PM urges Aucklanders to support each other amid catastrophic floods

Sat, Jan 28

Join 1News for live updates as wild weather sweeps across the North Island today.

What you need to know:

  • Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has urged Aucklanders to support each other as floodwaters remain high.
  • Elton John's concert at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium has been cancelled this evening.
  • Flights at Auckland Airport have been delayed, cancelled or rescheduled and won't resume before noon on Saturday.
  • A local state of emergency has been declared for Auckland, and will remain in place for seven days.
  • A Civil Defence Centre is open at Saint Leonards Road School, in Kelston, to assist people displaced or in need of assistance.

5.45am: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown is set meet Prime Minister Chris Hipkins today after yesterday's devastating floods.

In a statement from the mayor's office, Brown confirmed he would be attending briefings with Auckland Council teams managing the emergency response early this morning.

The mayor will also be visiting affected communities in coming days.

"I want to thank our emergency services and the team here for their hard work and dedication during very difficult circumstances," Brown said.

4.38am: Auckland Airport says travellers are beginning to head home as floodwaters recede.

Flooding is beginning to clear at Auckland Airport.

More than 2000 travellers and airport staff had been cut off by flooded roads around the airport precinct, the airport said in a statement.

"This is not the start any of us wanted for the long weekend in Auckland. We want to genuinely thank travellers for their patience overnight, as we contended with rising floodwaters, a runway closure and multiple flight delays, diversions and cancellations," said chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui.

"We’re also really grateful to the retailers that remained open tonight to support travellers and provide food and drink, as well as our team at the Strata lounge and other airport lounges who have worked through the night to care for travellers."

A number of passengers are still waiting airside at the international terminal. Auckland Airport said it would be working with borders agencies to help those travellers through formal border processing formalities before they could depart.

"Due to the damage overnight and the need to check key terminal infrastructure, no domestic or international flights will be arriving or departing from Auckland Airport before noon Saturday, 28 January."

Flooding is beginning to clear at Auckland Airport.

Travellers have been encouraged to get in touch with their airlines for the most up-to-date information.

3.43am: Police were on the scene to assist a family in Ponsonby struggling to move through floodwaters yesterday evening.

A witness said the family, which included a baby, was trying to evacuate from their Airbnb that was "minutes away from flooding", but couldn't wade through the water alone.

Police rescue family of three in Ponsonby from floods.

3.32am: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty fronted media from the Beehive’s bunker at 2am on Saturday to provide an update on the Auckland floods.

READ MORE: PM to travel to Auckland to assess "unprecedented" flood damage

3.18am: Air New Zealand has offered customers impacted by travel this weekend the option to claim flight credit for their cancelled flights, or transfer their travel to another date or destination until Monday 6 February.

The airline has advised travellers to check the Air New Zealand travel alerts page for updates.

3.07am: The North Shore Civil Defence Centre has now been relocated to Massey University's Albany Campus from its original location at North Shore Events Centre.

"Those who are displaced or need assistance can access the centre via the main entrance at Gate 1," Auckland Emergency Management said in a statement.

Security will remain at the North Shore Events Centre to redirect those requiring assistance.

3.03am: Police say flooding and slips in Dome Valley, Puhoi and the Brynderwyns have closed SH1 in both directions.

A large number of motorists are currently stranded in the Warkworth area without food or accommodation, police said.

In the meantime, the new motorway between Puhoi and Warkworth has been temporarily opened so traffic can be diverted, easing some of the heavy congestion in the area.

Drivers are being urged to remain patient as the traffic backlog clears.

2.58am: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says his advice to Aucklanders is to be kind to one another.

"While the emergency teams are doing their best, in many cases, their mobility is also currently restricted."

He said the extent of the flooding and the number of people displaced by the floods is still unclear.

"At this point, right now, with water still very high... we're really asking people to do everything that they can to support each other."

2.19am: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has told reporters he will be visiting Auckland on Saturday.

Chris Hipkins and Kieran McAnulty address media at the National Crisis Management Centre, Wellington.

The newly-appointed Prime Minister said there are around 40 people at the Kelston evacuation centre.

The New Zealand Defence Force is currently on the ground in Auckland.

There were around 1000 people at Auckland Airport who had to wait on tarmacs or were delayed as a result of roads being damaged by flooding, Hipkins said.

2.07am: Meanwhile, there are two more support centres open in South Auckland at Sutton Park School in Māngere East and the Scouts Den in Māngere Bridge.

