Flooding has eased in the Western Bay of Plenty as the front that closed roads and threatened to cut off towns moves south.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council community relationships manager Frank Begley said the lunchtime high tide had passed without any major effects.

At least one lane of all roads were open as far as he knew and traffic was being managed.

"Contractors are following up a number of reported slips," he said.

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"Things definitely have eased so we seem to be through the worst of it."

Earlier, Katikati residents were bracing for high tide with fears flooding would worsen and the township would be cut off.

State Highway 2 had been closed to the north and a swollen creek at the southern end of the town had breached its banks and spilled onto the highway.

Floodwaters washed a small truck off the road near Lindemann Rd, north of the town.

Resident Sue Larsen posted on Facebook there was major flooding and the highway was closed at the Uretara Bridge.

The New Zealand Transport Agency advised traffic heading from Tauranga to take SH29 over the Kaimai Ranges as flooding would close SH2 for some time.

A truck has rolled on the side of the road on State Highway 2 north of Katikati after flooding has cut off the road. Photo / Alan Gibson
A truck has rolled on the side of the road on State Highway 2 north of Katikati after flooding has cut off the road. Photo / Alan Gibson

In Coromandel, the seaside community of Tairua was cut off to the south, as SH25 was closed from the intersection with SH25A at Hikuai. No detours were available.

However, the state highway east of Kopu, near Thames, had reopened after a slip, with a stop-go sign in place.

Here's some flooding pics of Hikuai. Thanks Jared Stein, Hikuai School Principal.

Posted by Thames-Coromandel District Council on Thursday, 7 July 2016

Opoutere School at Whangamata, Hikuai and Waihi Beach Schools closed for the day. Road closures meant buses coouldn't pick up children.

The flooding cut water supplies to parts of the Coromandel including Omahu, Hikutaia and Puriri.

A council spokeswoman was expecting it to be back on within a few hours.

Areas of NZ hit by flooding

Meanwhile, gale-force winds are expected to pound central New Zealand.

Warnings were in place from the central North Island to Buller for southeast gales, with gusts up to 120km/h.

Last night, people in the upper North Island experienced a sleepless night from thunderstorms.

More than 1400 lightning strikes lit up the skies between midnight and 1am as the severe storm gathered force.


Just after midnight, the MetService warned those east of Warkworth to expect torrential rain.

An earlier storm warning was extended as the lightning and thunder showed no sign of abating.

The Fire Service was kept busy with around a dozen callouts to help homeowners in Warkworth, Leigh and Matakana cope with flash flooding in properties and on roads.


Many people gave up on sleep as the thunder boomed overhead for up to two hours.

Stuart Russell posted a clip of a lightning strike on social media saying it was so close it rattled the windows.


And Richard Woods posted: "thunder in Auckland keeps going tonight".


Icy conditions took their toll on motorists in the South Island this morning with police attending more than two dozen ice-related crashes.

"We have attended over 25 crashes across the district in the past four hours due to ice and black ice on roads in South Otago, Gore and Invercargill," said Southern District Policing manager Inspector Tania Baron.

She urged all drivers to exercise caution and drive to the conditions.

It included being aware of areas with black ice and to watch following distances and speed.