Rain pounds northern New Zealand; further flooding expected
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Auckland prepared for another round of flooding as rain battered northern New Zealand's Northland region, which declared an emergency Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of the deluge.
A state of emergency was already in place for Auckland, which saw deadly record rainfall Friday. Officials had closed schools for the week and were asking people to work from home if possible as the nation's largest city braced for more flooding.
On Friday, the amount of rain that would typically fall during an entire summer hit in a single day. At one point on Friday evening, more than 15 centimeters (6 inches) of rain fell in three hours, killing four in flooding and landslides.
Emergency officials said some 200 homes and businesses around the city were assessed after the floods as too unsafe to enter.
Resident Cassie Clark examined flood damage to one Auckland home Tuesday, saying everything was destroyed.
“The beds, the linen, the clothes, the couches, everything inside is ruined. The actual walls are damaged, it’s all soft now, it’s not going to hold,” Clark said. "Everything that this family has had over the last 10 years has been taken away from them in a split second.”
Starting Tuesday, Northland was under a “red warning” — used for “only the most extreme weather events,” according to the MetService website.
“As expected, it’s lines of heavy falls coming in in bands, so stop-start with the risk of extremely intense rainfalls,” said MetService Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths.
Griffiths said rain was expected throughout Tuesday evening with heavier rainfall anticipated overnight until about 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“This rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding,” said Auckland Emergency Management Controller Rachel Kelleher. “Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities.”
Auckland Airport has warned that flight schedules may be disrupted for several days.
AP journalist Moussa Moussa contributed to this report from Sydney, Australia.
The Associated Press