Bad weather to worsen

By John Weekes, Elesha Edmonds

Much of North Island set to be hit by wind and rain after day of havoc in Auckland

Mayhem on roads and flooding around houses marked the start of a weather system expected to intensify in many areas today.

A front south of New Zealand will whip up the west and north of the North Island today, WeatherWatch analyst Richard Green said.

Most arterial routes around Auckland were closed at some point yesterday during a spate of accidents blamed largely on heavy rain. "We've had multiple motor vehicle crashes, nose-to-tails," police Inspector Steve Kose said.

In Auckland, a three-car crash on the Auckland Harbour Bridge closed one northbound lane yesterday about 2pm.

Another three-car crash blocked a lane on the Southern Motorway near the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway just before 3pm.

A large oak in Victoria Ave, Remuera, toppled on to the apartment of Erna Januszkiewicz and her husband Bob, cracking through a bathroom ceiling.

Surface flooding caused problems on the Northwestern Motorway between Rosebank Rd and St Lukes Rd. On the Northern Motorway, flooding slowed traffic between Northcote and Onewa Rds.

On State Highway 16 between Brighams Creek and the Westgate off-ramp, a car towing horses in a trailer broke down and the animals were removed from the trailer after growing anxious. "They became restless once they stopped," Kose said. "We sent a highway patrol unit ... to make sure everything went to plan and the horses couldn't jump across multiple lanes."

Five people were injured in a two-car crash yesterday morning near Drury, South Auckland. Two people were taken to Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries and three had moderate injuries.

Kose implored drivers to take extra care today as the North Island can expect thunderstorms and gale force nor'westerlies.

Several Remuera properties were flooded yesterday about 3pm after 50mm of rain fell in a very short time. Resident Desley Simpson said fire services were called to Standen Ave after people were stuck in their homes by overflowing stormwater drains.

"The ducks were having a field day," Simpson said. "There was a hell of a lot of water."

Properties in Mt Eden were also flooded as was the Northland township of Dargaville. Green said Kerikeri was also hit hard.

The severe weather is expected to ease late tomorrow.

- Herald on Sunday

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