New Zealand – State of Emergency as Record Rain Causes Flood Havoc in Auckland

A state of emergency has been declared in Auckland, New Zealand after record rain caused widespread flooding on 27 January 2023.

“It only took a half-day to beat the previous daily rainfall record,” the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said.

Flooding blocked highways around Auckland after record rain on 27 January 2023. Photo: Waka Kotahi NZTA Auckland & Northland

Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, said in a statement, “I’m 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.”

Major roads have been blocked by flooding, landslips or stranded vehicles, causing severe traffic disruption across the Auckland Region. Auckland Airport’s international terminal has been closed due to flooding.

Michael Wood, Minister of Transport, said it is a “very trying night for many Aucklanders. In my patch, this is the worst flooding I have ever seen and more may come overnight.”

Emergency services have been placed under huge demand. Auckland Fire and Emergency said that every fire truck in Auckland is responding to the priority calls. The service received over 1,000 calls for assistance, with many calls related to flooded properties.

Homes were flooded in areas of West Auckland, prompting evacuations. Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) said it has opened a Civil Defence Centre in Kelston for those displaced. Local media reported one house was swept off its foundations in Ranui with one person suspected to be trapped inside.

In a separate incident, Auckland City District Police reported a body was located in Wairau Valley in Auckland’s North Shore, an area that has seen significant flooding. As of 27 January, police could not confirm if the incident was related to the weather event.

Record Rain

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said that 27 January 2023 is “provisionally, the wettest day on record for multiple locations in Auckland.”

In a period from 03:00 to 21:00, the Auckland Albany weather station recorded 260.6 mm of rain; Auckland Motat 238.4 mm; and Auckland Māngere 242.0 mm.

NIWA said “this is approximately an entire summer’s worth of rain (DJF) in one day! Even when using the conventional 9:00 am start time when calculating daily rainfall produces new daily records.

“Put differently: it only took a half-day to beat the previous daily rainfall record.”

Social Media