Cyclone Gabrielle: Flooding and land slips isolate some Auckland regions

9:28 am on 14 February 2023
Flooding near Waimauku in the Auckland region.

Flooding near Waimauku in the Auckland region. Photo: RNZ / MARIKA KHABAZI

There has been widespread power outages, flooding, slips, and damage to properties after Cyclone Gabrielle lashed the North Island.

Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) duty controller Rachel Kelleher says significant rain overnight over much of the region caused widespread power outages, flooding, slips, and damage to properties.

"The heaviest rain and wind was felt on the west coast of the region. In the 12 hours to 4am, 265mm of rain fell in Piha and 106mm in Muriwai."

Piha, Bethells Beach and Karekare have been left isolated as a result of the flooding and land slips.

In Muriwai, a volunteer firefighter remains trapped inside a collapsed house and another is in a critical condition.

An emergency alert was sent out on Tuesday morning to residents in Muriwai with a heightened level of land slip risk in particular streets.

Kelleher says Defence Force personnel have helped with evacuations and police are set to put a cordon in Muriwai to restrict access.

She says Council building teams will be assessing the situation there today, and will provide advice on whether people can return to their properties.

Kelleher says record river heights have been seen across the region, including Wairoa River Valley near Clevedon which recorded a peak height of 5.55m.

And in Mt Eden, about 33 households were evacuated from an apartment building due to danger posed by a nearby unstable structure.

On power outages, Kelleher says about 15,000 to 20,000 customers are without it in the region.

"High winds are causing falling power lines and a reminder to treat all power lines as live. If you do come across a downed powerline or damaged power equipment, stop, retreat and stay well care, unless you know that power has been isolated, you should stay at least a bus-length away."

She urged people who felt unsafe in their homes to go and stay with friends and family, or to go to one of their shelters or centres.

Auckland Transport says all KiwiRail passenger services continue to be suspended until midday today.

Bus replacements are running on an hourly basis. There will be some delays to some services. Debris on roads has cancelled some too. Ferry services are also limited. They asked people to check AT's website for the most up to date information on road closures.

"Please be mindful of debris, it's extensive out there."

Meanwhile, MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says 250mm of rain was recorded in West Auckland. With the rain band clearing the region, the red heavy rain warning has now expired for the city as well as Great Barrier. There are still some passing showers, but there was expected to be relatively fine weather until Sunday.

But Griffiths says we're not out of the woods yet from the wind, with a red warning for that remaining due to severe south-westerely gales.

* Read more: Live weather updates: Cyclone Gabrielle unleashes fury across North Island

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