Four people have climbed out of their cars and waded through floodwaters to get to safety tonight as heavy rain and gusty winds wreak havoc along the Coromandel Peninsula.
Three Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) crews were called to help the stranded motorists who were travelling in a van and a car along Hikuai Settlement Rd, just before 8pm.
Shift manager Craig Dally said the group were treated for mild hypothermia after getting themselves out of the water.
It was one of dozens of jobs emergency services have been called to as wild weather hammers the area.
The Te Aroha brigade alone has attended 45 call-outs today.
Heavy rain and strong wind has pulled down trees and damaged roofs, with emergency services attending two car accidents in the area.
Power outages have been reported in more than 100 homes, as strong winds rip powerlines and trees to the ground.
Winds battering Te Aroha have seen 63 homes left in the dark, while trees flattening power lines have affected a further 65 properties in the Thames suburbs of Tapu.
Powerco estimates that the affected properties won't have their lights back on until midnight at the earliest.
Winds gusting to 100km/h will continue into tonight and residents are being warned of further power outages as trees and roofs come down on the network.
Thirteen people have been forced to stay an extra night at the Pinnacles Hut and will be escorted down tomorrow, the Thames-Coromandel District Council said.
More than 350mm of rain has accumulated at the Pinnacles over the last 24 hours, with up to 50mm to fall this evening.
The Kauraeranga spillway at SH25 in Thames has held during this afternoon's high tide.
Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler said the blustery weather would continue until midnight at least, but no fine weather was on the cards for the area until next week.
"We are keeping an eye on the strong easterly winds and swells forecast for next week, this could impact coastal communities," he said.
Coromandel residents have been told to stay home as lashing rain, flooding and slips cut off parts of the peninsula.
Civil Defence is also urging tourists to keep off the roads, saying huge volumes of traffic are putting people's lives at risk.
Thames-Coromandel contractors said they were frustrated to see heavy traffic in the rain, despite warnings to stay home.
"The entire Coromandel is getting battered and everyone needs to heed the warnings, stay off the roads and sit this out until tomorrow," Towler said.
"It is going to get worse before things improve and high tide will undoubtedly bring more closures so let's not put our contractors at further risk."
A heavy rain watch is in force for the Coromandel Peninsula, with MetService warning of peak rainfall rates of up to 25mm/h, with localised downpours of up to 35mm/h this evening.
Another 100-140mm of rainfall is expected to hammer the area on top of what has already fallen. The warning is in place for across the peninsula until 9pm tonight.
Flooding and slips, compounded by high tides, forced the closure of multiple sections of the state highway earlier today.
State Highway 25 between Kaimarama and Whitianga remains closed due to flooding, as is SH 25 between Hikuai to Tairua.
No detour is available.
Meanwhile a slip near Puketui Valley Road has forced the closure of SH 25A from Kopu to Hikuai.
Motorists are advised to avoid the area or delay their journey.
The three sections of the highway will remain shut tonight as the eastern Coromandel Peninsula receives another rinsing.
Waikato System Manager Cara Lauder is urging motorists to take extra care driving through the strong winds and pummelling rain.
"Drive to the conditions and watch out for surface flooding, slips and fallen trees or branches," she said.
"Avoid unnecessary travel. Check your intended route for hazards or disruptions before setting out, using the Journey Planner website, and remain alert for unreported hazards."
High sided vehicles and motorcycles should take particular care in strong winds, she said.
The Thames-Coromandel Council has urged anyone planning to drive around the Coromandel region to delay their trip another 24 hours.
"If you have plans to travel today, please reconsider. We advise you now, wait it out until Friday," Towler said.
"The risks are not worth it, it's that simple."
Meanwhile icy conditions are expected along SH8 in the Mackenzie Country overnight, as bitterly cold weather sets in.
Motorists have been warned to take extra care when travelling.
And Gisbourne is set for a hammering of rain tomorrow, with periods of heavy rain - potentially approaching warning criteria - on the cards and a heavy rain watch in force from 3am-9pm Friday.
North of Tolana Bay and around the ranges will be drenched with up to 150mm of rain, with a heavy rain warning set from 6pm tonight for 24 hours.