs, while in Ruakākā roofs were lifted.

And if the wind, rain and flooding weren't enough, a home on the west coast burst into flames after power lines caught fire.

The damage to Northland's electricity network is labelled "catastrophic" with 44,000 homes without power across the region. 

"Came to town to get some supplies and actually use my phone to get in touch with my partner and little boy. They're up in Kaitaia [and] they've got no power either," resident Max Thompson said.

Sarah Mason lives in rural Whakapara and is about to spend her third night without power or cell phone coverage. 

"We needed supplies. So rush in, while we can, before water levels rise again," Mason said.

But supplies at Hikurangi’s Four Square are running low.

"Just got the call our truck now has been turned back, they can't get up from Auckland… We're just running low on everything." Hikurangi Four Square's Bhagwat-Ashrey Lal said.

Several roads and State Highways in the region have been flooded or closed. Waka Kotahi said communication outages have made it difficult to post updates on where some of them are. 

As far as the eye can see, farmlands are underwater.

Former Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith said he's never seen it this bad

"This is going to take days and days to recover from all of this and immediate emergency sense. But beyond that, it will be weeks and in some cases years for the land to recover," Smith said.

Yet another hurdle to overcome on a list that keeps getting longer.