Waitangi weekend weather: Heavy rain warnings for North Island regions including Auckland

Heavy rain is set to batter most of the North Island, including Auckland, as holidaymakers return from a long weekend away.

Fire and Emergency NZ have been kept busy overnight; with 27 weather-related call-outs in the Auckland, Waikato and Northland regions.

All the incidents were related to trees coming down or flooding.

However, they were all considered to be minor incidents and there were no reports of injuries or evacuations, a northern fire communications spokesman said.

A total of 10 incidents were reported around Auckland; 13 in Waikato and four in Northland.

Fire crews were also called to reports of a tree falling and blocking a road in the Bay of Plenty about 6.15am.

Firefighters used a chainsaw to cut the tree and remove it from the road, FENZ said.

Last night, MetService issued a number of new heavy rain watches and orange warnings for the North Island.

Auckland MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for Auckland through to at least midday on Monday. The region has been experiencing wet, humid conditions.

Meanwhile, heavy rain watches have also been issued for Bay of Plenty, Great Barrier Island, Hawke’s Bay and Rotorua.

Earlier on Sunday, heavy rain battered the Taranaki region on Waitangi Day, with one weather station recording a month’s worth of rain in just four hours.

The rainfall, which followed flooding on the South Island’s West Coast earlier in the week, has closed roads, downed trees and caused slips.

MetService issued a “red” weather warning in place for the region, and on Sunday afternoon reported 138mm of rain had been recorded at Cape Egmont between 6am and 10am.

“This is truly exceptional rainfall for a station at sea level,” MetService said on Twitter.

“For some perspective, this is the same amount of rainfall that New Plymouth would experience in a typical July across the entire month.”

Rain around the coast and in South Taranaki was subsiding but flooding was still present at about 5pm, Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management said in a Facebook update.

Just after 10pm it was announced that SH1 Marton, between Wings Line and Calico Line, was closed because of flooding.

Detours were in place.

State Highway 45 between Pungarehu and Warea is closed at the intersection with Newall Road because of flooding.

Saddle Rd, northeast of Palmerston North, between Ashhurst and Woodville, is closed overnight, following slips earlier on Sunday.

Motorists are asked to avoid travel, or take a different route such as the Pahiatua Track.

Many roads in the region are blocked or disrupted with slips, debris and surface flooding and the South Taranaki District Council is urging the public to avoid driving if possible, and take extreme care if travelling.

Footage filmed by residents in Rahotu, 50km south of New Plymouth, showed fast-moving water racing down a flooded street.

One resident said the town hall had flooded and sewage and fuel could be smelt in the streets.

Taranaki Civil Defence said that while MetService’s weather warning was being lifted at 2pm, heavy rain was continuing this afternoon.

It said State Highway 45 between Okato and Opunake remained closed, and a detour was in place. Motorists were advised only to travel if necessary, and not to drive through floodwaters.

Civil Defence also said it had received reports of slips on SH3 at Mount Messenger and south of Hawera, though these roads remained open.

Rivers were flowing at high levels and people in the region were warned to keep away.

There are also heavy rain warnings in place for the Hawke’s Bay north of Napier and Gisborne, and the Tararua Ranges.

More rain is expected this week particularly in the flood-hit West Coast of the South Island. MetService is forecasting another active front bringing rain to Westland, Buller, Tasman west of Motueka and the Nelson Lakes late Wednesday and Thursday.

People are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and advisories.

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