The Coromandel is expected to be the epicentre of the North Island’s bad weather on Thursday, with more heavy rain forecast to batter the area.
A heavy rain warning is in place until 11pm as a subtropical storm sweeps through.
People have been warned to either head home or be prepared to shelter in place until Sunday.
In Auckland, MetService had recorded 12.6mm of rain by 7.30am and had forecast a total of 62mm to fall throughout the day.
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However, by 11am only 13.8mm had fallen and 31.4mm was projected to fall for the day.
A number of ferry sailings around Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour have been delayed or replaced by taxis due to the weather conditions, according to Auckland Transport.
MetService has also reduced the heavy rain warning down to a heavy rain watch covering the 24 hours between 9am Thursday and Friday.
A strong wind watch was also in place for the region between 9am to 6pm on Thursday.
Parts of Auckland have also lost power, according to Vector.
They include Titirangi, Henderson, Piha, Whakaruro Bay and rural north Auckland near the border with Northland.
“In addition to the 50 to 70mm that have already accumulated expect a further 140 to 180mm [of rain],” MetService said in its warning for the Coromandel Peninsula.
MetService’s Curtis Hayes said Auckland had become the dividing line between the epicentre of the heavy rain in the Coromandel and isolated showers in Northland.
Hayes said most of the rain forecast would hit the east of the city.
“The system has shifted a little bit further west than our model shows … but it looks like Auckland is being spared.”
Hayes said the forecast of 62mm might be on the high side. However, if 62mm did fall for Auckland it would be double what central parts of the city saw on Wednesday and it would likely bring slips and surface flooding.
There had been a strong wind warning in effect overnight until 5am for Auckland, including Great Barrier Island. A heavy rain watch was also in place through till 9am.
On the east coast of the North Island, a heavy rain warning was in effect for Bay of Plenty west of Matata, through till 9am Friday.
“Expect 140 to 200 mm of rain to accumulate. Peak rates of 10 to 20 mm/h expected,” MetService said.
“Note that this warning may be extended since further bursts of heavy rain are possible during the remainder of Friday and into Saturday.”
Heavy rain warnings were also in effect in the South Island, for Tasman northwest of Motueka until 11am Friday and the ranges of Westland south of Otira until 4am Friday.
Hayes said the rain was set to continue into the weekend and a cold front would move its way up the country from the south over the next couple of days.
The nice weather over Christmas was to blame, he said, with high pressure system sitting off to the east of the country and not moving, preventing the bad weather from moving off.
Plumber John Ward cleared rocks that were blocking Hunua Rd after a small slip from a bank blocked both lanes on the rural Auckland road.
Ward had a spade in the back of his Taps and Toilets ute that he used to move away the smaller rocks, then rolled the small boulders away off the road as they were too heavy to lift.
“It was a bit of fun, especially for a guy with a bad back.”
Several cars came through as Ward worked on clearing the road just after 7.30am.
He said one car came to a screeching halt towards him as it came down the road and saw the blockage.
Ward said there was often small slips on the road after heavy rain, but this was the only time he had had to get out and help as the rocks were usually small enough to get pulverised by passing cars.
“That’s one of the nastier ones I’ve come across,” he said.
Holiday and festival plans thrown into disarray
On Wednesday, the Thames-Coromandel District Council told locals and visitors to “err on the side of caution” and seek safety in a secure location – or even head home.
“The accumulation of rain by Saturday could see surface flooding, slips, road closures and power issues, so it is worth hatching a plan today to ensure no-one is stuck or isolated,” Thames-Coromandel Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler said earlier.
Stuff understands many people packed up and left Cooks Beach as rain poured down on the Coromandel campsite. Meanwhile, in Northland, Whangaruru Beachfront Camp and Motel owner Robynne Cooper on Wednesday said “hardly anyone is left” after strong winds and rain hit the campsite.
Others have found themselves out of pocket due to the weather too. A Coromandel tour operator has had to cancel hundreds of summer bookings due to the weather warnings, and two Wellington siblings are $1000 down after a festival was cancelled less than 24 hours from kick-off.
Wet weather across the motu
MetService forecaster Aidan Pyselman said almost nowhere would escape the bad weather this week.
The culprit was a low – a region of air that spirals inwards, bringing wet and windy weathers – sitting in the north of the Tasman Sea.
It couldn’t progress and move away from New Zealand because a high pressure system east of the Chatham Islands had “kind of just parked” there, blocking the low from moving.
It meant wet weather across the motu for at least the rest of the week, and potentially next week too.
“The top of the country is seeing the worst of it at this stage,” Pyselman said.
“There might be some reprieve in the north on Saturday, and it looks like we’ve got another little low starting up early next week.”
How’s the weather been where you are? Let us know in the comments.