Highways around the North Island appear to be free-flowing on the first day of the Auckland Anniversary Weekend - though stormy weather could still pose problems later in the day.

While motorists heading out of town yesterday afternoon for the long weekend faced lengthy delays, the jams had eased by early evening.

READ MORE: Weather could dampen long weekend

New Zealand Transport Agency Auckland and Northland highways manager Brett Gliddon said the weather would play a large part in determining the busy periods on the roads.

Advertisement

Storms are expected to bring a risk of flash flooding today in parts of the central North Island, which could affect some roads and highways.

Places most likely to be hit by the bad weather are inland parts of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay across to the eastern ranges of the Bay of Plenty, Taupo and eastern Taihape and inland Northland later this afternoon.

People in the affected areas are being urged to keep up to date with the forecasts.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management say motorists in areas affected by the stormy weather should be ready to slow down or stop, and be careful of fallen trees and power lines.