Sunny spell forecast as country recovers from heavy dose of rain

Forecast sunshine for the upper North Island today is expected to dry up a saturated country after heavy downpours cut power to hundreds of homes, flooded buildings and suspended flights.

Up to 1400 homes in the Auckland region were without power after storms hit on Sunday and yesterday, but power was expected to be restored to nearly all customers by late last night.

MetService forecaster Elke Louw said conditions were due to clear overnight in the upper North Island.

"It should be a lovely day, we are looking at fine conditions for [today], and heading into Wednesday, we are still looking at some nice sunny spells."

She said a high-pressure ridge was pushing the low-pressure system responsible for the battering to the east and bringing more settled weather.

The deluge caused mayhem yesterday, blowing out manhole covers on some Wellington roads and cutting power to 130 Wellington Electricity customers.

A spokesman said all but one was reconnected by yesterday afternoon.

The Accident and Urgent Medical Centre in Adelaide Rd, Newtown, was forced to send several patients to Wellington Hospital when its back-up generator was affected by the flood, Radio New Zealand reported.

Cars in the medical centre's basement were partially submerged.

The Wellington Fire Service said crews responded to numerous flooding sites, with Newtown, Kilbirnie and Lyall Bay the worst affected.

Wellington City Council received more than 150 calls about flooding yesterday morning alone.

Strong gales also resulted in some Air New Zealand flights out of Wellington Airport being suspended.

On Browns Bay Rd on Auckland's North Shore, a truck and car collided at about 11am.

Meanwhile, Cantabrians were warned to avoid beaches and rivers after heavy rain put pressure on the region's sewage system.

Federated Farmers said the rain had managed to miss the farming areas most desperate for it.

Adverse-events spokeswoman Katie Milne said while the rain had broken the drought in most parts of the country, parts of the Central North Island had missed out.

"Farmers are gutted to see biblical quantities of rain falling while they are lucky to scrape up more than a few millimetres."

This week's weather

*Today and tomorrow - Fine weather predicted across the upper North Island.
*Thursday - Showers return to Waikato, Auckland and Northland.
*Friday - Cloudy periods expected.

- APNZ

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