1.43am: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is set to provide an update to media shortly at the National Crisis Management Centre in Wellington.

The National Crisis Management Centre in Wellington.

1.21am: Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni has confirmed people affected by the floods will be eligible for Civil Defence payments to help meet their immediate needs.

1.07am: Auckland Domain is unrecognisable, with floods turning the park into what looks like a lake.

The weather also knocked down a tree at the Domain, with the flooded park seen in the background.

12.54am: Auckland Airport says there won't be any domestic or international flights arriving or departing before noon on Saturday 28 January due to damage to surrounding roads.

"Roads at Auckland Airport continue to be impacted by widespread flooding, along with the check in and arrivals areas of the international terminal," a spokesperson said.

"We encourage travellers to get in touch with their airline or check their airline travel app for the latest information about their flight."

12.49am: Two more Civil Defence Centres to assist those displaced by flooding or anyone who needs assistance, Auckland Emergency Management says.

One is at the North Shore Events Centre at 17 Silverfield, Wairau Valley.

The second is at Manu Tukutuku at 32 Riverton Drive, Randwick Park in South Auckland.

Auckland Emergency Management’s duty controller Andrew Clark says it's been a "fast-evolving and far-reaching event".

"The flooding we have seen has been widespread and our first responders are working hard to urgently get to those who need assistance."

"If you do need to evacuate, please take care and remember to bring essential items with you, such as warm clothes, medicines and baby items.

"Please remember to never drive through floodwaters," Clark said.

12.39am: The Government has deployed staff from the New Zealand Defence Force and NEMA to assist in the flooding response.

Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty said that now a state of emergency has been announced, the Government is able to provide support for those impacted by the flooding.

"NEMA has been closely monitoring this event and has activated the National Coordination Centre in the Beehive to coordinate further assistance to the response," McAnulty said.

"I’d like to acknowledge all the agencies whose staff are working hard to manage the impacts of this severe weather. Stay safe and call 111 if you or anyone else is in danger."

12.08am: Elizabeth, Sam and Zoe Jansson-Bush were due to depart for Stockholm via Dubai at 9.15pm for a funeral but have had their flight postponed.

The queue at McDonald's Auckland International Airport on Friday night as flights were delayed. 

Elizabeth told 1News they are getting regular updates about every hour and at this stage are being told no one can go in or out of the airport and the air crew for their flight were not able to get into the terminal.

"Basically their explanation is that no one can go in and out of the airport, and they were told the air crew that were late because of the flooding and heavy traffic were not let through security.

"So everyone is stuck inside regardless of whether the flight is cancelled or not. The only food places open are McDonalds and a convenience store, so everyone is queuing for those."

"No one is allowed to leave and we have to stay upstairs."

She said there were no updates about when they can leave or when their flight will be available.

The siblings have been at the international terminal since 5pm. The funeral they are travelling for is on February 4, so they are hoping they will still make it.

"I have no expectations at this point. We are going to wait here until further updates and plan accordingly.

"We are lucky we are indoors and dry and it sucks we’ve had our flights cancelled, but people out west have it so much worse," Elizabeth said.

11.49pm: PM Chris Hipkins says the Beehive Bunker has been activated to help with the coordination of the emergency response in Auckland.

"I've asked for the frequency of public updates to be increased as soon as possible," he wrote on Twitter.

11.42pm: SH1's Curran St on-ramp is now closed due to a fallen tree blocking lanes.

11.36pm: There are multiple road closures in place across Auckland and Northland this evening, Auckland Transport says.

They include:

SH1 Brynderwyn – closed due to multiple slips

SH12 (multiple locations) – closed due to flooding

SH1 Dome Valley – closed due to multiple slips and tree clearing

SH1 Puhoi – closed due to major slips

SH16 – limited access between Kumeu and Wellsford with impassable sections due to slips and flooding

SH1 Esmonde Rd (northbound) – closed due to flooding

SH1 Greville Rd (northbound) – closed due to flooding

SH20A Kirkbride Tunnel – closed due to flooding

SH25A Coromandel Peninsula – closed due to storm damaged road (underslip). This will be closed for at least the duration of Auckland Anniversary Weekend.

SH25 Coromandel Peninsula – limited access due to flooding and slips on the upper section of the peninsula. Work to clear the area will commence tomorrow morning.

"If you can’t delay your travel then please take extra caution when travelling through areas of flooding," AT's Paul Geck said.

