Red heavy rain warning lifted for Bay of Plenty

Wed, Feb 1
Auckland was brought to a standstill by the severe weather.

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

What you need to know

  • Auckland schools will now be able to reopen as of tomorrow.
  • A state of emergency was declared for Northland yesterday, and was lifted this morning.
  • Auckland is still in a state of emergency.

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.

9.55pm: The line of heavy showers over western parts of Auckland earlier is drifting offshore.

9.40pm: Auckland has recorded eight-and-a-half time its normal January rainfall. Here's the recent heavy rain in perspective:

9.25pm: Insurance claims have reached 20,000 and counting in Auckland since Friday. Watch the full story below:

9.15pm: Here's the latest from MetService and NIWA on Twitter:

9.10pm: Auckland Airport have apologised after some travellers were charged extra parking after leaving their car in airport carparks for longer than planned due to the flooding.

"Because of the way our system is set up, people were automatically charged the overstay rate and we regret we were unable to prevent this," the airport said in a statement.

"We've been knee deep in water and now that we're on dry land, we're getting this sorted and refunding impacted customers."

Anyone affected who's already paid for an extension is asked to email with their booking reference in the subject line, and anyone returning to their car after being forced to overstay is asked to use the intercom at the exit before paying.

9.00pm: "A front currently moving eastwards across the Bay of Plenty is expected to reverse direction on Thursday and move back towards the Coromandel Peninsula," MetService said in its latest update.

In the Hunua Ranges and Coromandel Peninsula, where a heavy rain watch is in place from noon tomorrow, "the amount of rain would not normally be enough to justify a watch, but the impact of this rain could be greater due to the recent flooding".

8.55pm: Concerns remain in Coromandel over the roads there as well. Watch the full story below:

8.40pm: Northland's roads have been damaged by the weather. Watch the full story below:

8.30pm: The red heavy rain warning issued earlier for parts of the Bay of Plenty has lifted.

Here are the latest severe weather warnings and watches from Metservice.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in place for Canterbury High Country, North Otago, Central Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland and Fiordland until 10pm tonight.

Orange heavy rain warnings are in place for Bay of Plenty about and east of Kawerau, also Gisborne north of Ruatoria until 10am tomorrow and Westland south of Otira from 4am tomorrow until 4pm Friday.

Heavy rain watches are in place for the Hunua Ranges and Coromandel Peninsula from noon tomorrow to 6am Friday, Bay of Plenty west of about Kawerau including the Rotorua Lakes District, Western Bay of Plenty District and Tauranga City from 8am tomorrow to 8am Friday, Tasman west of Motueka until 6am tomorrow and Fiordland north of George Sound from 9am tomorrow to 11am Friday.

8.00pm: Some families in the worst-hit Auckland suburbs have been flooded twice in a week now. Watch the full story below:

7.45pm: Watercare has tankers in West Auckland providing emergency water to homes that need it.

7.40pm: An Auckland councillor has fired back at Mayor Wayne Brown after a leaked email revealed he wanted colleagues to stay quiet around the region's flooding.

Read the full story here: 'Ludicrous' - Auckland councillor fires back to Wayne Brown email

7.20pm: Here's the latest on the Auckland rain radar from MetService:

7.10pm: If you're renting and your flat is uninhabitable after the weather, here's what you need to know.

7.00pm: A health warning has been issued for all Waikato lakes, streams, rivers, estuaries and coastal beaches after the extreme weather in the region, Waikato Regional Council said. Full details of the "unprecedented" warning are available here.

6.55pm: Ruamahunga Bay on Thames Coast Road SH25 is closed due to a large rock fall, Thames-Coromandel District Council wrote on their Facebook page: "Contractors have advised that this section of road will be closed over night."

6.50pm: Western Line train services are set to resume tomorrow at reduced frequency and speed, Auckland Transport said earlier.

6.25pm: In a statement, Auckland Council said more than 2300 rapid building assessments have been completed since Saturday and there are 4000 to 6000 still to go, with 190 building inspectors involved in the effort today.

The council's chief executive Jim Stabback called it a "massive effort" - and all non-essential building inspections have been cancelled until February 7 so staff can prioritise assessments to flood-impacted properties and critical infrastructure, he said.

"We realise this may be frustrating for people wanting to progress their building work, and we appreciate everyone's patience and understanding during this time."

6.10pm: The National Emergency Management Agency has shared some advice for people affected by the flooding.

5.55pm: SH1 Brynderwyns will not reopen today, Waka Kotahi said in their latest statement.

The stretch was earlier set to reopen northbound, before being closed in both directions again.

