• About 50 homes were evacuated after a massive storm hit Auckland overnight
• Families fled during the night as floodwaters rose and cut off roads and firefighters used a jetski to reach some who were trapped
• West Auckland's Kumeu, Huapai, Ranui, Piha and Henderson Valley appear the worst hit as Civil Defence assess the damage
• Surf life savers are using IRBs to help resuce stranded people
• It is the most rain to hit Auckland in a single weather event since 2017, with 90mm coming down each hour at storm's most ferocious moments
• Heavy rain warning is in place until 4pm, with more foul weather expected to hit
Fifty homes have been evacuated in west Auckland and Kumeu is cut off as flooding continues to wreak havoc.
Firefighters have resorted to using jet skis to reach trapped motorists as the township on the Twin Coast Highway is inundated.
The region was battered overnight by heavy rain, with Kumeu copping 201mm in 14 hours, according to Niwa - the area's second wettest day since records began in 1943.
Police warn there are significant road slippages and water hazards across the Waitākere Ranges, Kumeu and Huapai areas.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region search and rescue supervisor John-Michael Swannix said about 9.10am the Muriwai squad is helping to contact a woman and two children trapped by water at a Kumeu property.
Surf Life Saving said the mother and children are trapped upstairs in their home but are choosing to "wait it out".
Lifeguards have so far rescued three people and assisted at least 10 people, including braving chest-high water for a rescue in Tapu Rd.
A team of four volunteers have been using two IRBs since around 5am this morning to help with rescue efforts.
They rescued two men from two sheds on Tapu Rd in Huapai earlier this morning.
"One had been trapped inside since 10pm and they had to break the window to rescue them," said Swannix.
"This is coming from four really experienced lifeguards, they said it was pretty knarly, not a job they get every day, but they are happy to be out helping their community.
"Being under [alert] level 4 adds an additional challenge. I commend these volunteers for being prepared to break their bubble to rescue others in the community at a time like this."
Cars and houses are underwater, in some places reportedly up to two metres deep. Owners are trying to rescue farm animals and bridges surrounding the township are now impassable as rising floodwaters surge across roads.
"There's no way in and no way out," said a witness.
"All the bridges are flooded."
Daniel Bott is trapped on the second floor of his house with his dog. His van and many of his belongings have been swept away by the floodwaters from Kumeu River close to his house.
He's waiting for the water to subside until he can reach his paddle board downstairs to get out.
Houses flooded, cars washed away
Houses have been flooded and cars swept away as heavy winds and rain continue to lash the city. An emergency shelter has been set up at 6 Henderson Valley Rd, in Henderson, for those who have nowhere to go.
And the Kumeu Rugby Football Club, at 2 Alexandra St, is open for anyone who has had to evacuate their home.
A club member told the Herald there was lots of space and hot showers available. He was heading to the club just before 9am to see how many locals and families were there.
People are calling for help to rescue trapped animals. One woman in Huapai posted on Facebook a request for a dinghy, saying her family and animals were stuck inside with the bottom floor of the house fully submerged in water.
Another Huapai resident said the family had lost all their belongings and cars, while their children had been taken out by jetski.
"We have pushed ourselves to the limit swimming horses in and bringing them up into the second level of our house."
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
He asked locals if they could kayak in some hay or horse feed.
A witness said this morning it was "absolute chaos".
"There's one car parked with water up to its windows. There's a stream running off the buildings and footpaths, cars are floating around," he said.
"I've never seen anything like this."
Kumeu chief fire officer Bex Baddeley told the AM Show that anywhere near close to the Kumeu river was "quite significantly flooded". Rescue efforts were more tricky due to the heavy rain still coming down.
Fire crew were now working with its other partners to see who else needed to be evacuated. A section of the main road was closed as well as some roads surrounding the river which were completely flooded.
"We would advise anyone that doesn't need to drive to definitely stay off the road and not create any more call-outs for us."
The Muriwai Surf Life Saving Club had been helping with its IRBs and in one case a jet ski was used to rescue people.
A resident in Taupaki, near Kumeu, told TV1's Breakfast the worry was that it was still raining this morning - so the water is still rising.
She showed the outside of their property completely flooded and the outside furniture floating. She also described seeing "waves" of water coming down the street in the early hours of this morning.
Heavy rain warnings still in place
Metservice has heavy rain warnings in place for all of Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island.
