Key Points:

  • Cliff in Auckland's Kohimarama collapses onto units.
  • A state of emergency has been declared in Whanganui, with up to 500 people to be evacuated on Wednesday.
  • Defence Force personnel called in to assist with Whanganui evacuations.
  • Fire services responding to dozens of flooding-related callouts in Auckland as the city is lashed by rain.
  • A heavy rainfall warning applies to the entire North Island and the north and west of the South Island. &
  • Some areas may get three times April's normal rainfall in just 48 hours.
  • Central North Islanders are being told to keep survival items nearby.
  • Ngamatapouri School was closed after the Waitotara River rose 16.5 metres.
  • For LIVE updates throughout the night and tomorrow morning, tune in to Newstalk ZB

Hundreds of residents are being evacuated in Whanganui, a mud slip slammed into homes in one of Auckland's upmarket suburbs and flooding has closed roads - New Zealanders are waking up to the havoc being wreaked by the tail of Cyclone Debbie.

Torrential rain continues to hammer the central North Island and Auckland, with a state of emergency declared in the Whanganui and Rangitikei districts. All schools in the regions are closed today.

About 500 people will be evacuated this morning in low-lying areas of the district, mayor Hamish McDouall said.

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Defence Force personnel would assist with evacuations.

FOR LIVE UPDATES, TUNE IN TO NEWSTALK ZB

Today's rainfall is expected to be worse than last night, particularly in Auckland. But Auckland fire services have already responded to dozens of callouts, with the east of the city and Waiheke Island worst affected.

Almost the entire North Island is expected to get torrential rain, but central regions will be particularly bad.

Up to 200mm of rain is expected to fall. Regions affected include Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Waitomo, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Taranaki, Whanganui, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa

Some areas are expected to get three times April's normal rainfall in just 48 hours.

The northeast of the South Island could also get a soaking.

As the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie hits our shores floodwaters are starting to rise.

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Whanganui District Council will check homes in Anzac Parade, Taupo Quay and Putiki on Wednesday morning - with the river predicted to rise to 19.3 metres.

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Communications manager Sarah Pomeroy says people need to be out of their homes by 10am.

She says teams will check homes at 6am.

South Taranaki is already in the eye of the storm, with the Waitotara River rapidly rising yesterday.

Ngamatapouri School was closed and evacuated yesterday, and Waitotara Valley Road is closed.

Farmers in low lying areas nearby are being warned to be prepared to move stock to higher ground.

Locals are being told to keep survival items and a getaway kit nearby.

South Taranaki District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, and Taranaki Civil Defence were all monitoring the system, and keeping locals informed.

More heavy rain was forecast for Taranaki's eastern hill country last night.

In Manawatu, motorists are being warned to avoid Manawatu Gorge as there have been slips.

Caution will still be needed if taking Saddle Road as an alternate route, as it's also prone to slips.

Ashurst Road in Manawatu was blocked by a tree that fell across the road, but which has now been cleared. Photo / Alecia Rousseau
Ashurst Road in Manawatu was blocked by a tree that fell across the road, but which has now been cleared. Photo / Alecia Rousseau

In Hawke's Bay, authorities are closely monitoring river levels.

Heavy rain has started over the past 24 hours, with Wairoa getting 63mm, Takapau Plains 52mm, Napier 44mm and Hastings 27mm.

Up to 150mm more could be on the cards for some coastal hill areas to the south of Cape Kidnappers and the ranges.