Wet, wet, wet but worst weather over

05:45, Jan 24 2011
Flooding on Auckland's North-Western Motorway.
DAMP DRIVE: Flooding on Auckland's North-Western Motorway.
The scene from Hampton Downs in the Waikato where the bad weather has led to the NZ Festival of Motor Racing being abandoned for the day.
BLACK FLAG: The scene from Hampton Downs in the Waikato where the bad weather has led to the NZ Festival of Motor Racing being abandoned for the day.
Amy's Kitchen restaurant in Howick is still open but customers should wear gumboots.
STILL OPEN: Amy's Kitchen restaurant in Howick is still open but customers should wear gumboots.
Amy's Kitchen restaurant in Howick is still open but customers should wear gumboots.
STILL OPEN: Amy's Kitchen restaurant in Howick is still open but customers should wear gumboots.
Flooding on Auckland's North-Western Motorway.
DAMP DRIVE: Flooding on Auckland's North-Western Motorway.
Flooding at Buckland's Beach in Auckland.
BEACHED: Flooding at Buckland's Beach in Auckland.
A view along Auckland's Tamaki Drive.
STORMY: A view along Auckland's Tamaki Drive.
A view along Auckland's Tamaki Drive.
STORMY: A view along Auckland's Tamaki Drive.
A view along Auckland's Tamaki Drive.
STORMY: A view along Auckland's Tamaki Drive.
Auckland's Kohimarama Road is submerged as it nears Tamaki Drive.
TOO MUCH WATER: Auckland's Kohimarama Road is submerged as it nears Tamaki Drive.
A motorist drives through water along Kohimarama Road in Auckland.
TOO MUCH WATER: A motorist drives through water along Kohimarama Road in Auckland.
Cyclists struggle through floodwaters in Auckland.
WATER FUN: Cyclists struggle through floodwaters in Auckland.
Motorists crawl along a flood Tamaki Drive in Auckland.
SURFACE FLOODING: Motorists crawl along a flood Tamaki Drive in Auckland.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island on Auckland's North Shore have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
INUNDATED: Waterfront homes at Herald Island in West Auckland have been hit by the floodwaters.
Southbound lanes are flooded on Auckland's motorway on the North Shore.
SLOW GOING: Southbound lanes are flooded on Auckland's motorway on the North Shore.
Surface flooding in Portland Road in Remuera.
BOATS ONLY: Surface flooding in Portland Road in Remuera.
Surface flooding in Portland Road in Remuera.
WET WALK: Surface flooding in Portland Road in Remuera.
Little Shoal Bay in Birkenhead.
BIG POND: Little Shoal Bay in Birkenhead.
The end of Kawerau Road with the Auckland Harbour Bridge in the background.
BRIDGING: The end of Kawerau Road with the Auckland Harbour Bridge in the background.
The New Zealand Navy's Nuclear Biological and Chemical Damage Control School on the Ngataringa Bay reclamation.
SURROUNDED: The New Zealand Navy's Nuclear Biological and Chemical Damage Control School on the Ngataringa Bay reclamation.
Bay of Plenty flooding
WILD WEATHER: Matipo Place in Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty.
Flooded North western motorway
Heading into Auckland on Northwestern motorway this morning.
Grounded boat
GROUNDED: A boat has run aground at Okahu Bay.
Tamaki Drive
WET RIDE: A car has trouble on Tamaki Drive in Kohimarama, Auckland this morning
Milford Beach
BEACH DOOR: The ocean tries to make its way through the beach door of a house on Muritai Road on Milford Beach.
Mairangi Beach
CANCELLED: Gerard Russell took his daughter down for Surf lifesaving Club today but it was cancelled, ironically due to the surf.
River Road