"Heavy rain is expected to continue this evening, so before heading out, travelling motorists should check the Waka Kotahi travel information site Journey Planner for the latest updates on road closures.

"People needing to travel are reminded to drive to the conditions, and watch out for unexpected road hazards like surface flooding in low-lying areas, potholes, slips or fallen trees. Heavy rain can also reduce visibility."

11.31pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown says he acted as quickly as possible to declare a state of emergency this evening.

"Tonight at about 9.30pm, I declared a state of local emergency for the Auckland region. I did so immediately after receiving advice from the Auckland Emergency Management duty controller that this step should be taken," he told reporters.

"My declaration tonight reflects the gravity of the situation caused by this evening's severe weather event and enables those emergency services and response agencies to draw upon additional resources and gives them the additional powers to assist affected Aucklanders."

Brown said he has "been in my office this whole evening and have been receiving constant updates on the situation from Auckland Emergency Management".

11.15pm: The death of a person whose body was found in Wairau Valley this evening was due to flooding, Auckland mayor Wayne Brown confirmed at a press conference this evening.

"I have received reports that someone has lost their life during this event," he said.

"I'm deeply saddened by that, and I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of that person.

"This is going to be a horrible night for thousands of Aucklanders and their families. My thoughts are with those Aucklanders affected, including many of those who have been evacuated from their homes and have a hard night ahead."

11.14pm: SH20's Onehunga on-ramp northbound is now closed due to flooding.

11.05pm: There have been "widespread outages, particularly in west Auckland" amid the heavy flooding, a Vector spokesperson said in a statement.

"The emergency services have asked us to shut down power in some of the worst-hit areas and homes and businesses will remain de-energised until the flooding subsides and we are confident it is safe to restore the power.

"The flooding has made it difficult for our crews to safely reach some of the outages, including in the Swanson area, and they will be unable to do so until the water has gone, hopefully by the morning.

"We urge everyone to take extreme care, avoid floodwaters and stay well clear of fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment, and treat them as live at all times.

"We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience as we work within the limits of what is safe and practical to restore power as soon as possible. ​Our thoughts are with the many Aucklanders who are facing challenges caused by the extreme weather."

Anyone using medical equipment which relies on electricity has been advised to contact their retailer if they are without power.

10.53pm: Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni paid a visit to an evacuation centre which was set up at St Leonard's School in Kelston earlier this evening.

10.47pm: An Auckland Council standup will be held at 11pm tonight.

10.46pm: A concertgoer can be seen being swept away by floodwaters outside Mt Smart Stadium.

10.45pm: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says he's "pleased an emergency declaration has been made due to flooding in Auckland tonight".

"All relevant govt agencies are working flat out to help in an extraordinary set of circumstances.

"The emergency response is underway and the Government is ready to assist as needed."

10.44pm: Police say they are working alongside Fire and Emergency and other agencies in response to a "large number of weather-related incidents and significant flooding across Tāmaki Makaurau".

"We are aware of a number of homes, infrastructure and roads which have all been affected by the relentless rain," police said.

"There are significant road slips and water hazards across the wider Auckland area.

"The heavy rain is expected to continue this evening."

10.40pm: A line of severe thunderstorms have been detected from Leigh to inner Hauraki Gulf to Pukekohe, according to MetService.

This line of severe thunderstorms is moving towards the east-northeast, and is expected to lie from Leigh to Waiheke Island to Bombay at 11pm, and from Little Barrier Island to Hunua at 11.30pm.

These thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by torrential rain.

10.37pm: Police say they are responding to a large number of weather-related incidents and significant flooding across Tāmaki Makaurau.

"We are aware of a number of homes, infrastructure and roads which have all been affected by the relentless rain," police said.

"Emergency services have been overwhelmed with calls for services, please only call 111 if you are in a life-threatening emergency."

Motorists have been urged to avoid non-essential travel and to take care when travelling through water-logged roads.

"Police are advising residents that if they are safe, they should stay in place. There are significant road slips and water hazards across the wider Auckland area.

"The heavy rain is expected to continue this evening.

"Anyone who needs further information can contact Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00."

10.32pm: For more coverage on the wild weather in Auckland this evening, tune in to Tonight on TVNZ 1.

10.29pm: Footage can be seen of a bridge being washed away following raging floodwaters in Riverhead, Auckland.

The full story can be found here: Video: Bridge washed away by raging Auckland floodwaters

10.24pm: Fire and Emergency New Zealand is dealing with 1500 calls, with the communications centres prioritising those who need rescue.

