Auckland weather bomb breaks June record

By Angela Woods, Morgan Tait

With flood water rising over the bonnet and filling the inside of their car, a policeman waded into the water to rescue a disabled a girl and her mother.

The pair became trapped in flood water on Subway Rd, Pukekohe shortly after 3pm during a torrential downpour that saw more than 100 calls to emergency services in the three hours to 4pm today.

Constable Graham Eddy said he was nearby when he was tasked to the incident.

"When I arrived the water was up to the windscreen and the woman driver and her daughter were still in there, so I just took it upon myself to offer them assistance I guess."

He said he waded out in the water that was about 1.2m deep.

"The daughter had a neurological disability and she was freaking out because the water was inside the car and coming up to the seats."

Mr Eddy said the water kept rising as they waited for a tow truck and other emergency services to arrive.

The mother and the girl had to stand on their seats to avoid the rising waters, and the girl became increasingly upset.

"I offered to possibly take the girl out of the car and take her to drier ground but she was hysterical."

He stayed with the pair until the woman's partner arrived and helped carry the girl.

It was the first time Mr Eddy had been involved in such a rescue, he said.

"It was just one of those situations where your main concern is making sure everybody was okay, I didn't know what the full story was until I got up to the car."

While nobody was injured in the incident, Mr Eddy's mobile phone did receive water damage and was yet to be revived last night.

The wettest June hour in history left motorists stranded in their cars, workers trapped in a building and countless properties and businesses flooded and evacuated across Auckland.

Between 1pm and 2pm today, Niwa's Mangere weather station recorded the record-setting 25.4mm of rain - the most intense downpour of rain in an hour to hit Auckland in June.

Onehunga Bay Lagoon, literally. Photo / Stefania Sarnecki
Onehunga Bay Lagoon, literally. Photo / Stefania Sarnecki

The deluge was part of an afternoon of rain that caused havoc across Auckland until showers cleared about 4pm, before the weather system moved southeast towards Bay of Plenty.

Traffic chaos also struck Wellington after a gas leak north of Paekakariki closed State Highway 1 from 10am to 4pm. The leak happened while maintenance was being carried out, but there was no safety concerns or service disruptions.

Fire Service spokesman Jaron Philips said 100 calls were received from Te Atatu Peninsular to Tuakau for flooding-related incidents. He said there was no reports of injuries or wind-related incidents.

"It was fierce and fast moving," he said. "It was quite busy for us, but not at the worst end of the scale of what we have seen."


Flooding at Onehunga this afternoon. Photo / Carol and Hugh Barron
Flooding at Onehunga this afternoon. Photo / Carol and Hugh Barron

The most dramatic incident was in Pukekohe where three people had to be rescued from a car submerged on Subway Rd. On Waller St, Onehunga, a worker was trapped in the upper storey of a factory as the exit downstairs was flooded and there were reports of "waves" of floodwaters on Beachcroft Ave in the suburb.

The Dress Smart mall carpark was also flooded, and residents whose properties bordered the Onehunga Bay Lagoon had calf-deep water in their yards.

Streets, including parts of the Northwestern Motorway, were described as resembling rivers as the arterial route saw surface flooding.

Small creeks and rivers quickly flooded or threatened to, with photos emerging of gardens and streets swamped by muddy waters. Matipo Primary School in Te Atatu is expected to remain closed tomorrow after a number of its buildings flooded.


WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan said the localised rain was a result of subtropic air feeding the usual winter rain clouds over Auckland.

"There was 100 per cent humidity, the rain clouds were quite literally forming over Auckland as the slow moving band of rain was fed by the subtropics."

The weather system was heading towards Hawke's Bay and the Bay of Plenty overnight, before travelling further down the country, he said.

It was likely more heavy rain events would strike Auckland until the end of July, with another forecast as early as Sunday, he said.

Motorists were advised to drive to the conditions and avoid flooded areas.

- NZ Herald

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