Power cut off for a number of homes across Auckland

Wed, Feb 1

Relive 1News live updates as wild weather continues to lash regions across the upper North Island.

What you need to know

  • MetService has warned that more heavy rain is on the way for a "vulnerable" Auckland. Yesterday, mayor Wayne Brown said today "could be more dangerous than Friday" due to backlogged stormwater systems across the region.
  • Auckland, Northland, and Coromandel are currently under varying degrees of red and orange heavy rain warnings.
  • All schools, universities, polytechnics, and other educational facilities in Auckland have been ordered to close until February 7. The Secretary of Education now says early learning centres may open if it's safe to do so.
  • Auckland mayor Wayne Brown, having been in the job for only 95 days, is facing calls to resign for his response to the floods.
  • A state of emergency has been declared for Northland this afternoon, and will remain in force for seven days.
  • Evacuation centres are located at Leonards Road School, 15 Saint Leonards Rd, Kelston; Massey University Albany Campus, Sir Neil Walters Lecture Theatre, Massey University East Precinct; and Mana Tukutuku, 32 Riverton Dr, Randwick Park.

Live updates

10.00pm: The 1News team is wrapping up live updates for the evening. We'll be back if there's any major events overnight, otherwise tune in to Breakfast on TVNZ1 at 6am.

9.25pm: FENZ says a sinkhole has opened up in Swanson. Though the opening is 1-metre wide, it is much wider underneath the tarmac.

9.20pm: Secretary of Education Iona Holsted says that early learning centres that can open safely may do so for families in their community that need education and care. Her statement follows her direction yesterday for schools to close for physical onsite attendance until February 7.

9.15pm: Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has vowed that agencies will be better prepared for the possible deluge tonight than Friday's unprecedented rainfall.

Read more here.

9.10pm: Hato Hone St John says it has attended over 2300 incidents during Auckland Anniversary Weekend and will continue to support Emergency Operations Centres.

8.52pm: A number of homes across west and northeast Auckland are currently without power, according to Vector Energy.

8.42pm: A low-lying area in the central Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn is in tatters following last Friday night's flooding.

Near the northern end of Grey Lynn Park, residents were piling rubbish on the footpath as they rummaged through their belongings to see what could be saved and what needed to go.

During the storms, a group of uninsured flatmates made a desperate escape before floodwaters almost hit the ceiling.

Read more here.


7.40pm: Aucklanders are racing to clean up rubbish and debris from last Friday's flood ahead of more expected bad weather.

Read more here.

7.30pm: Roger Ball, Director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, told Seven Sharp that should floodwaters strike, it's a bad idea to play in them.

"We're not here to be killjoys, but I have to say it's not a good idea; it's very unsafe for a couple of reasons," he said.

"First of all, in those floodwaters, you only need 15 centimetres of water to get to the point where somebody can be knocked off their feet.

"Second, those floodwaters are often contaminated; they’ve got human waste, they’ve got animal waste, they’ve got contaminants, they've got debris.

"So if you come into contact with floodwaters, make sure that you wash up carefully afterwards. Wash your hands but also your clothing, and don’t play in those floodwaters."

He also encouraged communities to come together and work as a team to help each other out.

"It's about linking up with your neighbours and your whānau; there are gonna be some people on your street that may not be as aware of their physical surroundings.

"They may have more trouble moving around; they may be new to New Zealand, so please reach out and have those conversations over the fence, knock on a few doors and just make sure people are aware."

7.00pm: A severe thunderstorm warning at red has been issued for parts of Southland.

6.56pm: A number of Countdown supermarkets in affected areas will be closing early tonight so staff can get home before the heavy rain hits.

Countdowns in Kerikeri, Waitangi, Paihia Central, Tikipunga, Regent, Whangārei, Dargaville, Warkworth, Whitianga, Paeroa, Te Aroha, Katikati, Orewa and Kaikohe will close at 8pm tonight.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank our customers in advance for their understanding as we work to keep everyone safe," a spokesperson said.

6.44pm: ANZ and Countdown have announced they will be donating $100,000 each as a part of the Mayoral Relief Fund in an effort to support affected communities.

