Driving rain and wind which began hammering the region early yesterday caused widespread surface flooding, slips, a house evacuation and road closures.
Napier couple Darren and Rachael Hedley ended the day looking for somewhere to stay after a slip crashed into the back of their Shakespeare Rd house just after 2pm.
"I thought it was a bloody earthquake," Mr Hedley said.
"There was a hell of a racket - crashing and smashing."
The couple, and their two terrified children, Samara, 9, and 11-year-old Luke, ventured out and saw that a slip, and a large tree, had crashed into the back of the house, demolishing the wash-house area and covering a small parking area and pathway.
Mr Hedley said they had been in the rented house for about a year, and sensed something "wasn't right" during the morning.
"There was a trickle of brown silty water coming down the drive - we'd never seen that before and we were here during the winter when there was heavy rain," Mrs Hedley said.
"It just didn't seem right," her husband said, adding he had a motorcycle parked there and shifted it as a precaution.
"I'm pleased I did - it would have been under all that."
Police looked at the damage and advised the family to move out straightaway.
The couple gathered up what they could and went to stay with relatives.
"I don't think I want to come back here," Mrs Hedley said.
Police said precautionary checks would also be carried out on properties above the slip.
Minor slips were also reported on the Breakwater Rd face of Bluff Hill.
At the airport in Napier, 82.8mm of rain was recorded, along with the strongest wind gust of 54km/h.
In Hastings, Metservice reported 52.2mm of rain.
One of the Bluff Hill slips was at the site of a major slip last April and led to a works crew putting roadside barriers in place.
Several slips were reported on SH5 to Taupo and at the Devil's Elbow stretch on SH2 to Wairoa.
On one stretch of SH5, traffic had been reduced to one lane as work crews worked to clear one of the larger slips.
All highways were open this morning although work crews are on stand-by as slips can occur during periods of drying out.
Waimarama Rd was closed for about five hours from just after noon yesterday after the Tukituki River rose.
"There was a lot of water across there," Waimarama Seaside Resort manager Ruth Brightwell said. "But it's not unusual after heavy rain - it's happened before - it's just a nuisance."
She said a large number of visitors who had arrived for yesterday's beach day (which has been postponed until January 22) had packed up and left after hearing the weather warnings.
"There's only two or three people left - it's just wet everywhere."
Fire crews were called to four rain-related incidents yesterday - one to a badly leaking roof at Bay View and three to blocked drains and property flooding in Ahuriri, Haumoana and Havelock North.
Drainage waterways across Napier were up as the first of the heavy rainfalls began just a few hours before the 5.30am high tide.
Heavy rain warnings were in place for Hawke's Bay through until last night when conditions were forecast to ease.
The warnings were backed up by readings from four sites, in the period until 11am yesterday.
MaruMaru (Wairoa) 47.5mm
Chesterhope Bridge (Tutaekuri River) 45mm
Glengarry (north of Napier) 76.5mm
Tukituki River (Waipukurau) 48mm