"Due to a recurring slip identified just before the road was set to re-open for northbound traffic, SH1 Brynderwyns to Waipu will not reopen today," Waka Kotahi said in a statement.

The slip on SH1 Brynderwyns.

"Our crews are currently onsite working to clear the slip and will review the cause of it given the relatively dry weather this afternoon.

"Motorists can continue to use the local detour (light vehicles) or via SH12 and SH14 (heavy vehicles). Please expect delays. We apologise for the inconvenience."

5.40pm: Here's a reminder of the latest severe weather warnings and watches from MetService.

A red 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 until 9pm tonight, with peak rates of 10 to 20 mm/h of rain forecast.

Orange heavy rain warnings are in place for Bay of Plenty about and east of Kawerau, also Gisborne north of Ruatoria until 10am tomorrow and Westland south of Otira from 4am tomorrow to 4pm Friday.

Heavy rain watches are in place for Mount Taranaki until 11pm tonight, Tasman west of Motueka until 9pm tonight and Fiordland north of George Sound from 9am tomorrow to 11am Friday.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in place for Canterbury High Country, North Otago, Central Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland and Fiordland until 10pm tonight.

5.30pm: Auckland Council told 1News the latest figures show 175 houses red-stickered, 761 houses yellow-stickered and 1529 houses white-stickered in the region.

5.15pm: NIWA have tweeted looking ahead, warning: "Showers & thunderstorms, some heavy, have a chance of developing in the [Auckland] region on Thursday afternoon & evening..."

4.52pm: Fewer than 100 properties in West Auckland are now without water, which is a significant drop from 3000 on Sunday.

Watercare crews are continuing to restore water to affected households.

4.45pm: Around 20,000 property-related insurance claims have been logged since the extreme weather first struck on Friday.

The ICNZ said the storms had been the single biggest climate event the country has ever seen.

The claims are still in their early days, and the ICNZ expects the number of claims to rise.

4.40pm: Footage shows a significant cleanup effort is underway after a house collapsed during a slip in Orua Bay.

4.30pm: Another slip has meant SH1 Brynderwyns will have its reopening to northbound traffic delayed.

Waka Kotahi NZTA said it will take at least two hours to clear the slip.

4.20pm: The Waitangi Festival, which is set to take place over the weekend at the treaty grounds, will go ahead as planned.

Waitangi National Trust Chairman Pita Tipene and Te Tii Marae Chair Ngati Kawa Taituha said the decision was made as the organisers continue to monitor the weather.

"We have been monitoring the weather and stayed in touch with the relevant agencies. A lot of work has gone into planning this year’s Waitangi Festival."

"We have worked closely together and with Ngāti Rahiri Māori Kōmiti to present a combined programme," The Waitangi National Trust and Te Tii Marae said

Waitangi Festival at treaty grounds;.

4.10pm: Waka Kotahi NZTA is encouraging Aucklanders to allow extra time for late-night journeys.


3.51pm: Auckland emergency management told media that the weather is continuing to ease, with weather watches across the region being lifted.

However, the west might see a period of isolated showers and potential thunderstorms later this evening.

Showers are expected for Thursday afternoon, with more in the evening; this will ease on Friday morning and clear from midday.

Auckland Emergency Management does not expect any significant coastal impacts due to modest tides.

3.43pm: State Highway 1 Brynderwyns is set to reopen for northbound traffic this afternoon.

It comes after extensive clean-up work was completed, with the road open to vehicles from 4pm to 8pm.

Waka Kotahi NZTA said the road will be closed overnight so contractors can monitor any additional slips.

Light vehicles heading southbound will need to continue using the local detour, while heavy vehicles will need to use SH14 and SH12.

3.34pm: All non-essential consent-related building inspections in Auckland have been cancelled until Tuesday, 7 February.

It comes as the council has been working hard to repair homes damaged by the floods.

Auckland Council's manager of building consents, Ian McCormick, said the council is tracking around 700 to 1000 assessments per day and are aiming to complete them by the end of the week.

"We're probably looking at what is the largest deployment of rapid building exponents since the Christchurch Earthquake," McComnick said.

3.11pm: Speaking to media this afternoon, National leader Christopher Luxon said: "It's been good to see the Ministry of Education come around to our way of thinking, to actually give local schools the discretion to make their decisions whether their schools are open or closed based off their understanding of the local community and what is the best decision for them."

3.08pm: All people involved in a house collapse in Oura Bay have been accounted for and are being treated for injuries at Middlemore Hospital.

3.00pm: A number of dolphins have died after being beached on Great Barrier Island during the adverse weather over the weekend.

Project Jonah New Zealand said members of the public found the animals beachcast, with only a small number still alive and able to be refloated.

