Storm batters North; Auckland colder than Dunedin

A car was swept away and houses flooded as torrential rain battered Northland for a second straight week.

A fire officer watched in horror as a car heading along State Highway 12 was suddenly swept away by a flash flood before coming to rest in a ditch last night.

Maungaturoto fire station officer Jodie Bennetto said luckily the elderly driver's car was left upright and he was rescued by emergency workers.

In one house 14 people were stranded as flood waters coursed through their property after the small township south of Whangarei was saturated by three hours of intense rain. They were joined by residents of nearby house and kept in communication with the fire service by phone.

Bennetto said firefighters were ready to rescue them with a borrowed row boat but the water receded when the rain eased at 9pm.

Meanwhile, the main road between Auckland and Whangarei was last night blocked by three major slips and flooding at Brynderwyn.

Police closed State Highway 1 and diverted traffic along State Highway 12.

A section of State Highway 12 south of Kaikohe was also down to one lane due to a fresh washout.

Northland Civil Defence last night issued warnings against unnecessary travel with rain and wind predicted to cause fresh problems throughout the region.

The worst of last night's weather appeared to have avoided the Far north inundated by floodwaters last weekend.

The worst of the wet weather was expected to be over today.

Meanwhile, Auckland plummeted to near-record cold temperatures over the weekend, and the big chill is set to continue.

The temperature dropped in parts of Auckland to lower than in Dunedin and Christchurch yesterday, and forecasters say it's going to stay that way into next week.

Unofficial temperatures as low as -4°C were recorded in inland parts of West Auckland - equalling the coldest recorded temperature for Auckland in July, from back in 1965.

However, weather experts are quick to point out this weekend's big chill was an unofficial recording. The official minimum of -1.3°C was recorded at Whenuapai Airport.

MetService meteorologist, Philippa Murdoch, said most parts of Auckland had temperatures in the low single digits early yesterday.

"For Auckland the overnight minimum on [Friday] night of 2°C, the same as the night before, was the coldest night of the month so far, as well as colder than the lowest for June."

Bad journalism

If the official reading is -1.3C then that is the temperature for Auckland. To suggest that the unofficial temperature of -4C is the coldest temperature since 1965 (which will have been measured at an official site) is just bad journalism. Nice that they managed to make the "don't be so stupid" comments from the weather experts into part of the story.

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