"Our operational crews are doing an incredible job over many hours, alongside Police and St John. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that the people who need us most get the help they need as quickly as possible,” Counties Manukau district manager Brad Mosby said.

Aucklanders have been urged to only call 111 if there is a threat to life tonight.

10.22pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has this evening confirmed a state of emergency has been declared for Auckland.

"This declaration reflects the extent of damage, displacement and disruption caused by this evening’s severe weather event and enables emergency services and response agencies to draw on resources, and enact additional powers, to assist affected Aucklanders," he said in a statement.

The declaration of state of local emergency comes into force immediately and expires in seven days.

10.17pm: Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty has confirmed the mayor of Auckland has declared a state of emergency this evening.

10.14pm: Today is provisionally the wettest day on record for multiple areas in Auckland, according to NIWA.

10.02pm: A line of severe thunderstorms lying from Matakana to Auckland to Waiuku has been detected, MetService says.

"This line of severe thunderstorms is moving towards the east, and is expected to lie from outer Hauraki Gulf to Auckland to Waiuku at 10.15pm and from outer Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island to Te Kohanga at 10.45pm.

These thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by torrential rain.

9.58pm: Maungakiekie-Tamaki councillor Josephine Bartley announced on Twitter that Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has declared a state of emergency.

9.56pm: Auckland Emergency Management has this evening opened a Civil Defence Centre to assist with people displaced or in need of assistance.

The centre is open and based at Saint Leonards Road School on 15 St Leonards Rd, in Kelston.

It comes as wild weather in the region is expected to continue until early tomorrow.

"There are reports that some parts of the region have experienced a summer’s worth of rain in a few hours and that has resulted in significant flooding," Auckland Emergency Management’s duty controller, Andrew Clark, said.

"We continue to urge people to be vigilant and keep an eye on the weather forecast and your property.

"If it is safe to stay home, please do so. If you need to evacuate and can stay with family and friends, please do so in the first instance."

9.51pm: Auckland Airport's terminals and roading are "currently impacted by widespread flooding".

"A short time ago, we made the decision to close the international terminal check in area to visitors due to flooding inside the building," an Auckland Airport spokesperson told 1News.

"Our request is that people do not travel to the international terminal at this time.

"We sincerely apologise to any travellers impacted by the closure of the international terminal."

People have been advised to get in touch with their airline or check their app for the latest information and any changes to their travel plans.

Earlier damage to Auckland Airport’s runway lighting caused by an arriving flight has been fixed. The runway continues to remain partially open.

9.49pm: A red warning has been issued for Auckland amid widespread flooding, MetService says.

9.40pm: A dead body has been found in Wairau Valley this evening.

The body was seen by a member of the public near Target Rd around 7.25pm, police say.

The NZ Herald is reporting that the body was found in a flooded culvert.

9.28pm: Trees can be seen toppling over during a large slip in Auckland's north-west.

Read the full story here: Watch: Trees topple during large slip in Auckland's north-west

9.26pm: Here's a photo gallery of flooding across Auckland.

Photos: Auckland flooded after torrential downpour

9.17pm: The Royal New Zealand Air Force this evening received a request for assistance from Fire and Emergency services.

"Personnel at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland at Whenuapai have had a request from Fire and Emergency NZ for vehicles to assist following flooding in the area," the Defence Force told 1News in a statement this evening.

"We currently have our domestic fire appliance, a Unimog truck and a four wheel drive vehicle being used, and we’re looking into whether we can supply more Unimogs. No other requests for assistance have come in as yet."

9.09pm: Here's another image of flooding at Auckland Airport.

Flooding at Auckland Airport.

8.58pm: Shore Rd in Auckland's Remuera is closed due to a slip.

Flooding on Shore Rd, in Auckland's Remuera.

A house can be seen at an angle following the incident.

A house sitting at an angle following a slip on Shore Rd, in Auckland's Remuera.

8.51pm: And here's an image of Auckland Airport being inundated.

Flooding at Auckland Airport.

8.49pm: Here's a video of flooding in Auckland's Greenlane.

8.40pm: Here's a still of police officers in a boat in Henderson.

Police in action in flooded Henderson.

8.37pm: Auckland Airport has recorded 154mm of rain between 9am to 8pm.

Meanwhile, over 15cm of rain has fallen in Auckland since 9am, which is "very close to record-breaking", MetService says.