TREACHEROUS: This road near Whitianga looked more like a river.
yacht
BEACHED AS: A yacht runs aground in Okahu Bay.
tide
CURNING WATER: High tide hits Long Bay on Auckland's North Shore.
flood
TIME TO PACK UP: A tent is overrun by floodwater in the Taupo Top Ten holiday park.
ivor
SUMMER HOLIDAY: A tent is overrun by floodwater in the Taupo Top Ten holiday park.
water
RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT: Flooding at Port Jackson in the Coromandel.
Janice Booth Taupo
READER PHOTO: Children making the most of the downpour in Taupo.
Janice Booth Taupo
READER PHOTO: Taupo underwater.
DAMAGE CONTROL: Glendowie Boat Club lost one of its eastern ramps during Sunday's high tide and strong NE winds. About 20 club members braved the conditions to demolish what remained of the ramp in order to protect the club as much as possible from further damage.
DAMAGE CONTROL: Glendowie Boat Club lost one of its eastern ramps during Sunday's high tide and strong NE winds. About 20 club members braved the conditions to demolish what remained of the ramp in order to protect the club as much as possible from further damage.
WAIAU RIVER: Its banks have been well and truly breached.
WAIAU RIVER: Its banks have been well and truly breached.
READER PHOTO: This picture taken Monday morning, 20km inland of Wairoa, south of Gisborne.
READER PHOTO: This picture taken Monday morning, 20km inland of Wairoa, south of Gisborne.
Andy Mackay
READER PHOTO: The Waiau River, 20km inland of Wairoa, south of Gisborne.
WET WALLS: Waves washing against apartments along Pt Chevalier Beach in Auckland.
WET WALLS: Waves washing against apartments along Pt Chevalier Beach in Auckland.
TAURANGA WET: This was the result of a combination flood & high tide.
TAURANGA WET: This was the result of a combination flood & high tide.
East & Bays flood pics
ANTICIPATION: A pair of girls watch the waves on Tamaki Drive in Auckland.
East & Bays flood pics
BIG SPLASH: A wave crashes over a pair of girls on Tamaki Drive in Auckland.
East & Bays flood pics
BIG SPLASH: A wave crashes over a pair of girls on Tamaki Drive in Auckland.
East & Bays flood pics
BIG SPLASH: A wave crashes over a pair of girls on Tamaki Drive in Auckland.
This boat mooring at the Milford Marina on the North Shore could not withstand the storm.
SUNKEN: This boat mooring at the Milford Marina on the North Shore became upended in the storm. The other boats are normally floating underneath the wooden walkways, not restrained on top of the submerged structures.
MURRAYS BAY BEACH: The beach in the small hours this morning after the storm had passed.
MURRAYS BAY: The beach in the small hours this morning after the storm had passed.
Maddie Cottie Tamaki Drive, Kohimarama
READER PHOTO: This picture was taken along Tamaki Drive in Kohimarama.
Westhaven Marina pic
OVER-FLOW: A photo sent in by a reader of Westhaven Marina on the evening of January 23.
Stratford flooding
PICTURE ONE OF THREE: On this farm 25km inland from Stratford, rain started Saturday night and remained heavy until Monday morning.
Stratford flooding
PICTURE TWO OF THREE: On this farm 25km inland from Stratford, rain started Saturday night and remained heavy until Monday morning. This picture taken Sunday.
Stratford flooding
PICTURE THREE OF THREE: On this farm 25km inland from Stratford, rain started Saturday night and remained heavy until Monday morning. This picture taken Monday.
Desert Road flooding
READER PHOTO: Surface flooding is visible on the Desert Road in this picture taken Sunday.

