Wet wild weather leaves widespread flooding in Auckland, Waikato
Heavy rain is closing roads in Waikato after a storm lashing New Zealand left widespread flooding in Auckland.
Downpours have been hammering the North Island, the top of the South and the West Coast.
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Auckland motorists were advised to delay their travel or expect long delays after surface flooding across the city.
"No matter whether you're coming in and out of Auckland, you're going to be under the hammer," Northern Police Communications shift inspector Shawn Rutene said on Tuesday morning.
State Highway 2 in Waikato's Karangahake Gorge, reduced to one lane, will be closed this afternoon due to rising flood levels.
Police are advising motorists to travel with care around the slip at the Paeroa end of the gorge.
River levels have risen to within a metre of the highway surface in sections of the road.
The river is fast flowing as heavy rain continues.
Temporary flood protection structures may also be put in place on the Criterion Bridge at Paeroa, which will prevent traffic from Hamilton entering Paeroa's town centre.
The Waikato Regional Council is also liaising with Mighty River Power to help minimise flooding.
River levels are currently elevated and are expected to rise further.
In Thames Old Maratoto Rd, Wires Rd, Kauaeranga Valley Rd and Otamakite Rd are all closed due to flooding, while on the Thames coast Victoria St number 2 ford and Waiomu Valley Rd are both closed due to weather.
Thames-Coromandel District Council is reporting flooding across the Hikuai Settlement Road and slips along parts of the Kopu-Hikuai road.
In Whangamata, Wentworth Valley Rd is closed due to surface flooding.
On the other side of the Waikato region, SH23 from Hamilton to Raglan is closed due to flooding.
Easterly gales could become severe across the region as well as further south in Waitomo and Taumarunui.
Residents in the Coromandel peninsula are being urged to keep a careful watch on the weather with reports of roads being flooded.
A section of State Highway 25 at Duck Creek south of Pauanui has closed due to flooding on the road surface.
Rain in the Kaimai Ranges and western Bay of Plenty is still at warning levels but is expected to ease in the afternoon.
Hikuai School has decided to close due to heavy rain and flooding in the area.
AUCKLAND FLOODING DISRUPTS TRAVEL
Flooding in Auckland had briefly closed Tamaki Dr between Ngapipi Rd and the Strand.
Up to 30 properties across Auckland had been affected by some flooding due to blocked rain gutters and drains not being properly cleared.
The Fire Service has rescued a woman whose car got stuck in flooding on the corner of Beechcroft Ave and Queenstown Ave Onehunga. She was unharmed.
All ferry services have been cancelled and replaced with buses.
The rain has brought reports of serious flooding on State Highway 1 in Northland.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is warning drivers to take care after being advised of flooding between Brynderwyn and Otaika, south of Whangarei.
SEVERE WEATHER WARNING
A new severe weather warning issued on Tuesday morning has added detail to earlier predictions.
Heavy rain in the Kaimai Ranges and western Bay of Plenty is still at warning level but is expected to ease in the afternoon. Between 60-90mm of rain is expected between 9am and 3pm.
Rain in the Waikato also remains at high levels, but is expected to easy up by noon. Accumulations of between 30-50mm is expected between 9am and 1pm.
Nelson west of Motueka can still expect severe rain and wind, with up to 100mm of rain still expected before 4pm.
Severe southeasterly and easterly gales of up to 130kmh in exposed places are forecast to ease in the early afternoon.
Further south, severe easterly and southeasterly gales at speeds of up to 140kmh are expected in Buller and Westland north of the glaciers. These are expected to ease in the early afternoon.
In the South Island, the Nelson region experienced strong gusts overnight, with wind up to 111km per hour, MetService meteorologist Tom Adams says.
Gusts are expected to reach 130kmh this morning with the worst areas affected being west of Motueka and around Farewell Spit.
"Those winds gusts are pretty strong. they can be pretty damaging," he said.
Heavy rain is also expected to continue throughout the day. Adams said the Takaka Hill received the worst of the wet weather overnight with 21mm falling in the area.
Snow and severe windstorms are expected to lash western parts of the South Island and the main divide.
Severe wind gusts, with the potential to reach 140kmh, are forecast for the West Coast, putting the region's Civil Defence emergency team on standby.
Ten Christchurch firefighters have taken two fire engines and a Fire Service communications vehicle to the West Coast as they prepare for what is expected to be a major weather event.
Buller and North Westland have been between two weather systems moving over the South Island overnight Monday, creating the potential for severe gales and damaging gusts.
The gusts could be even stronger in western areas north of Westport.
The West Coast Regional Council says the strongest winds are expected west of Motueka, Buller, and northern Westland and were not expected to ease until Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre, snow is falling on South Island Alpine passes but all roads remain open. It recommends carrying chains on all passes as conditions can change quickly.
Snow is expected on the Lewis, Arthur's, Porters Lindis and Milford Road passes on Tuesday, according to MetService.
A Fire Service spokesman said there yet to be any reports of damage on the West Coast.
- PAUL EASTON, HENRY COOKE, MYLES HUME AND AARON LEAMAN