"We all watched with disbelief at the carnage caused by the flooding at the weekend. Our thoughts are with everyone affected, and we send our condolences to the families of those who sadly lost their lives," ANZ CEO Antonia Watson said.

"Many of our customers and staff live and work in Auckland, and we’ve been in close contact with those most impacted to ensure they’re getting the support they need.

"As our biggest city, Auckland is a critical part of our economy. We’re pleased to provide a donation to ensure local authorities can continue to provide the support our local communities need as clean-up efforts get underway."

"Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the devastating flooding across the Auckland region and the rest of the upper North Island," Countdown Managing Director Spencer Sonn said.

"We're continuing to work closely with our food rescue and charity partners to provide support, and this afternoon, we’ve confirmed $100,000 of relief support to help those affected by the floods."

6.40pm: Air New Zealand said it has over 9000 disrupted passengers thanks to the weather. They thanked travellers for their patience.

"Thank you for your patience as we focus on getting over 9000 disrupted passengers back to the skies safely. We’ve extended flexibility so customers can change travel to an equivalent Air New Zealand international flight between Saturday 28 January & Tuesday 28 February 2023," they said in a tweet.

"We're also offering a goodwill gesture towards accommodation for displaced customers travelling internationally where we have not been able to provide accommodation, and they have secured their own."

6.30pm: KiwiRail has said an engine cooling fault was responsible for an Interislander ferry losing power on its way to Wellington on Saturday.

The ship issued a mayday in the late afternoon after all four engines shut down.

"A leak occurred in a connection that is part of the cooling system, which resulted in a loss of pressure," Interislander Executive General Manager Walter Rushbrook said.

"Sensors in each of the engines detected the reduction in pressure and the engines automatically shut down to protect them from overheating."

6.21pm: As of this afternoon, Auckland City has now recorded more than 800% of its normal January rainfall.

In a normal January, the city would see about 55mm of rain. This January it's recorded a staggering 454mm and rising, more than eight times what we'd normally expect.

Putting that into annual context, in just over 40 days, the city recorded 41% of what the city would normally get in an entire year.

These numbers are only going up as the rain continues to come down. Northland has already seen significant rainfall over Northland.

The rain has become slightly slower moving than expected. So for Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, it's looking like late evening and overnight will be the heaviest.

A new red warning was issued for the Bay of Plenty from 3am through until 9pm tomorrow.

6.03pm: Māori services and schools across Tāmaki Makaurau and Northland are gearing up for a long night as they anticipate the arrival of another wet front that's set to batter the two regions from tonight.

Read more here.

5.34pm: Fire and Emergency New Zealand services say they're prepared ahead of heavy rain in the upper North Island tonight.

"Two extra Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) teams arrived in Auckland yesterday and have been carrying out rapid damage assessment with Auckland Council building inspectors. Along with our Northern USAR team, they are ready to support rescues if we need them. Extra USAR personnel have also deployed to Northland," Fire and Emergency said.

5.22pm: Here's some photographs showing the impact of the floods at the summit of State Highway 25a in the Coromandel.

"The site is still active, with road material, earth, and debris continuing to fall into the gully," the New Zealand Transport Agency said.

"We're working through solutions for a long-term fix. As soon as the weather allows, our teams will continue geotechnical assessments to determine the best way of rebuilding the road. Please bear with us while we're still in the emergency response phase of this storm."

5.10pm: Bell's Berries in Ardmore is seeking the public's help picking strawberries in return for free fruit.

"Our berries have been affected by the floods and we haven't got enough staff to pick them so in return for free berries we are hoping the community will come on down and help strip the fruit so the plants don't get diseased,"

The extra help is needed on February 1-3 or until all of the ripe berries are stripped.

4.54pm: Public transport services are running at a reduced frequency, Auckland Transport says.

Aucklanders have been advised to take extreme care when travelling on the network, consider whether their travel is necessary and to plan their full return journey.

"Across the region there’s the potential for slips and floodwaters to disrupt travel and make some roads impassable. As weather closes in, there are likely to be cancellations on the public transport network," AT said in a media release.

