Essential workers sprang into action as bursts of rain and howling winds cut power to nearly 4000 households across Northland, blocked roads and caused mayhem for boaties.
A low pressure system in the Tasman Sea roared across the region on Wednesday evening. Fire and Emergency New Zealand attended more than 24 mostly storm-related callouts from 6pm Wednesday to 6am yesterday - 12 in Kaipara, seven in the Far North, and five in Whangārei.
Northland Regional Council data shows Waitangi catchment in the Bay of Islands and the upper Wairua catchment and eastern hills area each received the highest rain of 150mm in the 24 hours to 6am yesterday.According to MetService, Whangārei Airport got 68.2mm of rain in the 12 hours to 6am yesterday, Kerikeri 52.2mm, Kaikohe 49.2mm, and Kaitaia 18.4mm.
• Rain for most but still no hoses
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Tutukaka Harbour recorded the highest wind gusts of 127km/h on Wednesday evening, followed by Hokianga Harbour on 92km/h, Whangārei 77km/h, and Kaikohe 70km/h.
MetService meteorologist Tahlia Crabtree said the worst of the stormy weather was over by midnight Wednesday and that Northland should get showers most of this weekend.
Thunderstorms and steady northeasterlies were expected north of Whangārei, she said.
Recent rain has been a blessing for the Whau Valley dam, which was at 100 per cent capacity yesterday afternoon and Wilsons Dam was at 78 per cent.
Northpower lines crews attended to a number of outages across Whangārei and Kaipara as a result of vegetation debris and high winds since Wednesday afternoon through to yesterday.
Vegetation on powerlines on Western Hills Dr in Whangārei just before 5pm on Wednesday affected 1400 households in the Woodhill and Maunu areas.
Most customers had their power restored by 6.45pm, leaving only 99 customers off while repairs were made on Central Ave. All customers were restored by 8.18pm.
An outage at Tokatoka, south of Dargaville, on Tuesday evening because a tree branch hit powerlines affected 333 customers but half had power restored within 30 minutes.
The outage lasted 207 minutes. Power went out again shortly after midnight for a further 19 minutes – affecting the same 333 customers.
Another outage at Mata, south of Dargaville affected 411 households, and 1187 families were without power on Whau Valley Rd in Whangārei after power lines and a pole went down.
Another 29 houses had their electricity disrupted yesterday morning after wild weather downed power lines.
"The Northpower network held up well and our crews did a great job in challenging weather to keep our community safe, [but] there are still a number of localised low voltage faults around Whangārei and Kaipara Districts due to the stormy weather, so people are encouraged to phone our Northpower faults team on 0800 104040 if they are still without power," Northpower spokeman Steve MacMillan said.
A crane was brought in by Fulton Hogan workers to lift a digger that tipped over near Pipiwai Rd, diverting traffic.
Meanwhile, in the Far North, the drenching brought power cuts, surface flooding, potholes and minor slips, but little serious damage.
Though some roads were underwater early on Thursday morning, including SH11 near Kawakawa and SH1 at Moerewa's Turntable Hill, nowhere was the flooding deep enough to close roads. Paihia, Kaikohe, Kaeo, Kerikeri and Kawakawa volunteer brigades were called out at least eight times between 6pm Wednesday and 6am Thursday, mostly for downed trees.
The strong winds and heavy rain caused power outages around the Far North, especially in Hokianga where more than 450 households spent the night without electricity after a fault on the Rawene feeder about 6.20pm on Wednesday.
The affected area included Horeke, Kohukohu, Motukaraka, Motukiore, Ōkaihau, Panguru, Rawene and Utakura.
Top Energy spokeswoman Philippa White said the cause was initially thought to be a
damaged insulator but replacing it did not fix the problem.
Line crews were stood down at 4am when they still hadn't found the cause of the fault. A fresh crew was dispatched at daylight.
Conditions faced by workers looking for the fault were difficult, she said.
The company hoped to restore power by 12.30pm yesterday.Another 85 households in the Awarua and Nukutawhiti area south of Kaikohe lost power at 1.30am after trees got into the lines. Their lights came back on at 5.30am.
Kerikeri fire chief Les Wasson said one Wednesday evening call was for minor flooding in a house on Jacaranda Place, the other for a tree down across one lane of SH10 just north of the Kerikeri crossroads.
The Kaikohe brigade was called out three times. Chief Bill Hutchinson said the most serious callout was at Pakotai where a car crashed into a fallen tree about 6.30pm. No one was injured.
Northland harbourmaster Jim Lyle said a launch sank overnight near Marsden Cove and another vessel dragged its mooring on the Hātea River. The storm had also left a large amount of debris, including logs, in the water.
''But nothing too major, considering how bad the storm was,'' he said.