An onslaught of heavy downpours and northeast gales forced the closure of some Northland schools yesterday.
The region is again set to be buffeted by strong, possibly gale, northwesterlies and heavy showers today with conditions predicted to ease throughout the day.
MetService meteorologist Tahlia Crabtree said a low-pressure system near the upper North Island was the driver behind the rain and wind.
Northland's highest rainfall was up to 139mm of rain over the hills feeding into Kaeo River in the 24 hours until 6am yesterday.
This raised concerns about floodwaters potentially blocking State Highway 10 at Kaeo.
But Stephen Kitto, Northland Regional Council hydrology field operations manager, said high tide around 11.30am meant the Kaeo River's raised water levels eased after it turned.
Kitto said the rain across the region had fallen in low or moderate intensities which had been worthwhile.
Heavy rain around Wiroa Rd, west of Kerikeri, recorded 122.5mm in the 24 hours until 6am yesterday. Whangārei district's rainfall topped with Puhipuhi's 98.5mm and 96mm in the Kaikatea hills around Ngunguru, its lowest 40mm at Poroti.
Kaipara district meanwhile received the least rainfall overall, its highest 61mm in the Tutamoe Ranges north of Dargaville. Pouto Point got the least rain in Northland with just 8mm of rain in the 24 hours till 6am. Ruawai got 11mm.
Heavy rains had eased by the early afternoon yesterday but not before Kaeo School, Whangaroa College, and Whangaruru School were forced to close for the day as local school buses could not safely navigate surface flooding.
Strong northeasterlies, gusting 80 km/h at times, sent a trampoline flying at One Tree Point property.
Addi McCarthy, whose home is opposite the Marsden Bay boat ramp, said their trampoline was tied down with pins but strong gusts that lasted around 20 minutes sent it flying almost 2m away where it jammed between the ground and the roof of the home.
While people wrangled rogue items or were involuntarily stuck at home due to the wild weather the heavy rain was welcome relief for the parched Far North.
Niwa says the driest soils across the North Island, when compared to normal for this time of the year, are found in the Far North areas such as Kaitaia, Aupouri Peninsula, and surrounding areas - some of which received 5mm or less rain prior to this week's downpour.
The climate agency has declared meteorological drought and severe meteorological drought in those areas, given the significant soil moisture deficits, low rainfall, and the amount of water the ground is losing due to evaporation.
Far North Mayor John Carter said rain in the Mangamukas was a great boost for the town as it expanded Kaitaia's Awanui River drinking water supply.
The Mangamuka Hills got up to 74 millimetres (mm) of rain in the 24 hours to 6am yesterday.
"That rain makes its way down the hills and into the Awanui River," Carter said.
Kaitaia has ongoing issues getting enough water for its townspeople to drink, with ongoing water restrictions now commonplace. The bewaterwise website shows the town is currently on level three restrictions.
John Blackwell, Northland Federated Farmers president, said the rain was a morale booster - particularly for dairy farmers.
Northland dairy production had been good until about Christmas.
But had fallen in some places since then and banks were now telling some farmers they had reached their overdraft limits, as a result of the last year or so of challenging and dry weather.
With the wet weather set to continue police have reminded Northland motorists to drive to the conditions.
Police attended multiple minor road crashes in central Whangārei and Waipū.
Northland Police Senior Sergeant Shane Turner said the previous and prolonged dry conditions had covered the roads in a layer of oil and grime dangerous to drivers in wet weather.
"The first rain always activates the layer of oil and grime," Turner said. "With the rain supposed to last over the next few days people need to allow extra time for travel and allow for the conditions by having more patience on the road."