Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island

A cocktail of heavy rain and high tides has swamped roads in the Coromandel and inundated an Auckland beach community.

It comes as the tail of ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola gives one last whack on Aotearoa, delivering high seas, strong winds and heavy rain. 

Thousands of homes at the top of the North Island remain without electricity. Power suppliers' websites show a sea of outages across Northland, Auckland and Waiheke Island.

More than 4000 Northland homes are without power. 

MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane said the "heaviest of the rain is starting to ease", and the agency is shifting its focus to the east coast of the North Island.

These live updates are now over.

5:05pm - State Highway 35 at Tolaga Bay's Rototahi has closed due to flooding.

4:50pm - A warning has been issued for people in the Coromandel Peninsula to drive with care, as bad weather is set to continue through to 9am on Tuesday morning.

In a statement from Waka Kotahi, Waikato journey manager Liam Ryan said surface flooding has closed various parts of State Highway 25 and warned "there could be more to come".

"We're not out of the woods yet, with another 100 to 200mm of rain expected overnight," Ryan warned.

"At various times today, flooding has closed the state highway at Manaia, Hikuai and just north of Whitianga."

He said road users should keep an eye on the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner and described the situation as "changeable".

He said SH2 is under a stop/go traffic management 2km east of Paeroa, ahead of the Karangahake Gorge due to a slip.

Ryan stressed that although work is being done to clear the slip this afternoon, people should expect delays.

"A second stop/go may be required in the Gorge to provide access for trucks and trailers to a stockpile site where the slip material will be temporarily stored," he said.

As a result of flooding, SH25 remains shut at Hikuai however the rest of the state highway is back open. Ryan warned people should expect this to change at any given time.

"If you have to drive, drive with caution as surface water remains in many areas and there may be debris on the road," said Ryan.

He said the Kauaeranga River is an area of concern, and there could be a road closure at high tide tonight around 9pm.

"Please consider whether your trip is necessary and don't go out if you don't have to, especially once it's dark. Those that need to travel should take it slowly and carefully, watch their following distances and expect the unexpected," he said.

Flooding at Manaia, SH25 around midday today.
Flooding at Manaia, SH25 around midday today. Photo credit: Waka Kotahi

4:30pm - Photos have been shared with Newshub showing the extensive damage to parts of the North Island as a result of the wild weather. 

3:58pm - SH25 (Manaia Rd) has now fully reopened and is operating as normal. 

3:57pm - Powerco says flooding is making it unsafe for crews to access areas of Kauaeranga Valley to fix faults. 

"Thankfully the power has so far remained on for most of you through this atrocious weather," Powerco said in an update on its Facebook. 

"As you can see from the pic, flooding is causing big issues for our crews getting up Kauaeranga Valley to fix a few faults up there. 

"Unless the flooding subsides dramatically, it's just too unsafe for our crews to get power restored up this valley today.

"Stay safe out there and thank you to those customers without power because of the storm for your patience and understanding."

3:51pm - Waka Kotahi is warning of delays on SH2 east of Paeroa after a small slip. 

2:57pm - A section of Coromandel highway has reopened after it closed due to flooding. 

SH25 Manaia is now open under traffic management. 

2:49pm – Surface flooding has closed Tapuaeroa Road in Gisborne at the 16km mark, according to the District Council.  

"Please drive safe and to the conditions especially on our rural roads. Be aware of slips and surface flooding," the Council said on Facebook.  

They added in the last 24hrs, 95mm of rain has fallen at Hikuwai River at No.4 bridge, 91.5mm at Ruatoria, 53mm at Tokomaru Bay and 12mm at Stout Street.  

2:41pm – The severe weather watch for the Coromandel area has been extended until 9am on Tuesday with a further 200mm of rain expected.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council is urging residents to stay up to date on all the road closures and water notices.

Click here for more information.


In pictures: What ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola is whipping up at the top of the North Island

Wild waves surge along Gisborne's Tolaga Bay.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Newshub

High tide swamps parts of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, inundating beachfront homes.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Supplied

King tide overtops road at Brophy's Beach north of Whitianga, forces road closure.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Waka Kotahu

Northland's Mangawhai Heads lashed by early morning wild waves.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Harrison's Photography

Remnants of Cyclone Gabrielle remain at Tolaga Bay with slash scattered across the beach.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Newshub

02:08pm - Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz told Newshub it's "pouring outside" as her region prepares for the bulk of the downpour to fall on late Monday afternoon and into Tuesday morning. 

"We will keep a very close eye on river levels and all other conditions." 

