NZ weather: Flooding across the country, evacuations in North Island amid heavy rain and thunderstorms

Flooding and rising river levels continued to cause disruption across the country on Tuesday as heavy rain and thunderstorms moved south.  

Precautionary evacuations took place in the Bay of Plenty as heavy downpours hit the region, with Civil Defence on Tuesday morning asking Western Rd residents to leave their homes due to the risk of the Ngongotahā stream rising. 

However, as of 3pm, the stream levels had started dropping, Rotorua Lakes Council said.

The council advised Western Rd residents and other self-evacuated residents could return home but urged people to "remain alert".

Flooding occurred in many parts of the country on Tuesday, with some roads in Christchurch's New Brighton earlier under water after Auckland and parts of Waikato were inundated overnight.

Some Christchurch roads were earlier underwater as the city was lashed with heavy rain.
Some Christchurch roads were earlier underwater as the city was lashed with heavy rain. Photo credit: Celeste Donovan

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) at 3pm announced the closure of State Highway 2 at Hawke's Bay's Nūhaka due to flooding in the araa.

"Heavy and persistent rainfall in the area has meant that the state highway has closed 2 kilometres south of the township," it said.

"It will remain closed until further notice.

"Please avoid the area if possible and if travelling on other parts of the network, expect delays."

NZTA on Tuesday morning also closed SH35 between Te Puia township and Tolaga Bay due to surface flooding, but the road reopened at about 12:15pm.

The agency was continuing to advise road users to "avoid travel if possible and drive to the conditions on the state highway network around" the East Coast.

"Crews are regularly assessing other parts of the network for any signs of flooding or safety risks," NZTA system manager Martin Colditz said.  

Forecasters were warning of further rainfall hitting New Zealand on Wednesday.

"In the eastern North Island, it could continue into Thursday. New areas of surface flooding may develop, so take care out there," NIWA said.

"When all is said and done, parts of the eastern North Island will have likely received more than a month's worth of rainfall."

MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for Hawke's Bay south of SH5 until at least 6am on Thursday and the Tararua District and Wairarapa until 3pm on Wednesday.   

Meanwhile, a strong wind watch was in place for north Taranaki from 8pm on Tuesday until midday on Wednesday, and for Wellington and Horowhenua/Kāpiti Coast from 6pm on Tuesday to at least 12pm the following day.

Flooding in Auckland's suburb of St Heliers overnight.
Flooding in Auckland's suburb of St Heliers overnight. Photo credit: Supplied / Matthew Davison

Between 11pm and the early hours of Tuesday, Fire and Emergency (FENZ) crews were called to 67 weather-related jobs across Auckland.

Suburbs that faced the brunt of the rain included St Heliers, Kohimarama, Mt Wellington and parts of south Auckland.

Most of the emergency callouts were for leaky roofs and flooding.

From 1am, there were another 19 flooding-related calls across the northern region, a FENZ spokesperson said.

Emergency services also responded to 28 alarm activations in commercial buildings, which were set off as a result of the weather.