Residents of Auckland were urged to evacuate their homes on Friday (27 January) after torrential rain and severe flooding hit the New Zealand city. The extreme weather conditions also saw an Elton John concert set to take place in the city cancelled only minutes before it was set to kick off.
Rain water flooding major transport hubs such as Auckland Airport. Footage shared with NationalWorld shows roads blocked by the flooding, with residents advised to stay at home.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has declared a state of emergency. The emergency is set to expire in seven days.
In a statement, Brown said: "This declaration reflects the extent of damage, displacement and disruption caused by this evening’s severe weather event and enables emergency services and response agencies to draw on resources, and enact additional powers, to assist affected Aucklanders.”
What is happening in Auckland?
New Zealand’s MetService issued a red warning for heavy rain in Auckland, with the warning in place until 3am on Saturday (28 January). The city has already reportedly seen 238mm of rainwater fall.
The high levels of rainfall came with further warning of extreme flooding, dangerous river conditions and thunderstorms. Flooding could already be seen across the central areas of the city, with major landmarks and transport hubs being breached with water.
Residents in the worst-affected areas have been urged to evacuate their homes to limit any injuries or casualties as a result of the dangerous conditions. Those told to evacuate have been instructed to stay with friends or family if possible, however emergency accommodation centres have also been set up in Auckland.
Auckland Emergency Management confirmed that staff had been assessing reports of people stuck on the roof of their property. While some have been told to evacuate, others have been told to remain in place and avoid travelling if it was safe to do so.
Power outages have also been widespread as infrastructure struggles to cope with the conditions. This has been mostly localised in West Auckland,one of the worst hit parts during the storm.
What happened at Elton John’s Auckland concert?
Elton John was due to perform at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on 27 January. The show was cancelled by organisers due to dangerous weather conditions, however this was only announced minutes before the show was due to begin.
Around 40,000 people were expected at the stadium for the concert, which was billed as a show part of Elton John’s final farewell tour. When the announcement was made at 7.15pm - 15 minutes before the expected start time at 7.30pm - it was believed there were already 11,000 people inside the venue.
Many of those who had already travelled to the stadium ahead of the announcement fumed at the fact the show had not been called off by promoters earlier in the day. Auckland Emergency Management had told those who had already arrived at the stadium that they would need to possibly find another place to stay that evening if their route home was blocked.
A second date on the tour was due to take place on Saturday 28 January. Frontier Touring, responsible for promoting the concert dates, said that a decision was yet to be made on whether this show was set to go ahead.
Other events have also been affected by the torrential rain. DJ Fatboy Slim is set to perform at Auckland Domain in Victoria Park on Sunday 29 January, however the fate of this show has yet to be confirmed.