She said while the region has cameras monitoring river levels, she's asking residents to be the region's eyes and ears. 

"Let us know if there are any slips or surface flooding that we should be aware of, so we can address it." 

Stoltz said "it's disappointing" after a "very tough year" of severe weather events. 

"I do hope this is the last for 2023, because we do deserve a break. We want and need a dry summer, we need it not only for the community spirit, but we need our ground to dry out." 

The Gisborne Mayor urged locals to be prepared and keep their "eyes and ears open for Civil Defence messages". 

"Please drive to the conditions, look after yourselves and look after each other. We have done this before and we will do it again." 

01:10pm – Several roads across the Thames-Coromandel district are closed due to surface flooding.

Latest closures from the Thames-Coromandel District Council:

  • Hikuai Settlement Rd is closed
  • Maramarahi Rd is closed 300m from the start for the road.
  • Old Maratoto Rd is closed at the ford
  • Victoria St, Thames remains closed
  • Kauaeranga Valley Rd remains closed
  • Tapu-Coroglen Rd remains closed for the ongoing repair work due to the cyclone damage earlier this year. Location is 10km from Tapu.

12:38pm – Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola is still in full swing as heavy rain moves from the north of the country eastwards towards Coromandel, western parts of Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti. 

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris told Newshub the top of North Island has experienced the strongest wind, with the strength of winds dropping below warning criteria. 

While the strong winds are weakening, heavy rain is ramping up along the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty west of Matata, including Rotorua, Tairāwhiti from Tolaga Bay northwards and inland ranges of Hawke's Bay south of State Highway 5 – all of which are under an orange heavy rain warning. 

He said the heavy rain is likely to continue to fall into the early part of Tuesday and then ease off later in the day. 

By Wednesday Ferris said there could be scattered thunderstorms, fielded by warm humid air lingering across the North Island. 

Looking toward the end of the week, there isn't much time for already saturated regions to dry out. Ferris warns a system coming from the Tasman Sea will bring further rain. 

"[We] won't need to see much rain to see the impact of that." 

It's early days though, the system is a messy one and it's not yet clear where it will show up. 

The North Island may be the victim in the weather story so far, but rain could well be on the way for the South Island as the weekend approaches. 

"Generally, a week of changeable weather," Lewis said. 

11:45am – Northland's Mangawhai Heads were lashed by wild waves earlier on Monday morning.

Pictures supplied by Harrison’s Photography show hectic waves swirling the coastline under a thick grey cloud.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Harrison's Photography

10:44am – MetService has updated its severe weather warnings and watches as the "large, deep, complex low-pressure system" moves across the top of the North Island.

MetService's website says fronts and troughs associated with the low are expected to bring heavy rain and severe gales to some northern and eastern areas in the North Island.

Orange heavy rain warning

  • Coromandel Peninsula from 9am Monday to 9am Tuesday
  • Bay of Plenty west of Matata including Rotorua from 9am Monday to 4pm Tuesday
  • Tairawhiti/Gisborne south of Tolaga Bay from 1pm Monday to 5pm Tuesday
  • Inland ranges of Hawke's Bay south of State Highway 5 from 2pm Monday to 5pm Tuesday.

Heavy rain watch

  • Northland from 9am Monday to 8am Tuesday.

10:20am - Parts of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula north of Auckland are inundated from the high tide.

Mt Roskill resident Krissy's brother Simon lives in Matakatia, a suburb situated on the peninsula. Simon is currently without reception, but Krissy told Newshub the king tide hit his beachfront home at about 9:30am.

"The whole neighborhood is swamped in," she said.

Simon video-called Krissy as the water began to make its way into his home. She said the bottom floor of his two-storey home is flooded and "his kayaks were swimming".

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Supplied

Though Krissy said Simon is making the best out of a bad situation, and he's cracked open a bottle of Steinlager beer.

"He's having some beers while he watches it all unfold."

Krissy said her brother is now waiting for the water to subside so he can begin clean up.

10:05am – Waka Kotahi said the impact on state highways is "fairly moderate" in the upper North Island, but surface flooding has closed the road at Brophy's Beach north of Whitianga.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: Newshub

The transport agency said Hikuai is an area of risk with river levels rising.

"The wet and windy weather is expected to ease from around 3pm today."Waka Kotahi is encouraging motorists to "drive to the conditions, slow down" and watch their following distance.

"In addition to flooding response, Waka Kotahi contractors are in the area ready to take action should slips or downed trees eventuate."

9:45am - Thames-Coromandel District Council has closed Victoria St in Thames due to surface flooding at the second ford, 900 metres from the start of the road.

