Heavy rain and high winds which led to flooded roads and slips in some areas are set to ease this morning.

Surface flooding hit parts of the North Island yesterday, causing crashes and incidents on roads.

The MetService issued severe weather warnings and watches, including severe southeast gales for areas in central New Zealand and heavy rain in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. Those warnings and watches, however, are expected to be lifted at some point today.

The heavy rain in those areas was forecast to ease back last night, but 70mm to 90mm was expected to fall in the evening, with the possibility of that causing surface flooding and high rivers this morning.


Conditions are forecast to be better by midday today and will be sunny for most areas tomorrow and Monday. Much of the country will bask in sunshine, save for some early rain or showers places including the Coromandel and Gisborne.

Temperatures range in the mid-teens in the North Island, while parts of the South Island will see high single-digit temperatures.

MetService forecaster Allister Gorman said: "By the middle of [today], things should have eased right back and [tomorrow] and Monday are looking quite good days for a winter school holiday."

A front was forecast to move over Auckland towards Northland overnight, meaning showers last night and possibly this morning.

"The main trouble in the South Island [today], if anyone is out early, they'll just have to watch for frosty conditions and there might be a little bit of black ice on a couple of roads," Gorman said.

Police earlier closed off State Highway 2, north of Katikati, due to flooding; while Southern Police urged motorists to drive carefully after icy roads led to a number of incidents of vehicles sliding.

There was a dramatic rescue after a truck plunged at least 50m into the Manawatu Gorge yesterday morning. One person was winched from the truck cab while the second was helped from near the truck, the Philips Search and Rescue Trust said. The truck's occupants, a man and woman aged in their 40s, were taken to Palmerston North Hospital. Three of their rescuers were also taken to hospital, but were not admitted.

A rain watch was also in place over the Tararua and wider Wairarapa areas last night, as well as for the Bay of Plenty.

Gorman said late yesterday: "The Coromandel's still got some flooded roads ... . "There's still some cleaning up to do probably around the Coromandel to Auckland area."

Today's forecast


: 16C high, cloudy periods and a few showers. Strong southeasterly winds.

Auckland: 15C, fine spells, strong southeasterlies.

Tauranga: 15C, mostly sunny.

Hamilton: 14C, sunny, gusty southeasterlies.

Gisborne: 13C, rain easing to showers in morning. Strong southeasterlies easing.

Coromandel: 14C, showers clearing before dawn then fine spells. Strong southeasterlies.

Wellington: 11C, becoming fine. Strong southerlies easing.

Christchurch: 10C, becomes fine in morning, light winds.

Dunedin: 9C, sunny, high cloud. Morning frosts.