The wet and wild weather system that has been lashing Gisborne and the East Coast of the North Island is moving south, leaving a huge clean-up behind it.

Power was out for several hundred houses in Napier and Hastings today, and multiple road closures are likely to cause significant delays after the downpour that drenched some areas in 200mm of rain in 24 hours.

MetService said the deep sub-tropical low that hit Gisborne last night was headed for Bay of Plenty this evening and was expected to move south to lie near the central high country by midnight.

It would be southeast of central New Zealand by midnight tomorrow.


"The low will bring heavy rain and gales to many parts of northern and central New Zealand," Metservice said.

As the storm moved across the North Island, Hawke's Bay was preparing to be the next region overwhelmed by its forces.

MetService was predicting 100-130mm of rain through to midday tomorrow in the Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges, on top of what the region had already experienced.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence emergency management group controller Ian Macdonald said most rivers had been coping with the downpour, although close attention was being paid to the Esk River and rivers around Wairoa.

"While the public might see some rivers spilling over, that is normal and we are confident the stopbanks on our major rivers will keep them contained," Macdonald said.

Downpours had swamped an already rain-soaked Gisborne district, and strong winds littered the streets with debris.

Many trees were down around the town this morning.

State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupō would remain closed until at least tomorrow morning because of multiple slips and surface flooding.


Hastings District Council also announced it would also close Taihape Rd tonight because of flooding, and would reassess conditions at 9am tomorrow.

Eleven roads were closed by this afternoon.

The bad weather followed the Queen's Birthday weekend floods that severely hit Tolaga Bay after a million tonnes of forestry slash was washed into waterways.

Tolaga Bay was still flooded with logs today prompting a Government announcement for financial support to clean up the flooding and damage.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities announced today that the flood damage around Tolaga Bay was now classified as a "medium-scale adverse event", which meant the region would get much-needed financial support.

"We have a lot of work to do in terms of keeping the community safe, repairs to bridges and roads and clearing of forestry slash," Gisborne's Mayor Meng Foon said.

The Eastland Group was working to get electricity back on across the area last night, but warned 771 homes were still without power on this afternoon.

"We're asking people to prepare to be without power overnight,'' it said.

"Our crews are doing everything they can do to get power back on and will work late into the night. But floods, fallen trees and other issues mean they simply can't access some areas.''

Another major road shut this evening is the South Island's Inland Route 70, which was closed between Mt Lyford and Kaikoura but access was still available to Mt Lyford from Waiau.

The NZTA said deteriorating weather also meant SH1 north and south of Kaikoura would close at 5pm.

Falls of about 200mm were recorded by the Gisborne District Council's rain gauge in the Waikura Valley at East Cape over 24 hours.

High country rain gauges all showed big falls: Mata 175mm, Pakihiroa 145mm, Puketoro 175mm and Arowhana 134mm.

Fernside had 120mm, Matawai 110mm, Pakarae 120mm, Te Arai 110mm, Te Puia 110mm, Waerenga o kuri 130mm, and Waipaoa at Kanakanaia 110mm.

Gusts of 169km/h were recorded on White Island, 113km/h near Rotorua and 100km/h at Hicks Bay on Tuesday.