Surface flooding has also forced the closure of Kauaeranga Valley Rd, as well as Tapu-Coroglen Rd.

9:18am – Thames-Coromandel District Council is putting residents in Matatoki, Puriri and Omahu under a 24-to-48-hour water notice.

The council is urging residents to "please conserve water" after heavy rain caused water treatment plants to slow down.

"The water treatment plants have to process at a much slower rate due to the additional sediment in the water, or even be shut off at times to clean filters. If residents can be mindful of their water use at this time, it would be much appreciated," it said on Facebook.

"To support the water supply we have set up a water tanker in Puriri for residents to utilise."

The council has also closed the Thames Centennial Pool until further notice. 

8:50am – The top of the North Island has been drenched with heavy rain over the past 24-hours and MetService says many areas received over 100mm of rain.

The Pinnacles received the most rainfall, with 156mm. Kaikohe came in second with 143mm.

MetService said the heaviest of the rain will shift eastwards throughout Monday, with higher accumulations possible in northern Tairāwhiti-Gisborne.

8:35am – A cruise ship bound for Auckland has been forced to shelter near Rangitoto after the closure of the Ports of Auckland.

The Majestic Princess was due to dock at 4:30am on Monday morning, but according to Marine Traffic has been stopped behind Rangitoto for some time.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: & Getty Images

The ship is coming from the capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago.A person who posted a video of rough seas told Newshub the ship is now in calm waters but waiting for the Port of Auckland to open.

Read the full story here.

8:30am – Thames-Coromandel District Council said the main areas of concern in the region are Brophy’s Beach in Whitianga and the Kauaeranga River in Thames, which could "overtop" when the king tide hits at 8:50am on Monday.

"If this does occur both roads are likely to be clos[ed]," it warned on Facebook.

The council said crews are out assessing the damage caused overnight and added the forecast 140mm of rain overnight and gale force winds gusting to 120km/h "likely kept many awake".

7:30am - MetService's severe weather warnings and watches are in place along the east coast, including Tairāwhiti Gisborne from Tolaga Bay northwards – which is under an orange heavy rain warning from 3am Monday to 9pm Monday.

Tairāwhiti Gisborne south of Tolaga Bay is under a heavy rain watch from 10am Monday to 11pm Monday.

The Kaweka and Ruahine ranges are under a heavy rain watch from 1pm Monday to 3am Tuesday.

 Weather: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola serves up cocktail of heavy rain, high tides on upper North Island
Photo credit: MetService

Coromandel Peninsula's orange heavy rain warning expires at 3pm Monday, while Bay of Plenty north of Tauranga's heavy rain watch expires at 6pm Monday.

7:20am - Newshub's Karen Rutherford is in Whitianga and told AM a king tide is expected to hit about 9am on Monday and wash over local roads.

"[It'll] be a real concern for the low-lying areas, particularly the Brophy's Beach area, we understand the road could well close in that respect."

Rutherford told AM strong winds have been "roaring" through the region overnight, so too has heavy rain – making for a nerve-wrecking time for those near already vulnerable slips.

She said the winds are "full on" and have caused some homes to be without electricity. Rutherford told AM power crews were in position to respond on Sunday night, but the wild weather has made it too dangerous to respond.

The region's Civil Defence controller Garry Towler told Rutherford he's still waiting on the official figures for power outages in the region.

7:00am - Whangarei's Mayor Vince Cocurullo is urging his residents to "please drive carefully" while the "storm is still happening".

"The eye of the storm is still sitting above the top of Cape, and due to the high winds we have some power outages and cell towers down, and some tree branches on roads."

Cocurullo warned of king high tides too at 9:40am on Monday morning and again at 10pm.

Other severe weather warnings and watches are expected to expire from early Monday morning.

Waka Kotahi has reduced its peak hour operating lanes on Auckland Harbour Bridge. In a post on X, it said "due to predicted strong wind gusts" the bridge will be operating with 4 lanes in each direction.

"Expect speed restrictions and delays. Take extra care especially if you are in a lighter or high-sided vehicle."

6:50am - Following a weekend of strong winds and heavy rain, the wild weather is likely to ease but not for long as MetService warns a new system could bring further downpours from the middle of the week.

The tail of ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola is expected to dissipate by Tuesday, giving Kiwis a "bit of break" before a new weather system enters the mix.

Makgabutlane told Newshub a new system will move in from the Tasman Sea and bring some further wet weather with it from the middle of the week.

She warned of more wet weather, especially for the western and northern parts of the North and South Island.

Makgabutland urged Kiwis to keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts as the new system moves in.