Hope everyone is OK.

Heavy rain pounds North Island
Saturday, 28 February 2009

Wild weather lashing the country has brought with it flooding, power cuts, slips and car accidents.

The worst hit area was the top half of the North Island with State Highway 2 by Katikati in the Waikato closed due to flooding.

Diversions have been put in place for traffic via SH 29.

Two people died in a car crash at Waipu, south of Whangarei, which was believed to be related to surface road flooding, Inspector Chris Tate told NZPA.

Two women died as their car spun out of control and crashed into another vehicle, just after 1.30pm.

Acting northern fire communications shift commander, Paul Radden, said the service had been called out to at least 50 weather related incidents in Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

He said they had been called to minor flooding, lifting roofs and downed powerlines.

Winds gusted to more than 100kmh overnight throughout much of the top half of the North Island and traffic speed on Auckland Harbour Bridge was reduced to 60kmh as a precaution.

More heavy rain and gale force winds were expected over much of Northland today and police and emergency services advised people to stay inside unless their trip was urgent.

On the Coromandel Peninsula up to 180mm of rain was expected by tomorrow morning.

About 70 houses on the North Shore are without power after an oak tree fell on powerlines today.

Vector Energy spokeswoman Phillipa White said crews were working on the problem, but it might take some time to cut the tree up and fix the line.

Overnight about 8000 homes and businesses lost power for a short time on the North Shore and to the west and north west of Auckland.

One of the biggest weather casualties was the Auckland Racing Club's $2.2 million New Zealand Derby meeting at Ellerslie.

The day's racing was postponed for 24 hours because of the weather outlook.

The MetService still has a rain warning for Auckland expecting heavy rain to continue until about 9pm.

Further down the island there were reports of just minor damage from weather incidents.

Central police communications team leader Hector Douglas said a car had driven into a bank on the Rimutaka Hill between Upper Hutt and the Wairarapa.

There had also been slips on the ranges.

Central fire communications shift manager David Meikle said the fire service had only a handful of callouts, mostly to Levin where branches had come down on powerlines.

Meanwhile, the South Island will need to brace for heavy weather to reach it tonight.

The MetService was expecting heavy rain in Nelson and Marlborough this afternoon and this evening.

It could reach as far south as the Canterbury foothills tonight and the hills and ranges of North Otago.

-NZPA

From here.