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Farmer uses tractor to rescue family

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017

A family has been rescued from flood waters by a farmer with a tractor in Northland and power is out and transport is disrupted in a wet Auckland.

The severe wet weather predicted for the weekend has arrived.

A video of a slip threatening a house on Waiheke Island is getting plenty of hits on social media but a Fire Service spokeswoman says she has no details of the event and local board councillors say the same.

The Fire Service has responded to 50 weather-related calls in Auckland on Friday night and mostly crews have been doing what they can to divert water.

Two cars were caught in surface flooding in Remuera but no one was in them and it was a minor incident, the spokeswoman said.

The MetService continues to warn of severe weather this weekend in many places already cleaning up from floods and in some new ones.

The family trapped in their Waiomio Valley home were taken to safety by a farmer using a tractor, says Wayne Martin, the chief fire officer at Kawakawa Fire Station.

He said the water was too deep to use a fire truck.

A video taken by Becky Robinson of flooding on Wainui Rd at Karangahape Marae near Kaeo in Northland has been posted to the Whangaroa District Noticeboard Facebook page and others have also shared images of flooding on Friday night.

"There is localised flooding from the heavy downfalls," Northland Civil Defence says.

The region was holding emergency meetings for a drought until the rain came down heavily this week.

Kerikeri Rugby Club declared "rugby stops for nothing!" and held a working bee on Friday but many events in Auckland on Saturday are cancelled.

Power is out in parts of Auckland but most outages are small and transport to the eastern suburbs is disrupted.

MetService says rain rates of 15 to 20mm/hr are being detected in Auckland on Friday afternoon.

The weather forecaster says there will be rain across the country through to Saturday afternoon.

"Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty seem to collect the most and there is a bulls eye around the Takaka region as per the severe weather warning we currently have," MetService says.

In Northland a further 100 to 130mm may fall, 80 to 100mm may accumulate in Auckland, 100 to 140mm in the Coromandel, and the Bay of Plenty can expect between 90mm and 140mm, according to the MetService.

The regions have faced severe flooding as a result of the heavy rainfall.

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll said the volume of rain that fell over the Hunua Ranges in just 12 hours on Tuesday was "off the chart" and well exceeds a one in 100-year event.

"It's not over yet," he warned.

Watercare is urging Aucklanders to reduce their water use by 20 litres per day until the end of March because this week's storm has restricted the treatment capacity of the city's largest water treatment plant.

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