Disasters & Accidents

‘Extremely heavy rain’ warning issued in Auckland as death toll climbs to 4

Sydney, Australia, Jan 29 (EFE).- New Zealand’s national weather agency (MetService) issued a weather warning alert on Sunday evening in Auckland, for “extremely heavy rain” as the death toll due to record rain in the country’s most populous city climbed to four.

The New Zealand police said on Sunday that it had located the body of a man in Onewhero, about a kilometer away from the place from where he was swept away by floodwaters a couple of days earlier.

“Police have been overwhelmed by the way the community has rallied around and gone above and beyond to assist with the search,” the police said in a statement.

“Locals have offered their time and effort, food, and support to others around them at this extremely difficult time,” it added.

The total number of deaths due to storms and floods in Auckland, which registered the wettest day in its history on Friday, now stands at four, since two other people lost their lives in Wairau Valley and another in Remuera.

The torrential storms hitting Auckland, which has a population of 1.5 million inhabitants and is located on New Zealand’s North Island, have forced the closure of various highways and the airport, with dozens of flights canceled.

The extreme weather conditions have also led to the cancellation of cultural events, including a concert by singer Elton John

A state of emergency was declared in the Auckland region on Friday while the MetService warned on Sunday that there was “potential for extremely heavy rain.”

“MetService has issued an orange heavy rain warning due to an active line of thunderstorms currently sitting over the Hauraki Gulf. Between now and 7am tomorrow (Monday), this line of thunderstorms could produce localized downpours of 50-90mm of rainfall,” the agency said.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, MetService’s Georgina Griffiths urged residents to “hang in there.”

“We are very vulnerable in the region at the moment to any rainfall … rainfall that normally would not cause problems is exacerbating slips and causing localized flooding,” she said. EFE


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