New Zealand’s largest city has declared a state of emergency after torrential rain prompted widespread flooding and evacuations.
The downpour in Auckland on Friday shifted houses, stalled traffic and cut power to homes and businesses.
The New Zealand Herald reported that a body had been found in Wairau Valley on Auckland’s north shore.
An Elton John concert, expected to be attended by 40,000 fans, was cancelled minutes before it was due to start.
Footage online showed people trapped in waist-deep floodwater and rescuers carrying out evacuations on kayaks.
Other pictures showed grocery items floating down the aisles of several flooded supermarkets.
“Infrastructure and emergency services alike have been overwhelmed by the impacts of the storm,” said Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.
Floods at #Auckland airport #NewZealand #AKL pic.twitter.com/ud0OqofrLd
— Emily Handley (@Handles_1992) January 27, 2023
Local media reported that fire crews have fielded over 1,000 calls for assistance. The New Zealand Defence Force is also helping with evacuations.
Flights into Auckland, as well as rail and ferry services within the city, have been delayed or cancelled due to the weather.
Major roads were also blocked off by the floods, causing long traffic queues on highways, with several traffic accidents reported.
Auckland Emergency Management said on Twitter at 18:00 local time (06:00 GMT) that “severe weather” was affecting the region, with several areas affected by significant flooding.
Two hours later, the national weather authority estimated that 15cm of rain had fallen in the previous 11 hours. The record for a 24-hour period stands at 16.2cm.
The authority has forecast heavy rains in various parts of Auckland for at least the next five days.