WELLINGTON (Feb 1): Rain continued to lash flood-ravaged Auckland on Wednesday, with roads and rail lines shut, houses flooded again and trees blown over in New Zealand’s largest city.
Four people lost their lives in flash floods and landslides that have hit Auckland since Friday amid record downpours. A state of emergency is in place in Auckland and Northland, the country's northernmost region.
Weather forecaster Metservice had forecast heavy rains for the city and surrounding areas overnight into Wednesday morning, raising fears of significant flooding.
Calls for help had increased on Wednesday morning but the rains had not been as heavy as feared, Fire and Emergency New Zealand regional manager Ron Devlin said.
“We had a quietish night -- very high winds,” he said. “The weather didn’t reach the point that was predicted, which is a great thing.”
However, several roads across the city, including parts of the city's motorway system remain flooded, a number of rail networks are not operating, houses have been flooded again and significant landslides pose risks to houses.
Schools in the area remain closed until Feb.7 but early childcare centres are now allowed to open.
Metservice said that the heaviest rains have now passed through Northland and Auckland, although Auckland remains at risk of a heavy shower or two on Wednesday morning.
Heavy rain warnings remain in place for the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty regions southeast of Auckland.
Rachel Kelleher, Auckland Emergency Management Deputy Controller, said that risks remained of trees falling over due to wet ground.