"The severe and rapid flooding we saw on Friday shows just how important it is that people stay home and are not travelling unless necessary given the sort of weather forecast tonight," Auckland Transport interim chief executive Mark Lambert said.

"We saw lower than usual traffic volumes across our road network this morning, as well as significantly lower passenger levels on our bus, train and ferry services.

"With more people staying at home, that should help to ease pressure on the network later today, but we also want to make sure those Aucklanders who do need to travel are home safe before the worst of the rain hits."

4.49pm: The western Bay of Plenty has had its orange heavy rain warning upgraded to red "due to conditions on the ground, the saturation of the areas and river levels which mean it won’t take much of a top up to see significant impacts", MetService meteorologist John Law says.

Tauranga Airport has seen 18cm of rain since 9am on Friday, while Whakatāne has seen 9.5cm and Rotorua 20cm "which is an impressive amount of rain", he said.

4.44pm: The Auckland Lantern Festival is the latest event to be impacted by the flooding in recent days.

The event was due to go ahead from Thursday, February 2 to Sunday, February 5 at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

"We understand this news is disappointing after three previous cancellations. All involved in planning the event were looking forward to its return, but the health and safety of Aucklanders and all those involved in the festival is our top priority," Tātaki Auckland Unlimited's head of major events, Chris Simpson, said.

"We acknowledge the disappointment that Aucklanders will be feeling. Special cultural occasions are the fabric of our region, and we are all gutted that we won’t be able to celebrate this iconic festival for a fourth year in a row.

"The decision-making considered a range of factors, including the safety of staff, stallholders, performers, volunteers and patrons, transport options, advice from civil defence, the long-range forecast, and the condition of the grounds to determine if we could deliver a successful event."

4.41pm: Aucklanders have been advised to make plans to travel home early to avoid the incoming heavy rain, Auckland Transport says.

Up to date information on the latest road closures, reopenings and impacts to the public transport network can be found here.

4.34pm: Information on how to prepare for a flood, including what to pack in a grab bag, can be found on the Get Ready website.

4.30pm: Here's NIWA's latest rainfall forecast, which tracks the rain band expected to move into Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty overnight and tomorrow.

4.27pm: The Tauranga community has been urged to prepare for heavy rain.

It comes after MetService issued a red heavy rain warning for the Bay of Plenty west of about Kawerau, including Tauranga, from 3am to 9pm tomorrow.

Tauranga City Council Civil Defence controller Mike Naude says now is the time to think about where you will go and what you need to take with you if you are instructed to evacuate.

"We are urging people to be prepared, and stay out of flood waters," he said.

"Flood water may look calm, but those conditions can change really quickly, with devasting consequences."

Some areas in the city, such as Greerton Rugby Fields, and roads are designed to flood first to reduce the chances of homes being impacted.

“People need to stay out of flood water and take extra care around stormwater drains, culverts and manholes which become powerful suction devices that can sweep away a child or adult in an instant."

4.23pm: The New Zealand Defence Force says it has sent three Unimog trucks to assist with evacuations if needed. Two have been sent to Kaitaia, while the third is in Whangārei.

"Local Emergency Response Groups at RNZAF Base Auckland (Whenuapai), Devonport Naval Base and 1(NZ) Brigade at Linton Military Camp are on short notice to move to support local tasks across any affected area," the NZDF said.

Two Unimog trucks travelled to Kaitaia, in Northland, today to assist with evacuations if needed. A third Unimog is to go from Auckland to Whangārei if necessary.

3.44pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown says Auckland Council and central Government have each allocated $100,000 to an Auckland Council Emergency Relief Fund to support communities facing hardship following the storms.

More money is expected to be contributed to the fund over the coming days.

"More than 5000 properties are affected by the flooding, including more than 70 that have been assessed as uninhabitable so far, and more than 300 that have been significantly damaged," said Brown.

"Our thoughts are with all those affected by the floods, including the families of those who have tragically lost their lives."

3.40pm: The Ministry of Social Development has so far paid out more than $2.5 million in Civil Defence grants to over 6000 individuals. Talks are now underway on how best to support businesses affected by the floods.

Hipkins says he will be travelling back to Auckland on Wednesday to assess the damage.

