Thunderstorms, heavy rain prompt safety warning to holidaymakers on roads
Holidaymakers heading home from Northland after the Easter break are facing treacherous conditions on the roads.
A heavy rain warning has in place for northern and eastern parts of the upper North Island and a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Northland throughout today and tomorrow morning.
Metservice has warned there is a chance of some thunderstorms becoming severe, bringing localised downpours of 25mm to 40mm rain per hour. There is also a low risk of small tornadoes near the east coast until late this evening.
Heavy rain watches are also in force for eastern parts of Auckland, north of Orewa, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty west of Tauranga.
Waka Kotahi spokesperson, Kobus Du Toit, said motorists should delay their travel if they could.
"We really encourage people to just take their time and be patient and to drive to the conditions, because we know when it's really intense downpours it can make driving quite difficult, so we just want people to get home safely and have an enjoyable Easter. We really don't want people to be involved in crashes."
But he said holidaymakers who had to be on the roads should watch out for surface flooding, slips, fallen trees and branches.
He said they should also treat downed powerlines as live and stay well clear.