TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett gives the latest update on severe storm

Rain continues to fall across the North Island tonight and is expected to continue into tomorrow morning, however TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett says "it will be improving."

Wild weather has lashed the North Island today, creating havoc in coastal areas with extensive flooding and causing widespread damage to roads. 

MetService has said this storm is the first significant system to affect the country since mid-September.  

Daniel Corbett says "we’ve still got this low to get through" and there will be a "bit of windy weather for some of us tonight."

"The low continues to deepen and widen and then when it loses its energy it starts to fade," Corbett explains. 

"It is now tracking across the lower North Island.

"Watches and warnings now are shifting transitions across parts of central New Zealand, Wellington, towards parts of Canterbury."

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

Heavy rain is expected with 20-70mm possible and severe gales gusts up to 120km/h for the central North Island and upper South Island overnight and into tomorrow.

A watch is also in place for rain and gales for rest of the North Island and parts of the South Island.

There is a risk of coastal inundation along central coasts at highly king tides this evening. 

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