3.35pm: Cabinet has agreed to make a further $1 million contribution to the Auckland Mayoral Relief Fund "to assist in the initial emergency response", Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced in a post-Cabinet press conference.

"It allows the council to ensure funding gets to the various community providers that have emerged to assist Aucklanders affected by the floods."

3.29pm: An emergency alert fir Auckland will be sent out shortly.

3.28pm: Non-essential Auckland Council facilities, services and destination sites will all close at 3pm today in preparation for more extreme weather in Auckland tonight.

"Closing our facilities earlier today with a delayed re-open on Wednesday morning not only ensures staff get home safely, it allows us direct resources to welfare centres and other frontline services that are needed most," Auckland Council CEO Jim Stabback said.

3.26pm: People who live on the eastern coastline, particularly north of the Waitematā Harbour, should see a wind warning kick in this evening and overnight.

She said while the "wind strengths aren’t particularly high for Auckland, but we do expect some tree throw over roads or powerlines in the tonight, overnight period because we’re just so saturated".

3.22pm: Griffiths said people living in Auckland south of Auckland is expected to see "impacts to be quite isolated, pockets of impacts where we see the heavier falls and higher intensity rainfalls overnight".

"Not everyone will see impacts."

Other areas with new red warnings for tomorrow include the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty west of Kawerau, including the Rotorua Lakes District; the Western Bay of Plenty; and Tauranga City.

People living in the above areas have been advised to check the weather warnings.

3.15pm: Griffiths says Auckland north of Orewa's red warning "does not even start ‘til 5pm tonight and expect that rainfall to continue through the overnight period".

She said slips and flooding is expected overnight.

Auckland south of Orewa, including Great Barrier Island, are on an orange warning.

"Now the rainfall forecast totals are not overly large, but this warning is in force for localised heavier falls overnight, kicking in from 8pm in the north and later in the south through until 10am Wednesday."

3.07pm: “The warnings are on track. Northland is the only region that has already started its red warning for heavy rain but the other regions have yet to start," MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says.

“For Auckland and Northland, we’re not seeing nonstop rain. As expected, it’s lines of heavy falls coming in as bands, so stop start with the risk of extremely intense rainfalls.”

2.57pm: Auckland Emergency Management will be providing an update on the weather in a live stream shortly.

2.37pm: People who are evacuating with pets and cannot stay with friends or family can go to one of the Civil Defence centres set up in the west, north and south of the region.

People are asked to look for somewhere safe for their pets to stay before attempting to bring them to a Civil Defence Centre, Emergency Civil Defence said on Facebook.

Dogs must be on a leash and muzzled if possible, but people may be asked to keep their dog in their vehicle. Cats must be brought in a cage if possible.

Animals injured as a result of flooding has been asked to have them checked out by their veterinarian.

2.27pm: And here's a timelapse of the cloud cover over Auckland this morning.

2.23pm: Meanwhile, SH1 remains closed between Brynderwyn & Waipu, while SH16 is closed between Waimauku and Helensville. Up to date information on delays and road closures can be found on the Journeys Planner.

2.17pm: Here's a graphic showing the two most northern rain bands, indicating where heavy rain and localised downpours are forecast.

2.10pm: Meanwhile, Auckland Airport has more than 600 sandbags, as well as sucker trucks and pumps on standby in preparation for the coming storm.

Read the full story here: Auckland Airport preparing sandbags as stormy weather looms

1.41pm: Northland has declared a state of emergency for a period of seven days. Officials issued the following media release after the declaration was made at 1pm.

Authorities said emergency alerts will shortly be sent out to phones in the Northland area. Read the full story here.

Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management controller Graeme MacDonald said the declaration was a "precautionary step".

"We don’t know for certain that we will need to make use of these emergency powers but given the potential for the main impact of this event to happen overnight, we’ve done it now as a precautionary step so we have them available," he said.

"This afternoon and evening are the key times of concern, with the possibility of localised downpours compounding widespread rainfall."

MacDonald said MetService expected weather conditions to ease overnight as the weather system moves down the region but it was very difficult to predict. Showers are expected tomorrow (Wednesday), with a possibility of further rain on Friday,

He said some of the most commonly-used emergency powers include evacuating premises and places, entering premises, closing roads and public places, removing aircraft, vessels, vehicles etc and requisitioning property, equipment, material or supplies.

