Campers leave in droves as storm closes in on Northland: ‘Hardly anyone is left’

Holidaymakers are fleeing a Northland campsite in droves to escape an oncoming tropical storm, expected to hit the North Island on Wednesday.

Whangaruru Beachfront Camp and Motel owner Robynne Cooper said “hardly anyone is left” at the campsite after strong winds and rain pummelled tents overnight.

The campsite has space for 100 families.

“On Monday it was 100% full. At the moment we’ve got 18 campervans and tents left,” she said.

* Hardy holidaymakers ‘happy to just hunker down’ as rain rolls in
* Heavy rain, gales to pummel Northland overnight, before moving south

Heavy rain is expected to hit the top of the north on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, MetService upgraded a heavy rain alert for Northland from a watch to a warning.

Many other regions have rain and wind watches in place.

Cooper said the weather was going to take a toll on campsites all across Northland.

A heavy rain warning has been issued for Northland on Wednesday. (File photo)

Kent Blechynden/Stuff

A heavy rain warning has been issued for Northland on Wednesday. (File photo)

“We’re always 100% full until after Waitangi weekend. It’s never empty like this.

“All the camps reply on the peak season to get us through the year, so this is going to be really tough for our business,” she said.

On Tuesday, the Summer Haze concert was cancelled due to the weather forecast.

The one-day festival, set to take place in Matakana on Wednesday, was put on hold due to heath and safety concerns.

Summer Haze said it would announce information about ticket refunding shortly.

Civil Defence Northland warned holidaymakers that the rain could cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly as well as surface flooding and slips, which may impact driving conditions and lead to road closures.

“The strong winds may also add to these potential hazards, as strong wind gusts can damage trees, powerlines, unsecured structures, and temporary structures such as tents,” a Facebook post said.

Boaties were warned a heavy swell was expected along eastern coastlines from Northland to Coromandel Peninsula.

The heavy rain warning is in place for Northland until 7am on Thursday with between 110 and 160mm of rain expected to fall.

Between 7am and 9am Wednesday, 5.1mm of rain is expected to fall in the top of the North Island.

A heavy rain watch, a downgraded threat level from a heavy rain warning, is also in place until Auckland and Coromandel.

In Auckland, the warning is in place until 9am on Thursday and in Coromandel it’s in place until 9pm on Thursday.

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