8.32pm: Fire and Emergency New Zealand crews are currently handling over 1000 calls for assistance.

Aucklanders are being urged to only call 111 if lives are in danger following an increasing number of calls for help with flooding.

Counties Manukau district manager Brad Mosby says that when people phone with non-urgent requests for help with flooding, it stops people who urgently need help from getting through.

He is also strongly urging people to stay home and only drive if the trip is absolutely essential.

8.29pm: Auckland Airport says its reduced runway operations after an arriving aircraft damaged runway lighting is "largely impacting international arrivals and departures and larger aircraft travelling domestically".

"Our operational teams have cleared the debris and are now assessing the damage," a spokesperson for the airport said.

"We apologise to any travellers impacted. Please contact your airline or check your airline travel app if you are travelling for any flight cancellations or delays."

8.26pm: Aerial images of intense flooding in Kaukapakapa.

An aerial image of motorists driving amid flooding in Kaukapakapa.

Houses appear to be surrounded in the floodwaters.

Houses surrounded in the floodwaters in Kaukapakapa.

8.13pm: "We need the rain to stop, that's the main issue," Auckland mayor Wayne Brown told RNZ.

8.11pm: SH1 is closed from the Market Rd off-ramp northbound due to severe flooding, AT says.

8.09pm: Flooding at the Whangamatā Golf Club from Wentworth Valley Rd, in Whangamatā.

Flooding at the Whangamatā Golf Club.

8.04pm: Rescue efforts are underway for a person in need of assistance amid flooding in Maungaturoto, Northland.

Police say they received the report around 6pm.

7.46pm: "Auckland, due to unsafe weather conditions, tonight's Elton John concert for Friday 27 January will not be proceeding," concert promoter Frontier Touring said on Facebook this evening.

"The team is assessing things and will keep everyone across with further updates here. Thank you for your understanding."

7.41pm: Auckland Transport's special event buses are being redirected to help concertgoers back to the city centre from the concert venue.

"We've just had it confirmed that tonight's show has been cancelled. Our operations team is working hard to redirect our special event buses to help get people back to the city centre from Mt Smart as soon as possible," Auckland Transport said on Facebook.

"We're asking for everyone's patience as our team works to get people home safely."

7.38pm: SH1 is closed northbound from Upper Harbour Highway to Oteha Valley Rd and southbound from Greville Rd to Upper Harbour Highway, Auckland Transport says.

7.34pm: There should be relief in Auckland in the coming hour, with the rain radar showing clearing skies.

1News meteorologist Dan Corbett earlier said the rain will hopefully move on around 8pm.

7.19pm: Auckland Airport has been forced to reduce runway operations "after an arriving aircraft damaged runway lighting", a spokesperson for the airport told 1News.

"This is largely impacting international arrivals and departures and larger aircraft travelling domestically. Our operational teams have cleared the debris and are now assessing the damage.

"We apologise to any travellers impacted. Please contact your airline or check your airline travel app if you are travelling for any flight cancellations or delays."

7.09pm: Elton John's concert at Mt Smart Stadium has been called off. The announcement was made over the loudspeaker at the concert venue.

Elton John's concert has been cancelled this evening amid the torrential weather.

7.07pm: The northbound diversion at SH1 and SH12 south of Northland's Brynderwyn Hills is now closed due to flooding, police say.

"Vehicles travelling north are now being diverted at Kaiwaka at the Kaiwaka-Mangawhai turn off.

"This is the divert route for both northbound and southbound traffic."

This diversion route is not suitable for heavy motor vehiles, who are advised to expect lengthy delays.

7.05pm: One child and three staff members at BestStart Montessori The Children’s House remain inside the building, a staff member told 1News.

Two children who had earlier been trapped in the building have been lifted over the fence to their parents.

7.03pm: Traffic on the motorway in Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore.

Traffic on the motorway in Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore.

6.59pm: The Auckland rain radar as of 6.43pm this evening.

The Auckland rain radar as of 6.43pm on Friday.

6.47pm: The motorway and busway on Northcote's Akoranga Dr is currently flooded.

People evacuate bus on Auckland's northern busway.

6.43pm: Auckland Emergency Management is advising people to stay home if it is safe to do so.

People have also been advised against driving through floodwaters and keep off the roads and out of flood zones.

"If you live in an area prone to flooding, plan to evacuate – make sure you take essential items, like medicines, with you."

