Thousands of households are without power as heavy rain and strong winds hammer Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel Peninsula .
MetService said the region has had about 40 mms of rain this afternoon and although it has eased another burst is expected in the next few hours.
The storm is one of a series of fronts moving through the North Island. Auckland was battered this morning, with roofs torn off houses, flooding and trees felled.
Two Interislander sailings have been cancelled as the Wellington region braces for severe winds this evening.
A spokesman said heavy swells were expected in Cook Strait.
As a result, the 10.45pm sailing from Wellington to Picton, and the return journey at 2.45am have been cancelled.
Interislander will make any futher decisions on cancellations in the morning.
Emergency services said residents reported small tornadoes in Bay of Plenty this afternoon.
The Fire Service said there had been damage to commercial buildings in Tauranga and some homes in Papamoa and Mount Maunganui.
Powerco crews are working to restore power to about 4500 properties in the Bay of Plenty and another 1400 on the Coromandel Peninsula.
MetService is advising people in the upper North Island to brace for another onslaught of heavy rain, along with winds gusting up to 120 kms/hr this evening.
It said between 20 to 30 mms of rain per hour is expected to fall from 6pm.
In the Wellington region, severe gales and heavy rain are forecast for Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Snow on the way for South Island
In the South Island several areas will get heavy snow this evening.
MetService has a heavy snowfall warning in place for southern and eastern parts of the South Island, especially in Fiordland and Southland, but police say conditions are currently moderate.
Canterbury and eastern parts of Marlborough, MetService said, could get more than 10 cms of snow this evening, down to about 400 metres.
It said this level of snowfall had the potential to cause significant disruptions to transport and could damage trees and powerlines.
MetService said big seas were also likely to batter Wellington's south coast for the fourth time this year.