Rain, wind lash New Zealand
Slips, road closures and dangerous driving conditions have occured throughout the country tonight as gales and heavy rain continues to disrupt travel.
Civil Defence is warning Northland residents to stay indoors tonight as gale-force winds are set to hit the area.
Northland’s Rangiahua bridge on State Highway One at Horeke is closed due to flooding and minor treatment from medical staff was provided to a person stuck in the flood. Detours are in place.
Auckland Civil Defence controller Clive Manly says the rest of Auckland will be affected in the early hours of the morning.
“The rain eased up a bit today but it will be coming back tonight and it’s going to be coming back heavy. We are expecting some slips, debris or powercuts because grounds won’t be as stable.”
Manly urged Aucklanders to drive with caution, watch for debris and only go outside if necessary.
In the Wairarapa tonight, slips have blocked State Highway 2 - the Rimutaka Hill Road - between Wellington and the region.
Contractors have been called out this evening to deal with a slip that is blocking the southbound lane about 1 kilometre from the Rimutaka Hill Road summit, on the Wairarapa side.
The slip is blocking part of State Highway 2, a central district police spokesman said.
Police urged drivers to lengthen following distances in the poor weather conditions.
Flooding on the roads of North Canterbury this morning had never been worse, police said. State Highway 1 remains closed between Amberley and Waikuku, with detours in place.
However, these force motorists through secondary roads which also having minor flooding on them. Diversions could see drivers forced to take a 120km detour through Oxford.
The New Zealand Transport Agency reported flooding across both lanes of SH1 about halfway between Blenheim and Kaikoura.
Tauranga City Council received eight calls about surface flooding and blocked drains. The area had received 16.6mm of rain between 8am and 2pm.
Up to 35mm of rain fell on Auckland between 6am and 2pm today, creating dangerous driving conditions on roads.
The weather also saw crashes and commuter rail problems in Wellington this morning, and traffic delays on all three Auckland motorways.
In Waikato, northeasterly winds blew a gazebo on to a roof and the Te Aroha Volunteer Fire Brigade found it wrapped around a sky dish this morning, the Fire Service said. In Thames, Coromandel, power lines were arcing.
Those winds are expected to continue to strengthen into gales this evening for northern parts of the country, MetService said.
There was a slip on Takaka Hill near Nelson after the area received more than 100mm in the past day. Gales of up to 120kmh were also forecast.
In addition to the North Canterbury flooding, sewage was bubbling up in areas.
Kaiapoi resident Grant Edmonds said streets in the south-western part of the town had flooded for the fourth time this year.
The flooding was only a few centimetres away from entering a shed on his Otaki St property and sewage had bubbled up in places on some nearby streets.
In Rangiora a rest home was evacuated after being flooded by heavy rain and firefighters had to rescue a driver in North Canterbury this morning after he ignored road closure signs on SH1.
Fire Service southern communications shift manager Brent Dunn said the male driver was rescued about 10.40am.
"He was fine, it was just that he'd got his car stuck," Dunn said.
The Fire Service had received about 20 calls for help with flooded properties this morning, mostly in Rangiora, Kaiapoi and Woodend.
The flood-ravaged Flockton Basin appeared to have been spared any widespread flooding, but four schools in the region were also closed today. They were: Clarkville Primary School, Ashley School, Sefton School and Rangiora High School.
MORE RAIN AND WIND TO COME
Severe weather warnings remain in place for heavy rain over northern and eastern parts of both islands for the next few days and gales would lash northern New Zealand tonight, MetService said.
"What makes the situation unique is it's very, very slow-moving, rather than short-term intensity," severe weather forecaster Leigh Matheson said. "It's prolonged rain that's going to gradually create trouble."
There should be some respite for Canterbury tonight and into tomorrow, with much less rain predicted to fall than today, MetService said.
The low was forecast to bring northeasterly gales to Northland, Auckland and Coromandel tonight and more rain.
"They're likely to see as much if not more rain than what they've already had," Matheson said.
Lines company Vector said strong winds in Auckland could bring down trees onto lines tonight, possibly causing outages.
Areas such as Whangapararoa, Warkworth, Orewa and Waiheke were most likely to have issues.
The wild weather was expected to continue throughout the week for large parts of the country, she said.
"Areas that are already wet are in for a good 24 to 30 hours of more rain.
"The rain band continues around western Bay of Plenty into Wednesday and pushes into eastern parts of the North Island where that will bring some prolonged rain there for later in the week, before it all clears away Friday and Saturday."