A group of freedom campers sleeping in a car park beside a Hawke's Bay river narrowly escaped being swept into the sea as the river rose around them in the night.
Phillippa Duncan was one of many freedom campers parked up for the night along the Clive River near the Waka Ama boat sheds along the bank.
"The night before I decided to move my van up the bank because I had heard from locals in the past that when the rain sets in the river rises quite a bit," she said.
The New Plymouth local said when she woke up the next morning she could hear a lot of vehicles moving around.
"I woke at about 5.45 the next morning and I could hear vans coming up the top and I walked out and was like holy cow and then I saw a red van with three German girls under water," Duncan said.
"So I rushed back got my gumboots on and my wet weather gear and an umbrella and walked out to the water as far as I could go, so I tapped the window with my umbrella and yelled, telling them to get out."
She said she could hear a lot of commotion in the van and what seemed like a lot of swearing in German.
"I told them to drive really slowly and just to follow me and stay calm and they would get out and they did."
Duncan then went back to help another two stuck vehicles, with a couple in each, one of which was almost completely under water.
"The last car was completely under water, I had to throw things at the car just to get their attention and the lady in the car was just screaming along with her dog and I don't blame her but I was just calmly saying you have to move and get out of the water."
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With Duncan's help all three vehicles were able to escape the river without the need for extra assistance.
Further along the river an hour later a car needed even more help.
Emergency services were called to the scene off Hicks Lane at 7.10am on Friday. An unattended car had to be pulled from out of the river. Fire crews managed to get the vehicle out of the water shortly after arriving.
The three German tourists from Dortmund told Duncan in their limited English that they were grateful to her for alerting them and safely helping them get out of the water.
Duncan said she was just happy that they managed to get everyone safe and on higher ground.
"In the end everyone was wet but safe, three Germans, two couples and a dog all accounted for."
More than 60-80mm of rain fell over Napier and Hastings in the 32 hours from 12am on Thursday to 8am on Friday.
More than 90mm fell over the summit of State Highway 5, the Napier-Taupo Road, in that time.
Snow was predicted for the road but MetService meteorologist Tom Adams said temperatures didn't fall as far as expected and snow only was only expected on the hills above 900m.
There were no road closures in Hawke's Bay overnight with council staff checking conditions this morning.
MetService has cancelled all weather warnings, as conditions begin to ease, but are asking for drivers to still be aware as rain is expected to continue to fall for most of Friday.