After the devastating floods in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, the Pacific state is again threatened with heavy rainfall. In the Northland region, which stretches from Auckland to the northern tip of the country, a state of emergency has been declared for the next seven days, the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing the authorities.
The trigger is said to be an "atmospheric river" that moves across the North Island. These bands of moisture-saturated air typically bring heavy rain for several days.
There was already heavy rain in Northland on Tuesday. Roads were closed and the electricity went out in some areas. Supermarkets announced they would close early to prepare for the storm. "It's a serious situation," meteorologist Georgina Griffiths told Radio New Zealand. The main danger is that the soil is already saturated. Heavy precipitation therefore quickly led to flooding and flash floods. Griffiths said it was the wettest January on record.
At least four people have died in Auckland since Friday. Eyewitnesses reported the worst flooding they had ever experienced. The airport of the metropolis with 1.6 million inhabitants was partially under water at the weekend.
Numerous flights were canceled as a result. Hundreds of travelers were stranded at the airport at the beginning of the weekend. Others are now stuck abroad: According to media reports, passengers in Singapore, for example, tried desperately to get on a plane to Auckland. Some had been warned it could take until early March for that to happen, it said. Because of the flight cancellations, the connections to New Zealand are heavily overloaded.
Tweet about road closures in Northland