Auckland braced for dangerous rainfall days after deadly flood
A dangerous amount of rain is forecast for Auckland, days after it was its wettest day on record in a storm that claimed four lives.
A state of emergency was declared on Friday when a volume of rain that would typically fall over an entire season hit in a single day. At least 5,000 homes and businesses were being assessed for flood and landslide damage and several roads remained closed after more than 15cm of rain fell in three hours.
The emergency was lifted on Monday morning but Auckland mayor Wayne Brown warned that dangerous conditions were forecast to return.
“My team's current focus and our big worry is that some Aucklanders might think the worst is behind us, but it isn’t,” he told reporters.
Up to 12cm of rain was forecast in some areas that were already waterlogged.
“The ground is so saturated and the drains are so full that if anything, it could be more dangerous than even Friday,” Mr Brown said.
He said the number of residents of Auckland and surrounding areas asking for help due to storm damage would continue to rise.
“It has taken some time for everyone to appreciate just how big and widespread an event this has been and it hasn’t finished yet,” Mr Brown said.
“The downfall was by far the biggest in our history. It was well beyond even what our emergency people either imagined or planned for,” he added.
The heavy rain warning for Tuesday covered Auckland and further north on the North Island.
“This rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding. Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities,” a New Zealand MetService statement said.
🌧Here it comes🌧
Deep, moisture-laden clouds with cold tops mean lots of rain. A deepening low just northwest of the country sinks south overnight, bringing the area of intense rainfall to the far north.
See the 🔺Red & 🟠 Orange Heavy Rain Warnings at https://t.co/qHyE5zzql5 pic.twitter.com/dzndXTG0ft
— MetService (@MetService) January 30, 2023
Auckland schools will remain closed until next week.
Auckland Airport has resumed operations that were shut down by Friday’s storm but the airport warned in a statement that flight schedules may be disrupted for several days.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report