The forecaster said to expect 60-90mm of rain in addition to what has already fallen.
There could be peak intensities of 15-25mm per hour, especially during thunderstorms.
"Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous."
The warning is in place till 4pm.
Niwa said there had been an "incredible" amount of rain, with parts of west Auckland seeing 140-180mm or more.
Newstalk ZB says it has had reports of flooding in Henderson, Waitakere, Ranui, Kumeu, Piha and Bethells Beach. At least one home had been evacuated in Te Atatū South, RNZ reported.
50-60 homes evacuated - mayor
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he was hearing 50-60 homes could be evacuated.
People had largely been self-evacuating and staying with family and friends but there was a shelter in the council building in Henderson.
West Auckland locals who have been evacuated from their homes and need somewhere to go can go to the old council buildings at 6 Henderson Valley Road, where an evacuation hub has been set up.
"I'm imagining that some people will need accommodation...we may need to make provision for people," Goff said.
He told RNZ it never rains it pours.
"We've been dealing with drought and now we've got this.
"It's pretty dramatic after three years when we have been suffering drier than usual conditions and sometimes drought, to get this sort of deluge," said Goff.
The news was "traumatising" for people who had already been dealing with lockdown.
Goff told the Herald that the massive downpour was the biggest since the Tasman Tempest in March 2017, which delivered isolated instance of once-in-a-century rainfall. In one day, Auckland recorded its wettest March day on record 10mm - since 1959.
Goff said last night's downpour was a huge 90mm an hour and parts of Kumeu/Huapai, Piha and Bethells Beach are still getting 40mm an hour.
He said last night's downpour was a huge 90mm an hour and parts of the city are still getting 40mm an hour.
The council has set up an emergency shelter at 6 Henderson Valley Rd, in Henderson, and would provide accommodation in motels to people who have been forced from their homes, the mayor said.
Goff said he planned to travel from his office in the central city to West Auckland by mid-morning, conditions allowing.
A bonus of the storm, he said, was the level of Auckland's water lakes had risen from 67 per cent to 72 per cent full.
West Auckland councillor Shane Henderson said about 50 homes had been evacuated in Kumeu and the nearby area. Houses were also evacuated in Henderson Valley, he said.
"Ranui's looking tough, Piha's looking tough," Henderson told Newstalk ZB.
"We're not out of the woods yet," Henderson told Newstalk ZB.
Henderson recommended people bring essential items when they evacuated and remember to wear a mask and to try to social distance.
The main council building in Henderson was being set up as a shelter and if people needed to they should head there. Covid-19 protocols were still in place.
Civil Defence officials this morning told Newstalk ZB they still don't know the full extent of the damage and more people may need to evacuate.
Evacuations would override level 4 requirements to stay at home, Auckland Emergency Management deputy controler Rachel Kelleher told Kate Hawkesby.
People should socially distance where possible, she said.
More than 150 calls about flooding have come in to the fire service overnight as heavy rain and strong winds swept across the north and north-west of the city.
A witness told the Herald numerous homes were flooded in and around Birdwood Rd in Swanson and cars were being swept down the road.
"Houses are underwater, cars are flooded and kids are being plucked from their homes in their pyjamas."
The witness said emergency services were out trying to help people and it's understood at least one home was at risk of collapsing.
He saw one man carrying two children through shoulder-height flood waters.
Another man and his wife were fleeing with one bag of belongings, all they had time to grab as the water rose through their home.
"It is just absolutely teeming down, the rain is just driving so hard."
"It's still an emerging situation," Auckland's civil defence deputy controller Rachel Kelleher said this morning.
Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management had been monitoring the heavy rain and wind conditions since just after midnight.
In a statement, Fire and Emergency said it is continuing to respond to calls about flooding around Auckland.
"Between 9.30 pm and 4 am, we received more than 150 calls for assistance.
"Most of the calls related to flooding into residential properties. We were also called to help people stuck in vehicles.
"We were called to incidents right across Auckland and the North Shore, with the bulk being in West Auckland, and up to Kumeu."
Henderson volunteer firefighters overnight said they were busy dealing with multiple calls to flooding, trees and powerlines that had come down and people trapped by floodwaters.
Residents in and around Kumeu have also reporting flooded roads, backyards and streams that have breached their banks while a family in Whenuapai said the gusts were so strong their trampoline was blown over.
