Flooding in Auckland: International flights to resume on Sunday, residents ordered to stay at home, storms ahead
Auckland residents have been warned to stay home with more dangerous weather on the way after horrific flooding devastated the city.
Three lives have been claimed by the flooding – two in the Wairau Valley and one in Remuera – following torrential rain on Friday.
Authorities admitted the death toll could rise quickly and New Zealand’s Met Service meteorology center warned more heavy rain is on the way on Sunday.
“Our team is tracking a number for intense thunderstorms east of Auckland,” it tweeted Saturday evening.
“We can issue a red thunderstorm warning for localized areas if they are intense.”
In light of the forecast for Sunday, Auckland officials have urged residents to stay home and keep travel to a minimum.
Photos show hundreds of residents displaced across the city as rain continues through the end of the week (pictured, residents in floodwaters)
Aucklanders have been urged to stay home if they are safe to do so as more rain is expected in the flood-ravaged city on Sunday (pictured, the rain radar for Auckland on Saturday night)
Major roads have been blocked by the devastating floods, causing long traffic jams on highways (above)
Widespread flooding in Auckland has claimed three lives and authorities warned the number could rise soon (pictured, a flooded construction site in Auckland)
“This has been an incredibly challenging 24 hours for our communities and recovery will take some time,” said Rachel Kelleher, Auckland Emergency Management on-duty controller.
“We want people to keep themselves safe, keep an eye on the upcoming weather reports and stay home if it’s safe to do so.”
Kelleher also urged people to stay home at night and avoid unnecessary travel.
Residents of the city have been evacuated, with severe damage to homes and buildings.
Auckland recorded its wettest day on record on Friday with more than 150mm of rain in just three hours.
The flash flood caused Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown to declare a state of emergency on Friday evening due to the extent of the ‘damage, displacement and disruption’ caused by the weather.
Elton John’s concert in the city, expected to be attended by some 40,000 people, was canceled Friday due to flooding.
Major roads have also been blocked by the flooding, causing long traffic jams on highways.
The wet weather will linger over the city for the rest of the week, but the heaviest rain is expected to fall further south.
Three people are dead and several are missing as record levels of rain, wild flooding and landslides have ravaged Auckland
Flooding has wreaked havoc on major infrastructure around Auckland (pictured, a damaged road)
The Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō have all been placed under severe thunderstorms with local forecast of falls of up to 40 mm per hour.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins made a plea on Saturday for all residents who can safely stay at home to do so.
“The degree of devastation in some areas is significant,” the prime minister said, 1News reports.
“Our priority is to ensure Aucklanders are safe, housed and have access to the essential services they need.
“The loss of life underscores the magnitude of this weather event and how quickly it became tragic.”
Mr Hipkins also told Aucklanders to refrain from ‘panic buying’ as many supermarkets are still open in the city, saying ‘there is no need’.
Travelers are stranded at Auckland’s international and domestic airports as floodwaters rise (pictured Friday night)
A state of emergency was declared in Auckland on Friday due to devastating flooding caused by heavy rainfall (pictured, an aid worker and residents wade through a flood in Auckland)
Fire and emergency crews responded to 719 weather-related calls between Friday morning and 7:30 am Saturday morning, Nine News reports.
Those calls included 126 rescues for people trapped in cars or homes, 84 “priority one” incidents where people were at high risk, and 237 “priority two” incidents where people were at potential risk.
A total of 2,242 calls were forwarded to the employees of the fire alarm center.
Photos and videos online show hundreds of residents in the city have been displaced – though the actual number has not yet been determined.
Images show significant damage to homes, cars and key infrastructure around Auckland, with people fleeing their flooded homes.
Fortunately, international flights will resume on Sunday morning with departures at about 5am and the airport will accept arrivals from 7am.
Both international and domestic airports were suddenly closed on Friday evening after water flooded check-in areas and terminals.
New Zealand’s Met Service meteorological center said 154mm of rain fell over the airport (above) between 9am and 8pm on Friday – the 12-hour record for the area is 161.8mm
Auckland Emergency Management Andrew Clark anyone who doesn’t have a safe place to evacuate or needs help to get to the Civil Defense Center set up in Kelston (pictured, residents in floodwaters)
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins made a plea on Saturday for all residents who can safely stay home to do so (pictured, residents in a flooded Auckland street)
International flights will resume Sunday morning after flooding shuts down domestic and international airports (pictured, airport on Friday night)
Domestic flights resumed on Saturday.
However, the continued delay means stranded international travelers are stuck at the flooded airport for another night.
“We know this is extremely frustrating, but passenger safety is our top priority,” Auckland Airport tweeted Saturday afternoon.
Sydney man Mark Andrews – who was due to fly home at 6.15pm on Friday – said about 1,000 displaced passengers had stayed overnight at the airport.
Making matters worse, Mr Andrews said blankets were not handed out until 5am on Saturday, while people were unable to leave due to customer regulations on top of the flooding.
“A lot of people were cold,” he told Nine, describing the airport as a “zomebie land.”