New Zealand: More rain for Auckland with red warnings and widespread flooding

Auckland airport recorded nearly 10" of rain last Friday, their wettest day on record. There has been widespread flooding and with more heavy rain on the way midweek, severe warnings are back.

New Zealand: More rain for Auckland with red warnings and widespread flooding
Blog by Jo Farrow
Issued: 31st January 2023 11:39
Updated: 31st January 2023 11:43

New Zealand has seen another day with Red level rain warnings over the North Island and Auckland. This follows Auckland’s wettest 24 hours on record on January 27th 2023 when a state of emergency was declared by the end of the day. The warning system from the National MetService is much like ours in the UK. These red warnings are rare. 50 to 150mm of rain is mentioned for Tuesday into Wednesday, that's another 2 to 6" of rain. It is summer in the southern hemisphere and after the recent torrential rain and widespread flooding, there is now this spell of wild weather with more intense rainfall, gales and large waves in the north. Not very summery at all. 

New Zealand rain radar and red warnings Flooding

Auckland has already had over seven times its average January rainfall. And now there is even more heavy and persistent rain for mid-week across northern parts of New Zealand.

'Whangarei Airport (north of Auckland) just recorded 30mm of rain between 9pm and 10pm' Late on Tues 31st, 3cm of rain in an hour

The widespread flooding reached our news last week and the ongoing feed of heavy rain continues to cause impacts. The whole of the Bay of Plenty was under Orange rain warnings. However, due to the conditions on the ground, the high river levels and existing flooding the warnings were escalated to Red in some regions by MetService. More heavy rain has arrived and is forecast on Wednesday.  

“Many other stations around Auckland city recorded similar amounts between 250-300mm, with peak hourly rainfall of 60-80mm/h yesterday evening (27th) which are almost unheard of for NZ”

Metservice New Zeland AUckland rain warnings

Like here in the UK, the Orange level is still a warning of severe weather, with significant impacts. There has been damage to water supplies in a few areas and there is still lots of standing water with unsanitary flood damage. Four people died, many homes and businesses are without power and road travel is disrupted.

Red warning northern Auckland area – “Expect 60 to 90 mm of rain in the east…localised…up to 120 mm. Peak rates of 10 to 20 mm/h, but localised areas may see 20 to 35 mm/h, or possibly more.”

The seasonal warm, humid air is setting off thunderstorms as well. These add the threat of intense, sudden downpours to the overall wet picture in the north.

Further widespread disruption is expected, hence the red warnings. Parts of the North Island are already saturated and flooding is ongoing. There is the risk of further land and mudslides. During Tuesday night a frontal band of rain will edge towards Auckland from Northland, adding to areas already soaked from recent torrential rains.  There is also a wind warning so conditions will be awful. Exposed parts could see severe gales with the risk of trees falling and power lines coming down with the ground being so disturbed and wet. 

Auckland rainfall totals , wettest on record

"Since 9am on Friday 27th January, Tauranga Airport has seen 18cm of rain, Whakatane 9.5cm and Rotorua 20cm which is an impressive amount of rain".

Auckland airport was flooded last week with all international flights cancelled. Auckland Airport got its average monthly rain for January in less than hour on January 27th. “It looks like it will be the wettest month on record for Auckland, never mind the wettest January on record.” Met Service

Our warming global climate means that there will be more events like this. Of heavier, more prolonged rainfall. Warmer air can hold more water. When systems get stuck, we see feeds of water, like in California, and the UK and so severe flooding follows. Climate adaptation is needed to cope with some of this. How we plan new towns and update our older urban environments locally along with the global (and national) issue of reducing the rate of climate warming. 

More New Zeland weather chat in the World Weather thread in the Netweather community forum


Tags: World Weather  Climate

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