Sunnier, drier and calmer weather is set to return to both islands over the next few days after heavy rain and strong winds wreaked havoc across the North Island yesterday.

In the North Island, lower humidity coupled with light winds should make for pleasant outdoor weather while in the South Island it would be a return to heat that would make many smile, as an anticyclone was set to bring fine weather throughout the country, WeatherWatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan said today.

Yesterday, some parts of the South Island's east coast shivered under miserable conditions, including Kaikoura which recorded just 12degC at one point during the afternoon. Wellington also had cold winds and rain.

"But in true South Island-style warm winds will move back in tomorrow, lifting the highs into the mid to late 20s for most of the island, with some inland areas hitting the 30s again," Mr Duncan said.

"The storm responsible for the weekend's flooding is now moving away from New Zealand to the east and with it goes the wind and rain."

Gale force south westerlies affected Auckland at times today but those strong winds would quickly ease tonight with sunny spells increasing into the afternoon, Mr Duncan said.

However, many roads remained closed this morning in the top of the North Island.

Between 100-300mm of rain fell in the space of 24 hours and the Fire Service was called to 184 weather-related incidents in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.

Of those, 101 callouts were in the Auckland area.

The areas worst-affected by flooding in Auckland were the lower central business district and eastern suburbs, Maraetai, Leigh, parts of State Highway 16, SH1, Tamaki Drive and Herald Island, where 30 homes were flooded.

But the waters had receded by this morning and a major cleanup was under way.

Waikato Civil Defence duty officer Greg Ryan yesterday said there was a risk of rivers flooding in Coromandel, Hauraki Plains and Taupo over the next three days.

About 300 people were evacuated from a Taupo campground yesterday morning.

Eastern Bay of Plenty rivers reached warning levels over the weekend but had now begun to recede, Bay of Plenty Regional Council community relations manager Bronwyn Campbell said.

Several roads in the area remain closed today due to surface water and river flooding.
Drivers were being warned to take care in the hazardous conditions with slips, surface flooding and high winds blasting the North Island.

Police said that the Desert Road between Waiouru and Turangi and the Manawatu Gorge, near Palmerston North, were closed this morning.

Motorists should also take extra care on State Highway 2 between Napier and Wairoa, SH3 from Wanganui to Taranaki, SH4 from Wanganui to Raetihi and SH5 from Napier to Taupo due to minor slips and surface water on roads.

WeatherWatch.co.nz said Tropical Cyclone Wilma would reach New Zealand this weekend bringing more wind and rain to northern and north eastern New Zealand.

FLOODING FORCES EVACUATIONS

Yesterday huge waves lashed the Auckland coast. Rising waters forced homes and campgrounds to be evacuated, roads to be closed and events cancelled.

Tamaki Drive
WALL OF WATER: Waves crashing across Tamaki Drive, in the Auckland suburb of Kohimarama, make it look more like a beach than a road.

In Rotorua, there had been some minor wastewater overflows but sewer flows were under control and being closely monitored, Rotorua District Council utilities operations manager Eric Cawte said.

In Taupo, a Wellington father, 45, and daughter, 10, were plucked to safety from a rock in the Kuratau River, after waiting for nearly three hours in the cold. The pair became stranded on a rock in the fast-flowing white water on Friday night. They were winched off the rock by Taupo's Youthtown rescue helicopter.

More than 30 houses on Herald Island, off the northern edge of the Whenuapai air base in Auckland, had to be evacuated after flooding.

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Henderson resident Gerard Haagh was among drivers who tackled the swamped, debris-covered Northwestern Motorway before it was partly closed yesterday afternoon.

"I've never seen it flood that badly before and I've lived here before the motorway was built."

Okahu Bay resident Anne Clere saw a "mindboggling" wave crash over the seawall along Tamaki Drive, knocking a man to the ground. "This poor man was trying to walk along the waterfront and the next minute was sitting on the footpath with the wave washing over him."

The bad weather forced the cancellation of aerobatics at the second day of the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow, and of the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup downhill event in Rotorua.

About 300 people staying at the low-lying Spa Park campground in Taupo for a jousting tournament were told to leave, as mud threatened to trap campers' cars, Waikato Civil Defence spokesman Phil Parker said.

But there was one bright spot – Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty president John Scrimgeour said although it had created a few problems for farmers in low-lying areas, the rain was welcome.

"Most farmers are thrilled to have a good soak at this time of the year ... it's been generally very welcome, to set people up into the summer."

- NZPA with Imogen Neale, Michelle Duff and Michael Field

Watch YouTube footage of the flooding below: