Record rainfall overnight in Auckland causes massive flooding

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Record rainfall from Friday morning through overnight to Saturday morning in Auckland has caused massive flooding across the biggest city in New Zealand.

Vehicles drive on a flooded street in Auckland, New Zealand, Jan. 27, 2023. A state of emergency was declared in Auckland on Friday as heavy rains caused widespread flooding in New Zealand's biggest city. (Photo: Xinhua)

The country's national meteorological service, MetService, issued Red Heavy Rain Warning for the Auckland area overnight and recorded 249mm of rain in 24 hours until 1:00 a.m. Saturday.

The record rainfall has caused massive flooding to houses and properties, forcing the closure of State Highway 1 and the Auckland Airport. One person was found dead in a flood in North Shore, Auckland.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has announced a state of emergence overnight. Three evacuation centers were established to accommodate people affected by the rain and flood.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins addressed the nation at the National Crisis Management Center in Wellington at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday and is heading to Auckland first light in the morning.

"When the rain hit, it hit very hard and very fast... Aucklanders need to brace for the fact there could be more rain. This is quite unprecedented," Hipkins said.

"It's still difficult to determine the extent of the flooding and how many people are displaced," said Hipkins.

The previous 24-hour record of rainfall was 161.8mm, dating back to February 1985, according to MetService. MetService Red Warnings are only issued for the most significant weather events. This is the first red warning of 2023, said MetService.