Possibility of heavy rain may dampen clean-up efforts across western Bay of Plenty and southern Coromandel

The possibility of brief heavy rain will dampen clean up efforts about coastal areas of western Bay of Plenty and across the southern Coromandel Peninsula this afternoon. 

The deep low which has caused havoc across much of the North Island over the past two days, bringing heavy rain and gusty gales, is slowly moving southwards. 

MetService says strong gales are anticipated to batter the lower North Island and Marlborough through to this afternoon.

The weather service has warned that the combination of strong winds and hide tides may cause flooding, especially along Wellington’s south coast and harbour.

Torrential rain and gales have lashed the North Island for much of the day. Source: 1 NEWS

Delays and cancellations were expected for the Interislander ferry service today as bad weather batters the region. Source: 1 NEWS

All Wellington ferry services in the capital have been cancelled as residents around the coast prepare for potential flooding as the huge storm makes its way down the country.

MetService says strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. They’re warning that driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

Heavy rain fell overnight at the Tongariro National Park, as well as in Kaikoura and neighbouring areas.

Emergency services were kept busy with call-outs to downed powerlines and trees.

There were no further reports of flooding and slips overnight in the Coromandel and Thames. 

The big clean up begins

A mammoth effort will be undertaken today to clean up flood affected areas and move debris for the upper North Island after Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Auckland after taking the biggest hit from the storm. 

As the weather conditions ease the number of faults across the network is coming down.

Across the Auckland network there are 11 storm-related faults ranging from feeder outages supplying suburbs to single houses. This number is down from a peak of 18 overnight.

Close to 2400 PowerCo customers remain without power this afternoon, mainly across the Coromandel. 

At least 500 people were affected by severe flooding in and around Kaiaua, a town along the Firth of Thames Coast, floating caravans and inundating houses.

The Hauraki District Council said in an update that there were no additional issues in Kaiaua overnight. 

Civil Defence and council building teams will be in the area today doing a rapid assessment of affected homes in terms of public health and safety.

A community briefing will also be held at 2pm today at the Kaiaua Bowling Club, Lipscombe Rd.

Hauraki Plains Civil Defence is on high alert amid concerns for about 500 coastal homes between Waitakaruru and Kaiau. Source: 1 NEWS

Footage taken by the Auckland Rescue Helicopter shows waves crashing onto the shore adding to flooding that has caused residents to flee their properties.

"King tide, low pressure and strong nor easterly wind, a combination of those things, ended up pushing the sea level up and ended up flooding a lot of low lying areas including some houses and farmlands and throwing a lot debris on to our roads," Hauraki District Council Community Service Management's Steve Fabrish told 1 NEWS. 

Local Civil Defence asked for people who need to evacuate to go to the Fire Station, or be with friends and family on higher ground.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council says the New Zealand Defence Force and Red Cross will be doing community outreach today where people have been badly affected by the weather.

Houses along Harbour Dr, Otumoetai, have been flooded by extreme sea conditions along the Tauranga coast. Source: 1 NEWS

Beachfront properties in Tauranga were also affected by a king tide, flooding a number of coastal areas in the district along with several East Auckland areas including Maratei and Bucklands Beach. 

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence advised people in low-lying coastal areas to get ready for high winds and another king tide last night at 11pm, with the risk of potential large swells broaching that had the potential to cause flooding.

Auckland Airport was forced to cancel domestic flights to Great Barrier Island, Whakatane and Tauranga as the smaller aircrafts used to fly to these destinations were unable to deal with the high winds.

Flights to Wellington, Gisborne and Blenheim were also been delayed due to the weather.

The fatality occurred on Arawa St during severe weather. Source: 1 NEWS

In Rotorua, a woman died after a tree fell on her car. Police believe the woman was driving in severe weather at the time on Arawa Street. The incident will be referred to the coroner. 

Roads remain closed around the country

Several roads remain closed around the North Island due to several slips and rock falls caused by wild weather. 

The Thames Coromandel District Council said "All our local Council roads are open, with Colville Rd open to one and expected to be open to two lanes later today."

"Our roading contractors are out this morning checking everything and will keep us informed.

"NZ Transport Agency has advised us that the Thames Coast Road (SH25) is now passable from Te Puru north, but remains closed between Te Puru and Tararu. There is severe damage to the road at Whakatete Bay.

"If you are trying to leave Coromandel the way out is through Whitianga to Tairua, traffic delays are expected." 

State Highway One from Goose Bay to Peketa and from Mangamaunu to Clarence is closed due to adverse weather conditions. 

NZTA has issued a hazard for State Highway 31 in Kawhia due to rocks on the road at Puti Bluff. Traffic management is currently in place and the transport agency is advising motorists to avoid the area.