"Of these, enabling evacuations is often the key reason for an emergency declaration."

1.06pm: Growers are warning of fresh vegetable shortages in the coming weeks due to contaminated floodwaters. “Whether it’s a commercial farm or a home vegetable garden, floodwaters present a real risk to the health of your whānau."

Read the full story.

Crops that might be suitable to pick will now be quarantined until they are declared safe to eat by microbial testing.

1.28pm: National leader Christopher Luxon says there was initially a "vacuum of leadership" in authorities' response to floods in Auckland.

"The state of emergency should've been called much much sooner. There was a vacuum of leadership and also communication in that early period."

Luxon began his stand-up by attacking the Government's "shambolic communication" over officials' decision to close Auckland schools for one week.

"Auckland's a big city - it's got 1.7 million people in it. There are some parts of our city, that have been deeply impacted by the floods. And that's completely understandable - makes sense that schools don't open in those areas.

"But there are other parts of the city - like East Auckland and others where actually it's quite possible to open those schools."

Christopher Luxon,

"Out in East Auckland, an area of 130,000 people as big as Dunedin, it's been largely unaffected. There are other parts of South Auckland - Papakura, where... those suburbs haven't been too impacted at all," the Botany MP said.

Auckland Grammar School's headmaster says he was "blindsided" after learning of a sudden seven-day school closure through the media. Read the full story here.

12.45pm - People across the upper North Island are being urged to be vigilant with weather expected to worsen later today and overnight into Wednesday.

1News reporters are across Auckland and Northland as authorities issue weather alerts.

11.52am - Heavy fog is delaying and cancelling flights out of Wellington Airport.

Read the full story here.

10.56am - Sunday's Whitianga Summer Concert has been cancelled due to the wild weather hitting the Coromandel.

“Due to the circumstances of the weather event we’ve been faced with in its lead up, the continued disruption around road access in and out of the Coromandel Peninsula, and on information received from authorities, the decision to cancel was our only option," Greenstone Entertainment chief executive Amanda Calvert says.

Whitianga Summer Concert.

“It is heart-breaking to have had to make this call due to circumstances that are out of our control.

"We feel for the thousands of loyal fans who will be disappointed to hear this news and for all the businesses and individuals in the Coromandel who benefit from events like ours."

10.22am - In Henderson, 1News spoke to an Aucklander who described their family's terrifying ordeal while trapped inside their house during Friday's disastrous storm.

Johnel Suralta told Breakfast it only took 20 minutes for his home's first storey to flood.

"All of a sudden, the fridge came falling down, and I told [my daughter] we need to get out of here.

"We just don't have enough time to save anything. Everything was floating," he said.

9.50am - MetService has just updated its forecast - with more weather warnings issued for parts of the upper North Island later today and on Wednesday.

Parts of Bay of Plenty will be subject to an orange heavy rain warning overnight, while Waikato is subject to a heavy rain watch from 2am to 3pm on Wednesday.

Bay of Plenty, west of Whakatane, is forecasted to get 100-150 mm of rain, with peak rates of 15-25mm/h. An orange warning has been issued for the region between 3am to 9pm on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Bay of Plenty east of Whakatane is forecasted to get 100-120 mm of rain. An orange warning is forecasted to be active from 1pm Wednesday to 10am Thursday.

In Waikato, a heavy rain watch has been issued for between 2am and 3pm Wednesday.

A red heavy rain warning is currently in place for Northland until 4am - with an additional severe thunderstorm watch also issued for the same period.

Meanwhile, an orange heavy rain warning has been issued for Auckland, southwards of Orewa, between 8pm tonight and 10am Wednesday.

Auckland Emergency Management's Rachel Kelleher says, "this rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding."

"Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassible and possibly isolating communities," she said.

The National Emergency Management Agency is telling people in the upper North Island to "get your place ready this morning before the weather hits" tonight.

9.43am - Auckland ferries are running a reduced timetable due to floating debris.

