Heavy rain causes extensive flooding in parts of Auckland

Source: 1News

Homes have been evacuated in parts of Auckland after heavy rain caused extensive flooding across the area.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand said they received more than 150 calls for assistance, mainly for flooding at residential properties and to help people trapped in their cars.

Fifty homes have been evacuated, people trapped, and cars swept away due to flooding, according to the Science Media Centre.

A heavy rain warning is in place for Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, and Great Barrier Island until 4pm.

So far, the worst affected areas were the city's west, with parts of the North Shore also affected.

The main street in Kumeū has closed after it appeared to turn into a river.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said it was the second wettest day on record for Kumeū since records began in 1943.

The weather agency said 208.2mm of rain fell from 9am Monday to 9am Tuesday, including 201mm of in the 14 hours from Monday night to Tuesday morning.

NIWA also said 149 per cent of the August monthly normal rainfall fell in a single day.

"Motorists are advised that SH16 through Kumeū remains closed due to flooding in the township between Matua Road and Riverhead Road," Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said in a statement.

"While rain in the area has eased for now, the overnight storm surge has also caused flooding in a range of other locations though out west Auckland, and those who need to be on the roads are urged to drive with caution."

Kumeū locals told Breakfast's Wilson Longhurst the flooding was unlike anything they had seen in 30 years.

They also said usually flooding in the area happens on the other side of the road.

The nearby New World is also closed after suffering damage, but a grocer down the road is open for people needing to access essential supplies.

Waka Kotahi also said there were reports of fallen trees and slips across the wider network which pose a risk to road users. The weather has also caused significant impact to bus services and some ferry services have been cancelled.

"Heavy rain warnings remain in place for Auckland and Northland which could further impact the network," the agency said.

"Our essential maintenance crews are working as hard as they can but these slips and debris will take time to clean up and flood waters take time to subside.

"Motorists are being encouraged to assess their need for essential travel and follow all updates and travel information via our Journey Planner or by following the Waka Kotahi Northland/Auckland Twitter page."

Auckland Emergency Management Controller Rachel Kelleher earlier told Breakfast for anyone advised to evacuate, that that overrides any Covid-19 alert level requirements to stay a home.

"It's important for people to know that if they do need to evacuate, they can't seek shelter at home, that they should do that and they should do it safely," she said.

"If people do need to evacuate, still try and bring their essential items with them, if they can bring a face mask do that and where possible do try and keep in their family bubbles, but absolutely their safety is paramount."

Shelter is available for those who need it at the Auckland Council buildings at 6 Henderson Valley Road, but Kelleher advised people to avoid driving through flooded roads which could be dangerous.

She said the flooding was "an evolving situation" and that they'd have a better picture of the damage in the daylight.

She said emergency services had been accessing affected areas overnight, but darkness and access was making the job challenging.

"Weather can be unpredictable and this is one of those situations where the weather conditions have been a lot worse than expected," Kelleher said.

"We can for Auckland at times have very localised events that are difficult to predict at a regional level."

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said rain was forecast to continue until this afternoon, "with some intense bursts still to come".

"If you or property is at risk, phone 111. For support contact Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00," he urged.

"We have resources on standby to provide shelter for anyone that needs to evacuate their homes. Those in the Henderson area can head to the main council building at 6 Henderson Valley Road if they need shelter.

"Covid-19 means very strict protocols at Civil Defence Centres."

However, Goff reiterated advice from officials that the need to evacuate overrides any Covid-19 alert level requirements to stay at home.

"If you do need to evacuate, bring essential items with you, wear a face-covering and maintain 2m distance from people not in your bubble. And if you must be out on the roads, remember never to drive through flood waters."