The bodies of eight common dolphins have been transported to the Cetacean Ecology Research Group for examination this week.

"Marine mammals can be affected by extreme weather events. If you find a marine mammal in distress, please call our 24-hour stranding hotline on 0800 4 WHALE for assistance," project Jonah said on Facebook.

2.51pm: Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has welcomed the news that schools can reopen tomorrow. 

"It turned out to be the right decision to keep schools closed today," he said.

"But Aucklanders are resilient and – where possible – want to get our region back to normal again.  

"With blue sky over much of the city, the worst is hopefully behind us." 

However, Brown urged Aucklanders to continue to take care, stressing that "our region is saturated" and there's a "big clean up" ahead. 

"As everyone heads back to work and school tomorrow, please keep well away from anything that looks like it could become a slip, and do not play in floodwaters."

2.46pm: The Mangawhai Surf Club had to be evacuated after a slip went through the building at midday.

While there are no reports of serious injuries, people are being asked to say away.

2.40pm: A slip at Thornton Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula saw residents evacuated today. 

"I was inside, and I heard 'crack, crack', and I came out," said Judy, who lives near the slip.

"And I could see up the hill there it all starting to come down. "The cracks got more and more and more...and it just kept on 'crack, crack, crack' coming down. "I feel a bit shaky."

A slip at Thornton Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula.

2.24pm: The Ministry of Education has confirmed Auckland schools can reopen tomorrow.

In a statement, the ministry said the decision came after a situational analysis by Waka Kotahi, which found there is a high level of confidence the weather will settle. They also found that water is draining quickly.

While 200 schools in Auckland had already decided term one would start on 7 February - the latest direction allows those who can open to do so.

"Of the 381 schools that had intended to open, some of you will be ready to go from tomorrow," The Secretary for Education Iona Holsted said in a message to schools.

"For others, your circumstances may have changed as a result of the weather events. Your staff, community and student body may need that extra time to prepare. If you do choose to re-open you should consider communicating with your students and whanau to plan for extended journey times, where applicable."

Schools will not have to make up two additional days later in the year should they decide to remain closed until next week.

2.15pm: Auckland City Rail Link has released a photo of one of its flooded tunnels.

They said teams are working hard to pump out the water and clear debris so they can brace for further bad weather.

"I would like to thank everyone involved for their professionalism and dedication to the job," CRL chief executive Sean Sweeney said.

There has been no significant damage to the structure of the tunnels, but a detailed assessment of the sites will take place soon.

2.03pm: One person remains trapped in a house that collapsed following a slip in Manukau Head's Orua Bay.

FENZ and an urban search and rescue team are currently at the scene, working to free the trapped person.

Four firetrucks and a helicopter are also responding to the incident.

1.57pm: Eden Park appears to be draining floodwaters that created a 'lake' on its outer oval.

Eden Park's flooded outer oval.

1.51pm: Auckland Airport and airlines are continuing to work through the backlog of travellers who were grounded by the floods.

A spokesperson said the airport was operating normally overnight, with terminals unaffected by last night's downpour.

Around 26,000 international travellers are expected to take off today on board 111 flights. More than 76,000 travellers have jetted off since the international terminal reopened.

"Getting to this point has reflected a phenomenal effort by all the teams involved from the airport, airlines and ground services, who have done a lot of manual lifting of baggage and other work in helping travellers," Auckland Airport Chief Executive Carrie Hurihanganui said.

"While the international terminal may largely look normal there is still significant work to be done in assessing and progressively safely reinstating all circuit boards, lifts and escalators.

Hurihanganui said that while remediation of the airport would take some time, they are working to get it back to full operating capacity.

"For the safety and comfort of everyone, we’re also going to need to pull up carpet and other materials in some areas of the terminal. Remediation will take place for some time, but the airport will remain open throughout as we focus on helping travellers get to where they are going as quickly and safely as possible.

“Again, our sincere thanks to travellers for their patience and support as we work through this period and get all operations up to speed after the exceptional weather event of Friday night.”

They also confirmed that 44 people slept at the airport overnight and were provided with blankets, stretchers and supported by members of staff.

1.34pm: A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the lower South Island.

1.20pm: A landslide in rural Auckland's Orua Bay has caused a house to collapse, injuring three.

Two Auckland Rescue Helicopters were deployed to the scene at 12.10pm this afternoon and are assisting those affected.

They believe three people have been injured, one in critical condition, one dealing with moderate injuries and another has minor injuries.

Westpac Helicopter responding to Orua Bay incident

1pm: Auckland's Victoria Park still remains flooded.

