New Zealand's Largest City Prepares For More Heavy Rain After Unprecedented Rainfall
New Zealand's largest city prepares for more heavy rain after unprecedented rainfall brought devastating floods that have killed at least four people and forced hundreds to evacuate. New Zealand's authorities issued a warning on Monday that the situation in flood-hit Auckland was likely to worsen.
On Monday, the New Zealand weather Authority issued a red heavy rain warning for Auckland and the adjacent Northland region for the upcoming days. This is the highest degree of warning available, and it is designated for the most extreme weather events.
The MetService was quoted as saying:
Tuesday is the day we are most concerned about. We are really concerned for the areas north of Auckland. They seem to bear the brunt of the next heavy rainfall event.
- The MetService in New Zealand
A meteorologist working for the MetService named Luis Fernandes predicted that the severe rains would also put Auckland in danger of landslips, which are quite similar to landslides.
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“When you have a significant rainfall event like this, rivers can rise quickly, and roads can literally fall away or become covered and can cut off communities,” he said.
It is believed that 240 millimeters of rainfall (9.8 inches) fell over Auckland on Friday, making it the wettest day on record for the city. This amount of rainfall is equivalent to an entire summer's worth of rain.
For years, scientists have been sounding the alarm that the current climate catastrophe will exacerbate extreme weather, making it both more common and more likely to cause fatalities. On Sunday evening, New Zealand's Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, highlighted the connection by tweeting "This is climate change" in a message that expressed gratitude to those who were supporting flood relief operations.
Because of the La Nia climatic pattern cycles in the Pacific Ocean, which affects weather all over the world, the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand is also getting an abnormally high amount of rainfall. In addition, the MetService predicted that another 80 to 120 millimeters of rainfall will fall over the next few days.
According to Desley Simpson, the deputy mayor of Auckland, this quantity of rainfall is “pretty unprecedented for Auckland.” She said:
We have had more rain in four hours than we have had ever in the history of Auckland since we have started measuring rainfall.
- Desley Simpson, the deputy mayor of Auckland
In the meantime, police in New Zealand said on Sunday that they believe they have located the body of a man who was reported missing after being washed away by floodwaters the previous day.
According to the authorities, a drone pilot discovered the body in the Onewhero area, which is located south of Auckland and approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) downstream from the location where he was last seen.
Chris Hipkins, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, stated on Monday that there had been "very significant damage" throughout the city of Auckland. According to him on national broadcaster TVNZ, he stated that while flooding was the primary cause of damage to a number of properties, there was also significant damage caused by earth tremors. He stated that there were approximately 350 persons in need of urgent housing.
Additionally, the weather made travel over the weekend quite difficult for a lot of people. According to the airport, more than 2,000 people had to spend the night in the terminals on Friday as a result of the floods. Saturday saw the return of flights within the country, but the international terminal did not become operational again until Sunday.
Chloe Swarbrick, the Member of Parliament for Auckland, said on Monday that all classes will be suspended until February 7.