Wild video has revealed the devastation caused by Auckland's heaviest rainfall in one day which left at least two people dead.
In one TikTok post shoppers can be seen wading through knee-high water in a Glenfield supermarket while Auckland Airport, New Zealand's busiest airport, was brought to a standstill swamped in rainwater.
Many were in disbelief over the shoppers continuing in the Pak'NSave store. "Insane," one person wrote online, while others questioned how safe it was due to the electrical threat.
Authorities have now begun the lengthy clean-up after the torrential rains brought flooding and evacuations, as well as the cancellation of an Elton John concert where 40,000 people were expected to attend.
A state of emergency remained in place on Saturday in the city of about 1.6 million people. Auckland Emergency Management said daylight had revealed the first "true understanding" of the storm's impact.
"Auckland was clobbered on Friday – Auckland's wettest day on record – and today we start the clean-up," the agency's duty controller Andrew Clark said in a statement, urging caution for residents returning to homes to survey flood damage.
A record 249mm of rain fell in the city during a torrid 24-hour period.
"We won't start to get a good idea of numbers affected until later today and, even then, this will take time, with information still coming in and many assessments to complete," Mr Clark said.
Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty tweeted that he and Prime Minister Chris Hipkins would visit Auckland on Saturday "to assess the damage from this event".
The nation's weather forecaster said while heavy rain had eased, another period of downpours was possible on Sunday.
This wet floor sign at Auckland Airport really doing some heavy lifting tonight pic.twitter.com/048dqi2dxF
— Simon Wong (@wimon_song) January 27, 2023
Two deaths reported so far
Two men were found dead amid the flooding, New Zealand Police said. A search was under way for another man believed swept away. Another person was unaccounted for after a landslide hit a house in Remuera, an inner suburb of Auckland, police said.
More than 2000 calls for assistance have been made around the city, the New Zealand Herald reported on Saturday.
Auckland Airport, which closed both domestic and international operations on Friday, remained shuttered, with a reopening scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Air New Zealand had 12 international services due into Auckland diverted overnight.
Not the longest flight in the world anymore, but this Dubai-Auckland flight probably feels like it today. With Auckland Airport closed due to flooding, Emirates decided to return to Dubai. Looking about a 13.5 hour flight from Dubai to Dubai. https://t.co/nMvFA5Wa9y pic.twitter.com/kZy29zzlbu
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 27, 2023
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