6.40pm: Flooding has closed down Favona Rd, in Favona, 1News understands.

6.38pm: Here's a video of an Auckland bus hit by flooding.

6.37pm: There are delays and cancellations on the western, southern and eastern lines across Auckland's rail network.

The tracks near Glen Eden remain flooded, with the western line partially blocked between New Lynn and Henderson, Auckland Transport says.

Meanwhile, flooding is partially blocking tracks at the Sylvia Park and Panmure stations, impacting eastern and southern line services.

"Trains are running but part of the line is down to a single track," AT said.

"Please expect delays and cancellations."

6.31pm: SH1 south of the Brynderwyn Hills remains closed. Both detour routes are now also closed due to severe flooding on SH12 and a truck breakdown.

6.27pm: Fire and Emergency services in Auckland are responding to more than 500 calls for assistance from people affected by the heavy flooding.

"They are prioritising incidents where life is at immediate risk, and particularly where the disabled or elderly need rescue," Fire and Emergency New Zealand said in an update.

Every fire truck in Auckland has been dispatched and there are 14 people answering 111 calls, Fire and Emergency communications centre shift manager Alex Norris said.

People are being urged to only ring 111 if life is in danger, because the number of non-urgent calls is delaying the response to people who need help the most.

There are reports of houses being shifted off their foundations in Rānui. Meanwhile, the suburbs of Sunnyvale, Henderson, Birkenhead and Glenfield have also been hard-hit.

If people have water entering their property but life is not at risk, Alex Norris said they should to do what they can to lift furnishings and possessions without putting themselves at risk. Neighbours may also be able to help. But please do not call 111 about flooded property if there is no threat to life or safety.

6.22pm: Auckland, Kumeū has seen 79% of its normal summer rainfall (166mm) in just 15 hours, NIWA says.

Meanwhile, Albany, North Shore has recorded 75% of its normal summer rain.

"It is possible that parts of Auckland will receive an entire summer's worth of rain in a day."

6.17pm: The three children and three staff members at BestStart Montessori The Children’s House remain trapped inside, 1News understands. They are remaining safe inside while they wait for emergency services to reach them.

One staff member told 1News they are remaining in touch with the parents of the children as they await rescue.

Police are deploying jet skis to retrieve people stuck inside their homes as intense flooding continues.

Meanwhile, the Baptist Church has opened its doors to help local residents in Rānui, it's understood.

6.05pm: The scene on Don Buck Rd in Massey, Auckland this evening.

Don Buck Rd in Massey.

6pm: Flooding is also blocking lanes in both directions on SH1 between Northcote Rd and Esmonde Rd.

5.53pm: Flooding on SH1 northern motorway is blocking southbound lanes after the Greville Rd off-ramp.

5.49pm: SH1 between the SH12 intersection and Waipu is now closed in both directions.

5.46pm: BestStart Montessori The Children’s House in Henderson has confirmed to 1News they are trapped inside their building with flooding from both Clover Dr and Don Buck Rd.

It's understood there are three children and three staff stuck in the building as of 5.30pm.

Staff are advising parents to come to the next door neighbour's house on Clover Dr as they have not yet flooded.

Children are being handed over the fence.

5.40pm: There are desperate scenes in Auckland's Henderson this evening as families rush to escape rising floodwaters with their loved ones.

Cars can be seen floating in the water as people cry out for help.

5.21pm: Here's an image of flooding in Taupaki this afternoon.

Cars driving through heavy surface flooding in Taupaki this afternoon.

And another of a park underwater in Northcote on Auckland's North Shore.

Park underwater in Auckland's Northcote.

5.10pm: Fire crews are currently responding to over 400 emergency calls across Auckland, Fire and Emergency New Zealand says.

"Calls where people are in danger are being given priority. People are urged to only call 111 if life or safety is at risk because the volume of calls has been causing delays in answering them.

"Every fire truck in Auckland is responding to the priority calls."

People have been asked not to call 111 about flooded properties "if there is no threat to life or safety".

5pm: Diversions are in place on State Highway 1 Brynderwyn due to hazardous conditions.

"At this stage heavy vehicles heading south can travel over the Brynderwyns," police said.

"Other vehicles travelling south are being diverted at the intersection of State Highway 1 and The Braigh, Waipu.

"Heavy vehicles and vehicles travelling north are being diverted to State Highway 12."

The diversions are subject to change.

It comes after a slip south of Northland's Brynderwyn Hills blocked two lanes near the SH1 / SH12 intersection.

