Mother Nature is thrashing Auckland and other northern parts of the North Island, with heavy rain falling continuously and winds gusting, forcing trains to be cancelled and trees to topple.
Winds expected to reach speeds of up to 100km/h are forecast in exposed parts of Auckland and authorities are prepared to close the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
MetService is warning people that those winds have the potential to cause damage and some motorists are being told to avoid the bridge.
"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles."
Auckland traffic chaos
Rough weather has made for tough driving conditions throughout Auckland this afternoon, resulting in multiple breakdowns and crashes on the motorway network.
It comes as the speed limit has been reduced to 70km/h on the harbour bridge and authorities warn they will close it at a moment's notice if wind speeds get too high.
Large and high-sided vehicles, including trucks, and motorcyclists are being told to avoid the bridge altogether and are instead being urged to use the alternative routes on State Highways 16 and 18.
Auckland system manager Andrea Williamson says they are keeping a close eye on the weather conditions.
Wind gusts are forecast to be even stronger later in the day. Winds are expected to reach up to 100km/h from 1pm to 8pm, before easing.
Williamson said earlier today: "We advise motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.
"Drive to the conditions, keep within your lane when crossing the bridge and keep to the speed limit.
"Safety is our priority and we will not hesitate to close the bridge if that becomes necessary."
The announcement comes after freak winds on September 18 blew a truck into a strut on the bridge, causing damage and resulting in the closure of the bridge for several days as it was fixed.
Cancellations across the eastern and western rail lines because of severe weather have been resolved. Clearance trains will run between Britomart and Swanson, AT says.
Commuters are told to expect delays as the network recovered and special eastern trains will remain cancelled.
Tree toppled in Browns Bay
A tree has come crashing down in Browns Bay, on Auckland's North Shore, this afternoon, blocking off Anzac Rd.
An employee at nearby RTL Computers says there was a "bang" when the tree fell over the road, taking out a pedestrian crossing pole and a couple of light poles.
It comes as a heavy rain watch also looms over Auckland, including Great Barrier Island, with periods of heavy rain forecast from 10am to 7pm.
The public is being warned that rainfall amounts (45mm to 55mm) may approach "warning criteria".
MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris says in the hour up until 2pm, 8.3mm of rain fell at Whenuapai Airport. There has been 33.4mm total today.
"The heaviest rain looks as though it has now moved south of Whangārei and will continue to make its way into Auckland over the next couple of hours and then Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty before the end of the day."
A spokeswoman for power company Vector says crews are on standby and constantly assessing the weather, but there have not been any major incidents.
At Pāpāmoa Beach, in Tauranga, a waterspout was spotted this morning.
Footage of the phenomenon was captured by Tauranga Land Search and Rescue chief executive Carl McOnie and shared on the MetService Twitter page.
The waterspout can be seen skimming the water and moving back and forth just under a large grey cloud.
"The risk of thunderstorms increases this afternoon, so more funnels are possible and some heavy rain," the authority said.
Ferry services disrupted
Fullers has issued an alert to ferry users and is asking people to keep an eye on its website and app for updates.
"Please be advised due to adverse weather conditions, there may be disruptions to our services."
The alert is for all services: Auckland City, Bayswater, Beach Haven, Birkenhead, Coromandel, Devonport, Half Moon Bay, Hobsonville Point, Rangitoto Island, Stanley Bay and Waiheke Island.
For Gulf Harbour ferry passengers, a replacement bus service will run today instead because of bad weather.
Replacement taxis were also provided for earlier services.
A temperature high of 21C is expected in the City of Sails today and an overnight low of 17C.
Heavy rain warnings are in place for Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty west of Whakatāne and from Whakatāne eastwards, and Westland south of Otirā.
Those in Northland can expect between 60mm and 70mm of rain - especially in the east - from 8am to 4pm.