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Flooding in Devonport on Tuesday May 9. Image: Supplied
Flooding in Devonport on Tuesday May 9. Image: Supplied

SocietyMay 9, 2023

Auckland state of emergency: What you need to know

Flooding in Devonport on Tuesday May 9. Image: Supplied
Flooding in Devonport on Tuesday May 9. Image: Supplied

Auckland is in a state of emergency and Northland is facing a severe weather event which could possibly extend into the night. Here’s what you need to know and where to get help. 

What’s going on? 

Civil Defence has issued an emergency mobile alert to Aucklanders as heavy rain and flooding continues to across the city. The alert says that heavy rain and thunderstorms are affecting the Auckland region and could continue through until midnight.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown meanwhile has declared a state of local emergency for Auckland and delegated his responsibilities and powers to deputy mayor Desley Simpson as he’s in Sydney for meetings today.

“After carefully considering the advice of the Duty Controller I have decided to declare a precautionary state of local emergency,” he said in a statement. “While I am assured that emergency services are coping with the volume of call outs at the moment, and that they do not require emergency powers, I consider it is necessary to communicate to the public that this is something to take seriously.”

There is also a severe weather warning in place for Northland, with thunderstorms expected to be accompanied by torrential rain. This can cause surface and/or flash flooding, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous. Wind gusts may also reach up to 110km/h.

As of writing there is already flooding in West Auckland, with several schools closed and several Henderson-bound bus lines being detoured. Onehunga and Western train lines have been suspended until further notice. For up-to-date coverage follow our Live Updates.

What do I do? 

As the emergency alert said, if you need to evacuate, seek shelter with friends and family and take important items with you. “Plan your travel carefully, we are likely to see widespread surface flooding across Auckland, including during the afternoon and evening commute.” 

During heavy rain, Civil Defence advises that the public follows the instruction of emergency services and local CDEM groups. Follow Civil Defence Auckland on Twitter and Facebook, or those in Northland can follow Civil Defence here on Facebook

Stay indoors and avoid driving during heavy downpours, as surface flooding is possible and there is a potential for slips. Bring pets inside, keep doors and windows closed, and pull curtains and blinds in the event of wind gusts or falling debris break the glass. 

Flooding on Te Atatu Road during the January floods (Photo: Ben Gracewood)

What if there is flooding in my area? 

Be prepared for the fact that floods and flash floods can happen quickly. “If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater,” says Civil Defence. Never try to walk, swim or drive through flood water, and always assume that the water is contaminated. 

In the event that you need to leave your house in a hurry – think five minutes warning or less – there are a few essential items to pack. These include covered walking shoes, warm clothes, a raincoat, a hat, water and snack food, hand sanitiser, a portable phone charger, cash and copies of your ID and any other important documents. 

It is also good to know where to find your medication, first aid kit, face masks, torch, radio and batteries in the event you need them at short notice. FM radio stations like RNZ, The Hits, NewstalkZB and MoreFM will all have updates in case of an emergency, and we’ll list some more useful people/resources below. 

If I need to evacuate, where do I go? 

Auckland Emergency Management Centre says Te Manawa Library (11 Kohuhu Lane, Massey) is currently open and fully operational as a Civil Defence centre. It can provide beds, blankets, food, water, and support agency assistance. 

Another Civil Defence centre is now open in Albany Hall (575 Albany Highway), also providing stretcher beds, blankets, food, water, welfare support agencies, and psychosocial support.

Papakura Marae (29 Hunua Road) is open for anyone in South Auckland needing to access shelter or support. If you need transport or additional support, you can message them here on Facebook.

Civil Defence community emergency hubs have been opened at the Kumeu Cricket Club (529 State Hwy 16, Kumeu), the Waiheke Service Centre (10 Belgium St, Waiheke) and the Warkworth Town Hall (2 Alnick St, Warkworth)

Helpful follows

If life or property is at risk, call 111. 

Auckland Emergency Management if more Civil Defence centres and shelters are required, details will be listed on their website and on this map

Metservice for weather warnings and updates

Civil Defence Northland and Whangarei District Council Facebook

Waka Kotahi Auckland Northland for roading updates

Auckland Transport Travel Alerts for public transport updates

FM radio stations like RNZ, The Hits, NewstalkZB and MoreFM will have regular updates in case of an emergency. 

Auckland MPs and councillors have previously been good at sharing information as it comes to hand. If you’re likely to use social media, consider following your local representatives and the emergency services for updates, including but not limited to:

Chlöe Swarbrick – Auckland Central MP

Michael Woods – Mt Roskill MP and minister of transport

Richard Hills – Councillor, North Shore

Josephine Bartley – Councillor, South Auckland

Keep going!