MetService is encouraging people listen to advice of local council and emergency management teams.

12.55pm: Construction is underway on Bailey Bridge, the bridge that was washed away on Friday by raging floodwaters.

Bailey Bridge is being restored.

The bridge, which covered the river on Mill Flat Road, was bearing the brunt of the overflow as it ran high due to the floods.

Footage on Friday showed the bridge suddenly collapsing under the intense pressure of the rushing water.

12.48pm: Fire and Emergency New Zealand say they were alerted to 93 weather related 111 calls in Auckland this morning between 6am and 8.30am.

District Manager Geoff Purcell said fire crews responded to incidents involving mostly slips and flooding and falling trees affecting homes and commercial properties as well as Auckland’s roads and motorways.

"Our communications centre put our Multiple Incident Procedure in place and we prioritised calls to properties with people in vulnerable circumstances, such as the elderly."

12.45: A red rain warning remains in place for parts of the Bay of Plenty with at least 100-150mm of rain still expected today.

Warnings and watches in the region are expected to lift by 9pm tonight.

12.35: Severe weather warnings for Auckland have now been lifted.

12.30: People are still being urged to stay home if they can.

12.20: Police are assisting Civil Defence with evacuating two homes in Thames after a landslip.

Police said one of the homes is on Coast Rd and the other on Adams Rd in Thornton Bay.

The slip occurred around 8.30 this morning.

"Police are also alerted others to prepare for evacuation if the slip worsens. It appears no one is injured.

"The road has not been closed at this stage as there is no immediate risk at this point. The situation is ongoing."

12.15: Greenlane interchange on State highway 1 is now fully open again.

12.10: As Auckland faces an extensive clean up following two major weather events in less than a week, the city's deputy mayor has called Wayne Brown "part of the problem".

In a slip of the tongue on Breakfast, Desley Simpson was asked when the media will be able to speak with Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

"He was on the ground looking at the community impacts across the region. He's part of the problem."

11.50am: Images of flooding at Ōrākei Cemetary have emerged with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei iwi chair Marama Royal saying, "we've got to have a plan" for future flood events.

Flooding at Ōrākei Cemetery.

11.30am: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says people should continue to defer any non-essential travel in North Island regions which remain affected by severe weather, with Metservice red or orange warnings for heavy rain remaining in place for Coromandel and parts of the Bay of Plenty region. It's advising those who need to travel to use their journey planner.

11.15am: MetService says rain has been hitting already-saturated regions.

11am: An Auckland bus has been filmed driving through waist-high floodwaters in the suburb of Onehunga this morning.

The unnerving video was shared by Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board member Debbie Burrows on Facebook shortly just after 6.30am today.

Omg. A bus just went through it! I was trying to get street closed off but struggling to get message through via AT. Resorted to 111 so hopefully in the meantime no-one else will try to give it a go!!

Posted by Debbie Burrows on Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Cars could be seen floating around the floodwaters on Beachcroft Ave, near the Queenstown Rd motorway on-ramp, Burrows said in a Facebook post.

10.30am: The state of emergency declared for Northland has been lifted.

Northland Civil Defence's Graeme MacDonald said although emergency declarations are normally for a seven-day period, "the relevant legislation provides for these to be either extended or ended earlier".

He said the reason for the state of emergency was to enable the use of the emergency powers, available under the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act 2002.

"As it eventuated, these powers were not required and there is no need for the emergency declaration to continue."

10.25: Four more community and information centres are opening in response to the floods.

10.15: MetService says Auckland Airport received around six times their average January rainfall.

9.50am: Auckland's deputy mayor Desley Simpson is urging Aucklanders to stay home this morning.

"My message to Aucklanders is please if you do not have to travel, please stay home it’s pretty crazy out there.

"It’s going south, hopefully that gives us a bit of a reprieve. But with that reprieve comes a massive cleanup and there will be a massive amount of work to do around that both domestically and for businesses right across the region

9.40am: All of Auckland's motorways are now open other than State Highway 1 on the Esmonde Rd Northbound On-ramp.

Access to Green Lane West also remains blocked at the SH1 Greenlane Interchange - both due to flooding.

9.25am: MetService says the heaviest of the rain has now passed through Northland and Auckland but there is still risk of a heavy shower or two in Auckland.

Coromandel and Bay of Plenty still under red warning for heavy rain today.

9am: All lanes on State Highway 1 between Northcote Rd and Esmonde Rd are now open again.

However, the Esmonde Rd Northbound on-ramp remains closed currently.

8.35am: Kāinga Ora says 281 of its properties have been damaged by flooding.

As a result, 166 households have been displaced, two of which have been able to return.

