Surface flooding has returned in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga and around Eden Park, with the week’s heavy rain reactivating natural springs in the areas.
Rain has returned to the city overnight. Authorities would be providing advice to Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown today on whether to extend the state of emergency in the city. The declaration, made last Friday night, was for seven days and lapses tonight.
More than 200 properties in the city have now been red-stickered, declaring them uninhabitable, and more than 1000 properties are yellow-stickered (meaning they have moderate damage and access is restricted).
Meanwhile in Coromandel State Highway 25A (Kōpū-Hikuai Road) has been damaged further overnight, with no trace of the road remaining.
Waka Kotahi NZ is continuing to urge all road users to adjust their driving to the conditions over the coming long weekend, especially in flood-affected areas.
An Orange heavy rain warning is in place for the western half of Bay of Plenty until 11am today.
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Strong winds were already buffeting Auckland last night, with wind speeds reaching 65km/h in parts of the city at 5pm. MetService meteorologist Dan Corrigan said the rain expected overnight was a bigger risk: “We could see more severe impacts in any place where that does occur.”
AEM said Thursday and Friday would bring “perfect thunderstorm weather”.
“Our advice is to keep an eye on the rain radar on MetService’s website.”
MetService meteorologist Jessie Owen said that if thunderstorms were to occur, then they would be localised.
“My advice for Auckland is as always just to keep up with the current forecast, the watches and the warnings and heed the advice of your local council and emergency management,” said Owen.
Further weather watches and warnings are in effect for the North Island.
Eastern Northland south of the Bay of Islands is under a heavy rain watch from 10pm last through to 10am today.
The eastern areas of Auckland, the Hunua Ranges and the Coromandel Peninsula were also under heavy rain watches last night.
An orange heavy rain warning is in place for Bay of Plenty west of about Kawerau, including the Rotorua Lakes District, Western Bay of Plenty District and Tauranga City areas until 11am today.
AEM controller Rachel Kelleher said people needed to be “really vigilant” about weather conditions, especially if they were travelling for the long weekend.
Kelleher said staff were reviewing the state of Auckland’s emergency status - which is due to end today.
Auckland Council building services manager Ian McCormick said his team had been “really impressed” by Aucklanders’ resilience and encouraged people to reach out if they needed support.
Auckland Transport’s Stacey van der Putten said about 1500 flood-damaged cars had been towed across the city.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s monarch, King Charles III, has sent his “deepest condolences” to New Zealand following the devastating floods which have left four people dead.
In the King’s message, he said he had “long admired the strength and resourcefulness of New Zealanders”.
As cleanup efforts ramp up across Auckland, public transportation remains disrupted.
Rail services are running on reduced timetables with bus rail replacement services operating between Britomart and Newmarket and the Onehunga Line and Southern Line between Ōtāhuhu and Newmarket. Bus services are operating on all routes with extended journey times due to detours as a result of road closures.
More than 30 roads in the Auckland region remain closed yesterday due to damage, AEM announced at the briefing.
Tāmaki Drive is one of the many roads still affected by slips and motorists are being told to “travel with care”. More than 550 staff are on the ground dealing with road maintenance, working to clear and open roads.
Due to massive slips and other damage, a number of state highways are still closed, and there are now extensive detours in place that will greatly lengthen travel times in the impacted areas, Waka Kotahi warned Waitangi weekend travellers.
SH23 to Raglan and SH1 from the Brynderwyns to Waipu both remain closed and are highly unlikely to open during the long weekend.
Due to damage, the Hibiscus Coast Highway on-ramp in Auckland is closed. To give drivers who must travel in the area a safe alternative to SH16, which is still impacted by flooding, the toll on the Northern Gateway will be suspended until February 10, or until the on-ramp is reopened.
SH25A in Coromandel has suffered major damage and will be closed for some time, with an update to be provided following geotechnical inspections next week.
Close to 200 Auckland buildings have been issued a red placard and close to 800 properties have been yellow stickered.
People cleaning out their homes affected by floodwaters are being reminded to wash their hands regularly and treat all items they handle as contaminated. Produce or items that have come into contact with floodwaters should be thrown out.
A Waitangi weekend swim will off the cards for Aucklanders if the sun does come out, due to health risks caused by the flood waters.
Auckland Council’s Safeswim programme manager Nick Vigar said although this would be frustrating for Aucklanders, the recent flood events had had a significant impact on our beaches. Flood waters had washed debris into our waterways and these hazards may still be in the water.
“Slips and cliff instability also put beaches at risk, with the threat of rockfall and debris falling onto the sand below. To keep everyone safe, we are asking Aucklanders to stay away from our beaches this long weekend to allow time for the water quality to improve and clean-ups to take place,” he added.
Yesterday, Auckland Council and Manukau Urban Māori Authority announced the cancellation of Waitangi ki Manukau at Hayman Park due to the park conditions.
January was Auckland’s wettest month since records began, according to NIWA meteorologists.
A total of 539mm of rain was recorded at Albert Park in the central city, smashing the previous monthly record of 420mm set in February 1869.
“Total January rainfall was more than twice the previous record for the month, contributing to an exceptionally wet summer and the wettest three months on record,” said Honorary Associate Professor Anthony Fowler from the School of Environment at University of Auckland.
“It was already a very wet January before the storm on the 27th, but that single event doubled the total over a single day. Rainfall intensities in the early evening, at the height of the storm, were quite astounding.”
NIWA described Friday’s rainfall as at least a 1-in-200-year event.