Two consecutive days of heavy rain brought widespread surface flooding to the Far North as well as inundating homes and businesses.
At edition time late yesterday the worst affected area was the flood-prone Waiomio Valley, just south of Kawakawa, where some residents had self-evacuated to Mohinui Marae.
Bill Hutchinson, of Far North Civil Defence, said one family was reportedly trapped up the valley by floodwaters but emergency services were unable to reach them. The Kawakawa Fire Brigade was bringing in an inflatable boat in case they had to mount a rescue overnight but Mr Hutchinson said water levels were already dropping.
He expected State Highway 10 would flood north of Kaeo at high tide around 7pm last night but his main concern was flash flooding caused by heavy, localised thunderstorms.
One such flood occurred at the bottom of Bulls Gorge, on SH10 south of Kerikeri, causing hundreds of vehicles to back up in either direction around 3pm yesterday with a single police officer trying to control the chaos.
The weather stretched volunteer fire brigades with Kerikeri and Rawene particularly busy dealing with flooded homes, downed trees, blocked drains and crashes. At the height of the storm, about 2pm yesterday, Rawene firefighters were on a roof on Clendon Esplanade trying to secure tarps to stop rain entering a home.
The Kerikeri brigade was called out four times in less than half an hour on Thursday, starting at 12.35pm when rainwater brought down part of the ceiling in a Kemp Rd home. All four calls were weather related.
One of the worst-hit businesses was the Soundlounge in Kerikeri, Northland's only independent record store, where on Thursday afternoon water from an overflowing gutter entered the ceiling cavity and gushed into the shop, damaging thousands of dollars worth of stock.
The weather also took its toll on the Far North's power network. Yesterday morning 600 households were without power, mainly in Oue, Waimamaku and Horeke in South Hokianga.
By 4pm all but 60 households, most of them near Waimamaku, had had their power restored. Top Energy linemen had to call in police when a hostile landowner refused to allow them access to damaged lines in the Wekaweka Valley. More outages were expected overnight.
The weather also forced the cancellation of the first day of the biennial Ngati Hine Festival, which normally brings thousands of people to Otiria Marae near Moerewa. Organisers were due to make a decision about day two of the festival first thing this morning.
Rainfall figures supplied by the Northland Regional Council showed Waihopo, 53km northwest of Kaitaia, received 79.55m of rain - the highest in the region - in the 12 hours to 2.15pm yesterday. Towai received 72mm, Oruru 51mm, and Kerikeri 43mm. The lowest totals were recorded in Pouto Pt where just 3mm fell and Wallace Rd in Awaroa which received 5mm.