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    Fire crews in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty have dealt with more than 100 weather-related calls overnight. Nearly 80 of those were in the Auckland region. There are currently 21 power outages across Auckland, affecting thousands of people.

Emergency services and Civil Defence bosses will have to wait until this morning to learn the full impact of the huge storm lashing New Zealand.

Gales and torrential rain forced many holidaymakers to head home early on Thursday after the front started making its presence felt in the Far North.

But with king tides on the east coast due overnight, officials were bracing themselves for more flooding — and more damage from high winds today as the rain eased.



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Although there were no reports of injury or damage caused directly by the storm overnight, there were signs that could change as the situation developed.

Videos shot on the waterfront Tamaki Drive in Kohimarama, Auckland showed people wading through waist-high water and huge waves smashing onto the beach.

The streets were inundated soon after the king tide, about 10.20pm.

Across the city, a large marquee on Patiki Rd in Avondale was blown down, with police concerned it could cause problems on the nearby northwestern motorway.

There were also reports of multiple trees down — with one driver having a lucky escape when a big tree fell across her bonnet and smashed her windscreen as she was driving in Otahuhu.

At least 2000 homes - and thousands of people - in the North Island were without power.

In Auckland, lines company Vector was reporting 30 unplanned outages around midnight.

Affected areas spanned the Supercity area, from Helensville in the west to Waiheke in the east, Stanmore Bay in the north to Otara in the south.

The company said it had activated its storm response plan and crews were working through the night to restore outages.

In the Bay of Plenty, power was also out in parts of Mamaku near Rotorua, Tauranga and Te Puke.

There was a report of an outage in Kerikeri, Northland.

Late on Thursday an exposed radar station in Kaeo, east of Kaitaia, was measuring 98km/h gales gusting to 139km/h, with one gust hitting 161km/h.

The coast at Marsden Point was buffeted by gusts of 110-120km/h, with mean speeds of 90km/h.

In Kerikeri, 81mm of rain was recorded in 16 hours while Kaikohe had 62mm.The high winds were expected to peak overnight as the front cross Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, MetService forecaster Tui McInnes said.

"In the morning when people are getting up, it looks more like it'll be Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, the Wairarapa and Wellington affected."

There would be some respite this morning for Auckland and the Coromandel "then unfortunately there will be another resurgence of strong wind ... possibly into the afternoon," McInnes said.

The storm is expected to move away from New Zealand on Saturday.

Northland Civil Defence spokesman Murray Soljak said the region had got off lightly under the circumstances.

"Other than the odd bit of surface flooding there's no rainfall-related flooding, it's high tide-related."