More rain on way for sodden North

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to hit western parts of Auckland and Taranaki later today but skies will clear in time for New Year's Eve, weather forecasters predict.

Torrential rain sent campers on the Coromandel fleeing to higher ground yesterday, with the rain continuing overnight.

The fierce deluge sent slips across roads, left rivers swollen and had many residents along the peninsula's eastern coast cleaning up flooded sections and streets, at a time when visitor numbers at the summer destination were at their peak.

Whitianga recorded 120mm of rain in 24 hours - more than the average monthly rainfall, MetService spokesman Daniel Corbett said.

However, the front was weakening as it headed east towards Gisborne, he said.

Heavy rain also fell overnight on the Kaimai Ranges, Tauranga and Whangaparoa, and rain and thunder would hit western parts of Auckland and Taranaki this afternoon.

"It's not been great for the holidaymakers. But it can't rain forever ... a few more showers and some thunder today but a bit of a drier prospect tomorrow," Mr Corbett said.

Downpours and flooding haven't been the only extreme holiday weather this season.

A tornado blew through Papamoa Beach outside Tauranga yesterday morning, causing damage to house roofs.

Papamoa Fire Service spokesman Allan Bicker said the clean-up had gone well and the damage was minimal.

"There were tiles off roofs but we replaced the tiles, and those who had broken tiles just covered them with tarpaulins."

Apart from surface flooding, there was little other damage, he said.

- Cassandra Mason of APNZ

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