"As a result of the heavy rainfall and debris in the water, some ferry services will temporarily move to reduced timetables to enable operating at reduced speeds for safety," operator Fullers360 said. Full details can be found on its website.

"These changes will be in place on Tuesday, 31 January and Wednesday, 1 February and may be extended further if needed.

8.57am - A 77-year-old woman on Auckland's North Shore said she was told to jump on her bed to escape floodwaters on Friday. "I had to think about saving my life," she said.

Read the full story here.

8.20am - Civil Defence's Rachel Kelleher says the weather will worsen in Auckland over the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, FENZ says "over 200" buildings are now red-stickered.

Authorities gave a scheduled briefing at 8am to update the public.

"Auckland, south of Orewa, and Great Barrier Island has an orange rain warning from 6pm today through to 9am tomorrow Wednesday. This rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding," she said.

"Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassible and possibly isolating communities," she said.

Kelleher said a strong wind watch this afternoon could mean authorities close the Auckland Harbour Bridge or add additional speed restrictions.

Fire and Emergency region manager Ron Devlin says 200 buildings have been red-stickered in Auckland.

Auckland Emergency Management's Rachel Kelleher speaks at a briefing.

"We have brought forward two urban search and rescue teams. One from Christchurch, one from Wellington, and Palmerston North," he said. "Those teams have been working with council engineers doing rapid building assessments.

"As of the close of business yesterday, they'd completed 657.

"Of which, over 200 have been red-stickered. So that gives you an idea as to the damage to buildings and across the community there."

Kelleher says that emergency centres are no longer accepting donations and that members of the public should seek out local community groups instead.

She said local groups, like foodbanks, would be better prepared to organise donations.

Eighty-two people stayed in evacuation centres overnight, she said.

7.55am - We're awaiting an update from Auckland Emergency Management officials at the top of the hour. Authorities are giving an update on their regional response to the devastation caused by flooding and additional bad weather coming up.

7.19am - The New Zealand Herald has reported on leaked text messages written by Auckland mayor Wayne Brown - where he complains of having to front the media due to the flooding in Auckland.

Brown sent the messages, originally obtained by the Herald, to a tennis group chat on WhatsApp.

"Anyhow I’ve got to deal with media drongos over the flooding tomorrow so sadly no tennis for me tomorrow," he texted on Saturday, according to the Herald's reporting.

The mayor has been under fire for days due to his handling of the flood response.

"Bugger. I’ll look out the window first thing," he wrote on Thursday night.

On Friday morning - the day of the flooding, he texted: "[I]t’s pissing down so no tennis."

Over 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for Brown's resignation.

Last night, National MP and former Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee told Stuff that some choices made in the response to the flooding were "somewhat inexplicable" and that Brown was "effectively washing [his] hands of any responsibility".

7.06am - MetService's next update is in a few hours - but right now, there are warnings in place for Auckland, Northland, and Coromandel.

A red heavy rain warning is in place for Coromandel. The same applies to Northland - with an additional severe thunderstorm watch.

Meanwhile, an orange heavy rain warning is in force for Auckland, southwards of Orewa.

6:50am - Auckland commuters have been warned to expect delays amid wild weather.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is still at risk of closure as there's a strong wind watch in place for Tuesday, Waka Kotahi says. That meant if the wind got over a certain threshold, speed restrictions could be put in place, or the bridge may even have to be closed.

Space on the roads remains limited due to flooding damage and Auckland Transport says trains are running a reduced service as a result of landslips.

Read the full story here.

6:20am - The upper North Island is continuing to brace for further bad weather, with Aucklanders returning to work under a state of emergency. Those who can work from home have been urged to do so, and to avoid non-essential travel if possible.

A car is left propped up against a fence along with a damaged washing line and other debris amid widespread flooding in Henderson, Auckland.

However, schools will remain closed under orders from officials due to concerns about further heavy rain and pressure on vulnerable roads.

Meanwhile, Auckland mayor Wayne Brown continued to be under pressure following days of criticism over his response to unprecedented flooding in Auckland.

Meanwhile, international air travellers are moving again through Auckland Airport - with a backlog of luggage processing and flight re-booking still in progress.


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