West News Wire: Record rains in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, caused flash floods that resulted in three fatalities and one missing. This extensive disruption included the closure of the airport and the evacuation of residents.
As the torrential rains subsided after Friday’s rainfall and flooding, which made it the wettest day ever recorded in Auckland, weather agencies declared a state of emergency for the 1.6 million-person city. The region received more rain in one day than it generally receives all summer, with some areas receiving more than 150mm (6 inches) of rain in only three hours.
Highways were closed and floodwater poured into homes. Hundreds of people were stranded at Auckland Airport overnight after parts of the terminal were flooded and flights cancelled.
Police said they found a man’s body in a flooded culvert and another in a flooded car park. They said one person was missing after being swept away by floodwaters, while another remained unaccounted for after a landslide brought down a house in the suburb of Remuera.
While the heavy rain had eased on Saturday, another spell of downpours was possible on Sunday, the national weather forecaster said, adding that its effect was “expected to be severe and wide-reaching because of the saturated ground”.
“Our priority is to ensure that Aucklanders are safe, that they’re housed and that they have access to the essential services that they need,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said.
He said the city was in for a big cleanup and that people should remain indoors if possible. “This is an unprecedented event in recent memory,” Hipkins said.
Air New Zealand said it had resumed domestic flights in and out of Auckland on Saturday afternoon but was not yet sure when international flights would resume.