4.56pm: Here's a photo of flooding in Kumeū.

Flooding in Kumeū.

4.51pm: A line of severe thunderstorms lying from Maungaturoto to Glorit to Kumeū has been detected by MetService's weather radar.

The thunderstorms are moving towards the east-southeast, and is expected to lie from Kaiwaka to Ahuroa to Auckland at 4.37pm, and from Te Arai to Puhoi to Auckland City at 5.07pm.

The thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by torrential rain.

4.46pm: A truck breakdown blocking the middle lane of SH1 southbound by the Great South Rd off-ramp has been towed. All lanes have now reopened.

4.41pm: "An Auckland Council weather station just registered 60mm (!!) of rain in an hour," MetService says.

"This will cause surface flooding. Take care on the roads and minimise travel where possible."

4.35pm: Police are urging motorists to take care on the roads as wild weather continues to batter Auckland.

"This means being patient, delaying non-essential travel, increasing following distance and being aware of fellow drivers," police said.

It comes as the north and north-west areas of Auckland "have been particularly hit by the weather".

"There are slips on both Dome Valley Rd and Kaipara Flats Rd, forcing road closures and traffic diversions in those areas."

There is also "significant flooding" impacting several areas across the city, including parts of Taupaki, Albany, New Lynn, Henderson, and Kumeū.

"Drivers are asked to take care when travelling through water-logged roads."

Members of the public have also been advised not to travel to West Coast beaches due to the sea conditions.

"Those travelling out of Auckland for the long weekend may experience long traffic delays and potential diversions due to road closures.

"Keep level headed, allow for extra time, and most of all, stay safe."

4.28pm: Here's a stunning view of Auckland's iconic Sky Tower this morning, courtesy of NIWA.

4.15pm: An image supplied to 1News shows flooding in the West Auckland suburb of Rānui.

Flooding in Rānui.

4.03pm: NIWA has some "eye-opening stats" after being asked by Kiwis if it's New Zealand's "worst summer ever".

"Whangārei has recorded 24 days of rain this summer, which makes it the most persistently rainy summer (so far) in over three decades," NIWA said on Twitter.

"Auckland has *already* received a summer’s worth of rain (recording 237 mm), with over a month left to go."

Invercargill has seen its driest start to summer on record since 1900 after recording just 49mm of rain so far.

Read the full story here: Aotearoa's 'worst summer ever?' Depends where you are - NIWA

3.52pm: A strong and humid northeast flow is expected to hit the North Island thanks to a sub-tropical low lying to the northwest of the country.

Heavy rain is likely to batter parts of the country today and/or tomorrow, along with strong to gale northeasterly winds, according to MetService.

A heavy rain watch is in place for the Bay of Plenty from Whakatane eastwards, and Gisborne north of Ruatoria tomorrow from 3am to 9pm.

Meanwhile, Tongariro National Park may see periods of heavy rain – with amounts potentially approaching warning criteria – from this afternoon to 6pm tomorrow.

Wairarapa, including the Tararua District, could be in for periods of heavy rain from 6pm this afternoon to 9pm tomorrow evening. Rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria, especially about the eastern hills and Tararua Range.

A strong wind watch is in place for Auckland from this afternoon until 9pm tomorrow, with northeast winds potentially reaching severe gales in exposed places.

3.44pm: A line of severe thunderstorms have been detected from Port Albert to Kaukapakapa to Manukau Heads, MetService says.

The thunderstorms are moving towards the east-southeast, where it's expected to lie from Port Albert to Dairy Flat to Manukau Heads at 3.52pm, and from Tauhoa to Dairy Flat to Auckland Airport at 4.22pm.

The thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by very heavy rain.

3.37pm: Auckland Transport has advised people going to the Elton John concert tonight and tomorrow to be aware of the limited transport options available, adding that there may be delays following the performances.

"Our team have worked to secure as many event buses from as far as Kaitaia and Bay of Plenty, to get you from the city to Mt Smart, but these are still limited," AT said on Twitter.

"There may be some delay leaving concert once it has ended. Trains aren't available due to KiwiRail and City Rail Link works. Ride-sharing in? Use the taxi drop off area or walk if you’re close by."

3.27pm: A crash which left two lanes on SH16 eastbound's Great North Rd off-ramp closed has been cleared and the lanes have now reopened.

3.25pm: Around one dozen houses around Auckland have flooded as of this afternoon with Kumeū the hardest-hit, a Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesperson told 1News.