Henderson resident Peter Lee told the Herald he woke up around 12.30am to the sound of his toilet bubbling.
"I thought what the heck is that?"
"I looked out and it [water] was high so I woke up the wife and kids and thought we better get ready to go."
In the time the family was getting to leave their property Lee said the water had risen one meter - and was "crotch deep".
"It was probably 40 centimetres up the walls inside the house," he said.
Lee and his wife also own a cattery and were able to safely evacuate all four cats currently staying there.
They left their flooded home in the early hours of the morning.
"We managed to get the car out but it was sitting in quite a bit of water," he said.
"Basically everything is damaged."
"It's just a big muddy sludge under the carpet," he said.
A Huapai resident said her garage, where she had her office, had flooded twice already in the night.
While there wasn't too much damage the carpet was soaked and there were commercial drying machines in there now. The house, which is on higher ground had however escaped the flooding.
"This area is getting hit hard tonight," she said.
Michelle Cawley noticed her backyard had started to flood when her little dog decided to go outside at around 10.30pm.
"I let him outside the ranch slider and he was crying and crying on the deck so I went out there to see what his problem was and I was just like oh my lord."
"I can't even explain it, my family have been here 18 years and this has never happened."
The Taupaki resident said the water was "at least waist high".
Waitakere Volunteer firefighters asked residents to stay at home saying "Please DON'T drive! Much of the Township is flooded."
Businesses hit by flooding
Johnny Mills, owner of Bridgestone Tyres in Kumeu, said the water had peaked at about "a foot and a half" before subsiding - but it was now rising again as more heavy rain hit.
"There's a torrent or a river running through the front of the shop, it has been all morning."
Mills has worked in Kumeu for 40-odd years. He said the nearby river used to flood regularly but the water never came into the tyre shop - and since the river had been cleaned out it had not been an issue for a while.
"This is probably the first time we've seen it on our side of the road."
Most of his stock would be OK but there was some electrical equipment that could be damaged.
"It'll be a bit of a cleanup once the water subsides. Especially in this sort of time with lockdown it's a bit hard going but you can't do much about nature."
Te Whānau o Waipareira staff at the vaccination centre at Trusts Arena, in Henderson, said they were working hard to get things set up again, after tents were blown away overnight.
Staff reported vehicles already queuing outside the stadium.
They were working to get the drive-thru vaccination clinic up and running by about 10am, a staff member said on a Facebook live video.
The New World Kumeu supermarket, on Main Road, is closed until further notice.
A post on the supermarket's Facebook page told customers they were closed due to flooding and road closures in the area.
"We will keep you updated around when we are able to reopen."
Henderson Massey local board member Will Flavell advised West Auckland residents to stay off the roads and keep pets and children away from the water.
He told the Herald he had spoken with Auckland Transport in the early hours of the morning about getting help for those who need it.
"Auckland Transport have assured me they will get contractors out to Ranui [and] Henderson as quickly as they can."
"Incredible" rain levels, further weather warnings for today
Niwa said parts of west Auckland had received an "incredible" 140-180 mm overnight or even more.
MetService meteorologist Daniel Corrigan said some parts of West Auckland had recorded close to 90mm of rain in the 12 hours to 1am.
Some areas in Auckland had also recorded 20mm-30mm of rain in an hour.
And, the rain wasn't expected to stop overnight.
"We are expecting to see more rain for most of the day."
The flooding comes after the Auckland region saw about 400 lightning strikes over a roughly three-hour period Monday evening - putting on a light show for two days in a row.
While some areas are more prone to thunder and lightning than others, it's unusual anywhere in New Zealand to see lightning and thunder two days in a row, said MetService forecaster Allister Gorman.
"We usually share them around more," he said.
Most of the Auckland thunderstorms on Monday were around Helensville and Kaipara Harbour.
"The Auckland area is under a moderate risk of thunder storms until tomorrow morning," but it's unlikely to compare to last night's spectacular show," Gorman said.
The region remains under a heavy rain watch due to a slow-moving front, meaning people should be wary while travelling or if in flood-prone areas. While not all areas will be hit by heavy rain, it remains a possibility.
"There is some uncertainty as to exactly where the heaviest rain will fall, but rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria in the vicinity of this rain-band," MetService has warned on its website.
The thunderstorms are expected to move north towards Cape Reinga on Tuesday, possibly leaving New Zealand by Wednesday, Gorman said.