UPDATED: Auckland's Tamaki Drive re-opens as weather improves
UPDATE / 1.25pm: The New Zealand Transport Agency says Auckland's Tamaki Drive has been re-opened.
NZTA says: "Tamaki Drive in Auckland is now fully open in both directions. Clean up will continue, but will not impede traffic."
Auckland Transport says Quay Street, in central Auckland, is open again. Part of the street near the ferry building was closed, earlier, because of concerns over the building's weather vane.
Meadowbank's Harapaki Rd has also re-opened.
9.30am: Strong winds and heavy rain hitting Auckland should peak in the next few hours, the MetService says.
The tropical storm – the tail end of Tropical Cyclone Ita – is playing havoc with Auckland’s morning traffic.
Auckland Transport says conditions are terrible, with flooding closing Tamaki Drive between Kohimarama and The Strand, with some traffic lights out.
Power is out in some areas, with reports of power lines down in Meadowbank and in Titirangi.
A Vector update at 10am says trees on power lines has caused power outages in Greenhithe, Totaravale, Kumeu, Helensville, Hatfields Beach, Maraetai, Northcote, Stanmore Bay, Remuera, Massey and Piha, while power has been restored to Birkdale. There are 109 traffic lights out, the statement says.
Just after 9am, Auckland Airport media relations manager Katie Moore says there are no delays or cancellations at Auckland Airport this morning because of weather.
There were slips overnight in Wellington.
MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett told NBR ONLINE the wind gusts and heavy rainfall will peak in Auckland over the next hour or two, with almost 30mm of rain falling at Auckland Airport between midnight and about 8am.
Heavy tropical downpours have reached 10-15mm an hour this morning.
He says the weather is being driven by a tropical low, which is just to the north-west of Northland, sending a large area of rain sweeping down the North Island.
“The most intense rain on the fronts is moving in across Northland and now coming down to Auckland – we’re seeing some wind gusts on the leading edge of that front starting to really strengthen, so we’ve seen gusts already in excess of 100km/h for some of those eastern, exposed locations around the Hauraki Gulf, and up towards the far north of the country, like Cape Reinga, has seen gusts around 130km/h in the last several hours.”
Areas of strong rain and winds will reach central areas of New Zealand by the middle of the day, reaching the east coast of the South Island by this afternoon and tonight. The low tracks slowly to the west of the country and, by Saturday, moves to the south and west of Fiordland.
“So this is as ugly as it gets as far as the weather is concerned today. It’s slowly improving through the weekend so by Easter Sunday many parts of the country are at least enjoying some dry, bright spells. There will still be a few showers but I think for the most part it will be far better than today.”
Between midnight and about 8am, 28mm of rain has fallen in Auckland of the between 70mm to 90mm of rain expected today. That pushes the monthly to 56mm of rain, while Auckland’s mean rainfall for April is 92mm.
The MetService has a heavy rain warning for the ranges to the northwest of Nelson, which are expected to get 200-300mm of rain today and tomorrow.
The rain will be welcomed by western areas of Waikato and Northland, which have been relatively dry this year.
Nuffield st- coffee elsewhere! pic.twitter.com/ZUtNeEQzVW— Chris Matthews (@hidefcameras) April 16, 2014
Westhaven Dr by Harbour Bridge, 10 mins ago pic.twitter.com/hKjGj7fJdO— Cameron Pitches (@cam_140) April 16, 2014