Wild storm lashes Auckland, evacuations underway as homes flooded

Residents are being evacuated in parts of West Auckland as wild weather causes extensive flooding in some parts of the city.

A witness told the Herald numerous homes were flooded in and around Birdwood Rd in Swanson and cars were being swept down the road.

“Houses are underwater, cars are flooded and kids are being plucked from their homes in their pajamas.”

The witness said emergency services were out trying to help people and it’s understood at least one home is at risk of collapsing.

He saw one man carrying two children through shoulder-height flood waters.

Another man and his wife were fleeing with one bag of belongings, all they had time to grab as the water rose through their home.

“It is just absolutely teeming down, the rain is just driving so hard.”

Residents in and around Kumeu have also reporting flooding and a family in Whenuapai said the gusts were so strong their trampoline was blown over.

And Waitakere Volunteer firefighters asked residents to stay at home saying “Please DON’T driver! Much of the Township is flooded.”

Henderson Massey local board member Will Flavell was asking West Auckland residents to stay off the roads and keep pets and children away from the water.

He told the Herald he had spoken with Auckland Transport about getting help for those who need it.

“Auckland Transport have assured me they will get contractors out to Ranui [and] Henderson as quickly as they can.”

He has spoken with some “key people” who are in the affected suburbs who have said firefighters are there and evaluating some residents.

“I’ve seen flooding in different homes and in different streams and creeks,” he said.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corrigan said some parts of West Auckland have recorded close to 90mm of rain in the 12 hours to 1am..

Some areas in Auckland have also recorded 20mm-30mm of rain in an hour.

And, the rain isn’t going to stop overnight.

“We are expecting to see more rain for most of the day.”

Please DON'T drive! Much of the Township is flooded.If you need help please call 111

The flooding comes after the Auckland region saw about 400 lightning strikes over a roughly three-hour period Monday evening – putting on a light show for two days in a row.

While some areas are more prone to thunder and lightning than others, it’s unusual anywhere in New Zealand to see lightning and thunder two days in a row, said MetService forecaster Allister Gorman.

“We usually share them around more,” he said.

Most of the Auckland thunderstorms on Monday were around Helensville and Kaipara Harbour.

“The Auckland area is under a moderate risk of thunder storms until tomorrow morning,” but it’s unlikely to compare to last night’s spectacular show, Gorman said. “Probably most of the action this evening has been east of Great Barrier Island, we away from Auckland.”

Most of the lightning strikes will tend to be over the sea at night because the water retains more warmth, meaning that those who live along the coast will likely see more, he added.

The region remains under a heavy rain watch due to a slow-moving front, meaning people should be wary while travelling or if in flood-prone areas. While not all areas will be hit by heavy rain, it remains a possibility.

“There is some uncertainty as to exactly where the heaviest rain will fall, but rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria in the vicinity of this rain-band,” MetService has warned on its website.

The thunderstorms are expected to move north towards Cape Reinga on Tuesday, possibly leaving New Zealand by Wednesday, Gorman said.

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