Around a dozen phone calls have been made to Fire and Emergency services about the flooding in the Kumeū area.

3.20pm: Auckland Transport has apologised after a Facebook post last night suggested revellers heading to the Elton John concert tonight and tomorrow should drive in following the partial closure of the rail network.

"We want to reassure Aucklanders there is a full transport plan in place, which provides for a range of options. Via the promoted we have reinforced these options to all ticketholders," Auckland Transport interim chief executive Mark Lambert said in a statement.

"We apologise for the confusion this has caused. We have since updated the post.

"Given the partial closure of the rail network by KiwiRail tonight and full closure on Saturday night, the plan is similar to that used for the Billy Joel concerts at Eden Park, with greater capacity on bus special event services and extra options for parking."

The full story can be found here: AT apologise for Elton John transport announcement

3.15pm: Meanwhile, an earlier crash on SH20 southbound just after the Lambie Dr off-ramp has been cleared.

3.12pm: A truck breakdown on SH1 southbound is blocking the middle lane by the Great South Rd off-ramp. Motorists have been advised to pass on either side with extra care and to expect delays.

3.07pm: People looking forward to a fun weekend of music and films in the park will have to find other plans.

Opera in the Park has been rescheduled, and will now take place on Saturday, March 4 at St Heliers' Glover Park from 6-8pm.

Meanwhile, a decision is pending on whether Music in Parks: Pukekohe, scheduled for January 29, will go ahead.

Movies in Parks: Randwick Park, Manurewa – which was scheduled to screen Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank tonight – has been cancelled.

A decision on whether Movies in Parks: Fergusson Domain, Onehunga will go ahead will be made closer to the time. Minions: The Rise of Gru is currently scheduled to be screened tomorrow.

2.51pm: A slip south of Northland's Brynderwyn Hills has blocked two lanes near the SH1 / SH12 intersection.

2.38pm: A crash on the SH20 southbound is blocking the right lane just after the Lambie Dr off-ramp.

Take care out on the roads. Delays are expected.

2.10pm: Just a bit of rain about in the latest radar image...

Rain radar at 2.10pm.

1.55pm: An Aucklander who braved the weather for a spot of windsurfing in Mission Bay earlier told 1News "you're wet out there anyway so it doesn't really matter" - but "it's a storm for sure". 

Shortly after, as the weather picked up, his brother got dumped on the windsurf board's sail and tore it. 

"I was going OK until the sail broke," he said.

1.40pm: The rain is currently bucketing down outside the TVNZ Auckland CBD newsroom.

The sky has gone very dark and water is starting to pool on the roads.

Heavy rain in Auckland's CBD.

1.35pm: One unfortunate family in Auckland's Whangaparāoa have the wild weather coming a little to close for comfort as the rain comes in through the roof.

Rain coming through roof of Whangaparāoa property.

They told 1News they "battened down the hatches" as much as possible, but a hardy roofer is now on the way to save the day.

1.30pm: A number of Aucklanders will be on edge about their anniversary weekend plans.

A reminder that Elton John is set to perform in the City of Sails tonight.

And SH25A in Coromandel is closed due to a slip until further notice, Waka Kotahi said earlier.

1.20pm: Ports of Auckland have confirmed that ferry services were impacted this morning.

Earlier, Auckland Transport tweeted that a number of Pine Harbour ferries were cancelled due to the conditions.

1.10pm: The weather is caused by a "moisture plume" in the atmosphere, NIWA explained yesterday.

"If you were planning to get away on Friday it might be worth delaying," MetService tweeted.

Read the full story here: 'Moisture plume' to drench Auckland on anniversary weekend

12.30pm: The upper North Island may experience surface flooding and slips due to heavy rain today, warns MetService.

Read the full story here: Severe thunderstorm watches for Auckland, Northland


MetService has issued a number of severe weather watches and warnings for parts of the North Island, some upgraded since yesterday.

Northland and Auckland have been issued a severe thunderstorm watch from 9am to 7pm today.

"Some of these thunderstorms may be severe, producing localised downpours of 25 to 40 mm/h," MetService said.

Heavy rain warnings are also in place for Northland from 9am to 5pm today, Auckland from 9am to 10pm today, the Coromandel Peninsula from 9am today to midday tomorrow, Bay of Plenty west of Whakatāne from 10am today to 7pm tomorrow and Mount Taranaki from 1pm today to 10am tomorrow.

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