The northern half of the North Island is being told to brace for more thunderstorms this evening, with forecasters warning we're not clear of the atrocious weather yet.

As wet roads prove hazardous, police warned people to stay home before adding to an already alarming weather-related crash toll which claimed the life of a motorcyclist in Taranaki today.

In Auckland and Wellington ferries were cancelled and flights in and out of the capital were disrupted as the stormy weather whipped up fierce winds.

READ MORE: SH3 closed after fatal motorbike crash

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MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said thunderstorms would continue to hammer vast swathes of the North Island until tomorrow morning when the system finally cleared Bay of Plenty.

While the heaviest downpours had hit Auckland earlier in the afternoon a severe thunderstorm risk remained in place until nightfall for northern regions. Late this afternoon thunderstorms were hammering parts of Northland, Coromandel and northern Waikato.

"Thunderstorms can bubble up anywhere so the risk is still there so there's still a chance Auckland could get another good thunderstorm before this event is finished," said Miss Murray.


Shocked supermarket shoppers had to leave without their groceries when the front facade of the Countdown in Sunnynook collapsed this evening.

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Part of supermarket roof collapses

Photo / Daniel Hines
Photo / Daniel Hines

The storm risk would remain in place for Bay of Plenty overnight until the bad weather moved off the country tomorrow.

Ms Murray said Wellington was still being pummelled by gale force winds with the strongest gusts of 131km/h recorded at Kelburn.

The plans of hundreds of air passengers were disrupted, with flights in and out of the capital cancelled or delayed. Police warned trucks and motorcyclists travelling over the Rimutaka Hill Road to take extra care.

Waikato police were today warning motorists to postpone all travel as a spate of weather-related accidents gridlocked the region's roads.

District Road Policing Manager Inspector Freda Grace said over a five-hour period emergency services were kept busy attending several crashes.

She feared drivers were not adjusting to the atrocious conditions.

"In total there have been 11 crashes in our district between 6am and 2pm and of interest only two have been in Hamilton, the rest have been on rural roads."

State Highway 3 was closed for hours north of the Awakino Gorge tunnel after a motorcyclist failed to take a bend and struck a truck. Despite efforts of motorists and emergency services he died at the scene.

Photo / Greg Bowker
Photo / Greg Bowker

Motorists were also warned to expect delays after a car had left the road south of Warkworth on SH1.

In Auckland buses replaced ferries to Gulf Harbour after stormy conditions forced the cancellation of all services.

Fire Service northern shift manager Megan Ruru said firefighters attended a small number of weather-related callouts including minor flooding in west Auckland homes and problems in the Waikato from wind damage.


Firefighters needed to clear a tree blown down by strong winds and which was now blocking a lane on State Highway 32 between Kinloch and Mangakino.

In Te Aroha a tarpaulin was need to be secured after it started lifting off the roof of a church.