"Kāinga Ora staff carried out approximately 1500 inspections over the Auckland Anniversary Weekend, as well as making over 2000 welfare check phone calls to customers.

"Since Friday night, our contact centre has received more than 4000 calls, and has issued close to 2000 maintenance work orders in Auckland," acting deputy chief executive John Tubberty said.

8.30am: A Devonport family is beginning cleanup efforts this morning after their house flooded for second time last night.

FENZ say Devonport has been one of the most hard-hit areas this morning.

8.15: Civil Defence have given an update on the events overnight, saying it was quieter than expected but emergency calls have picked up this morning.

Rachel Kelleher warned people may be waking up to damage on their properties and should remain vigilant.

Fire and Emergency's Ron Devlin says there have been 53 weather related call outs this morning, which is "well within" Fire and Emergency's capacity.

He said rain didn't reach the point it was expected to but search and rescue teams are on standby.

Devlin added that most callouts this morning have been in Devonport, Ellerslie, Northcote, Mount Albert, and Greenlane.

7.58am: Due to a power outage, Western line train services will not be running until further notice.

7.53am: Photos have emerged from Okahu Bay showing the extent of the Auckland flooding this morning.

The park at Okahu Bay was nearly completely underwater.
Okahu Bay saw surface flooding on Wednesday morning.

7.48am: Police are urging motorists to take extra care on the roads and avoid travel where possible.

"Please do not drive through flood waters and remember hazards and debris could lurk beneath the surface and flood waters could be contaminated."

7.45am: NIWA says over the past 24 hours, 71 mm of rain has fallen at it's Western Springs climate station in Auckland.

"This is a month's worth of rain... again. Much of this fell in only a few hours."

7.30am: Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood says volunteers in his neighbourhood are helping to evacuate vulnerable residents as floodwaters rise again.

7.20am: National Civil Defence director of emergency management Roger Ball told Breakfast that the weather had moved past Northland overnight.

"Starting with Northland - at a general level, it was perhaps a little bit less intense than was feared," he said.

"As a result, things are pretty stable there at the moment.

"As it's coming through Auckland, there's been some very intense bursts early this morning. Some issues are emerging, surface flooding - on the roading network and in a number of other areas

"There is the potential for further inundation of properties potentially depending on how intense this gets if stormwater gets backed up."

Ball said people in vulnerable areas should prepare by having an emergency grab bag and to keep monitor of local warnings.

7.15am: Mount Roskill in Auckland is experiencing severe flooding this morning.

7.10: Waka Kotahi says flooding is easing quickly in most areas but it remains significant on SH1 on Northcote Rd & Esmonde Rd and on SH20 on Queenstown Rd & Neilson St, Southbound.

7.05: Fire and Emergency New Zealand say they are responding to a steady stream of 111 calls relating to the current burst of rain in Auckland, after a quiet night.

A slip on Tāmaki Drive has seen a tree cover the entire road.

"Fire crews are responding to flooding events affecting homes and commercial properties as well as Auckland’s roads and motorways.

"There has been one call as of 6.55am to someone requiring rescue, the rest of the incidents so far are not life-threatening."

7am: Northland seems to have avoided severe rain overnight despite being declared in a state of emergency.

6.45am: State Highway 20 is also closing. Waka Kotahi said flooding at SH20 Queenstown Rd to Neilson St, Southbound is significant.

6.40am: State Highway 1, Northcote Rd to Esmonde Rd is closed in both directions.

6.25am: Surface flooding is affecting all lanes at the intersection of Stanley St (SH16) and Beach Rd/Parnell Rise in Auckland.

Information about the affected roads can be found here.

6.15am: NZTA say due to flooding between Queenstown Rd and Neilson St, the left southbound lanes are blocked.

Motorists are urged to take extra care and expect delays.

6.10am: Fire and Emergency New Zealand say the number of calls received were still at “business as usual” levels, with more calls received in the last hour from the current burst of rain.

"In the last hour we have begun receiving calls relating to flooding – 13 calls between 4.45am and 5.45am, in areas including Devonport, Mt Roskill, Greenlane, Epsom and Birkenhead," Fire and Emergency said.

6am: Due to flooding on the State Highway 1 northern motorway, Esmonde Rd northbound (loop) on-ramp is closed.

5.30am: Waka Kotahi say there is flooding in lanes 1 and 2 on State Highway 1 on the Southern motorway beneath the Ellerslie, Panmure interchange.

5.15am: The red heavy rain warning, severe thunderstorm watch, and the strong wind watch for Northland have all ended as of 4am.

However there are still a number of warnings and watches in place across the country.

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.