Clean-up continues for flood-hit Auckland as massive sink hole appears
Floodwaters are receding and roads are clearing, but the real impact is just beginning for some Aucklanders after a weekend of torrential rain and damaging flash floods.
A huge sinkhole has opened near a major intersection in New Lynn in the city's west, leaving neighbouring buildings teetering near the edge.
Severe flooding struck Auckland's west on Sunday - turning streets into rivers, trapping shoppers and forcing people to evacuate their houses as heavy rain poured down.
The most dramatic illustration of the floods' damage was a large sinkhole in New Lynn, where part of the footpath crumbled away and left a sheer drop underground.
* Auckland 'ignored flood warnings'
* More than 300 Auckland homes flooded as Tasman Tempest rages
* Northland clean-up begins
* West Auckland locals stunned as storm floods street in 15 minutes
* Heavy rain causes surface flooding across Wellington region
The huge hole, spanning a gap as wide as a street, is between the Bike Barn and Club Fia Fia, which is currently for lease.
The neighbouring building is teetering close to the sharp drop, and its foundations and once-buried pipe system have been totally exposed.
Caution tape and barricades have been set up around the sinkhole, while the footpath nearest the hole has been closed.
New Lynn was one of the areas worst affected by Sunday's flash floods.
One resident, River Reid, has no insurance and does not know how much the damage from Sunday's flood will cost him.
"The drainways got flooded really quickly and the sections flooded up", he resident said.
Everything he had under the house was "ruined".
His friend's dad had made a precious carving which was damaged, along with clothing, mattresses and a fridge - which was left floating in the floodwaters.
Meanwhile, Yunis Mohammad inspected his three-bedroom home on Parker Ave in New Lynn with his mouth covered - the smell of mould and sewerage is too much for him, he said.
His young family is overseas but he is upset his contents, including his children's toys, were damaged.
He slept at a friend's house last night and may have to stay away from his home again tonight.
The car belonging to another New Lynn resident, Warren Crowe is a write off - and his three-bedroom house is uninhabitable.
He slept at his neighbour's home last night and things aren't looking up today.
He does not know when the insurance assessors will come but he knows that there is a lot of damage to his home and contents.
Crowe said there is possibly sewerage around, but he does not know for sure.
The water came up about 12 inches inside his property.
Northland is also counting the cost of severe flash floods after the region's rain gauges recorded between 100 to 200mm between March 9 and 12.
ESCAPING THE DELUGE
As the Auckland deluge hit, one man had only seconds to rush upstairs with his son to escape water flooding into his flat.
Flooding struck swaths of locations to the city's west on Sunday: turning streets into rivers, trapping shoppers and forcing people to evacuate their houses as heavy rain poured down.
At least a dozen people were evacuated from a block of flats on Great North Road in Kelston as floodwaters swept through 321 Auckland homes during the day.
One of the evacuees, Dany Madawalaliyanage, told RNZ the floodwater quickly gushed into his flat.
"I realised it was too late to save my car and all [my] stuff," he said, adding that he rushed upstairs with his young son to escape the water.
The water kept rising until it was about a metre deep, and Madawalaliyanage was only able to save his passport and jewellery.
"Most of the stuff's gone," he said.
Other tenants' cars were left submerged as the floodwaters rushed through their street.
Eighteen evacuated people spent the night in emergency accommodation, while residents of other areas were also offered accommodation, food and transport, Auckland Council said.
New Lynn MP David Cunliffe was critical of the council, telling RNZ it had failed to keep the stormwater drains clear of rubbish and overgrowth.
The evacuated building's residents included new migrants, and most occupants were uninsured, he said.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff acknowledged the need to learn lessons from the weekend's wild weather.
"With climate change we're going to have more extreme weather conditions as time goes on," he said, speaking on Newshub's The AM Show.
"We can't afford for this kind of thing to happen again."
Goff said the council needed to urgently look at what could be done to improve the city's infrastructure for future events.
He said he believed deforestation was partly to blame for the level of silt in the water supply, and suggested native forest should be replanted in the catchment area.
Floodwaters largely subsided in Auckland on Sunday evening as the stormwater network cleared.
For serious stormwater issues, structural issues with buildings, or issues with trees down on public land, please call 09 301 0101.— Auckland CDEM (@AucklandCDEM) March 12, 2017
If you are experiencing an overflow or wastewater flooding on your property, please call Watercare on 09 442 2222.— Auckland CDEM (@AucklandCDEM) March 12, 2017
While the flooding is mostly over, west Auckland residents can expect more traffic delays on Monday morning.
Auckland Transport tweeted that motorists should expect "significant delays" on Great North Rd near the intersection with Titirangi Rd, with the road reduced to one lane in each direction.
Great North Rd near intersection with Titirangi Rd, New Lynn, is currently open to one lane in each direction. Expect significant delays ^LC pic.twitter.com/PMH4l5Q7fm— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) March 12, 2017
At the intersection of Great North Road and Clark St on Monday morning, the flooding had receded leaving muddy, slippery pathways and cordoned off shops.
The city was in for fine spells and a high of 23C on Monday, although there would be some morning showers, MetService said.
The rest of the week was forecast to be overcast, before a sunny day on Friday.
MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said most of the rain was now in the South Island.
"There are still a few showers for parts of the North Island, so it's not exclusively South Island. But compared to the previous few days what's happening in the North Island is pretty insignificant really, just a few showers specially in western areas of the North Island," Glassey said.
"There's still pretty persistent rain in the east of the South Island - Canterbury and Otago - just sort of steady rain but we're not forecasting anything heavy. It doesn't have the same potential to be torrential like it was in parts of the North Island."
About 30 households were without power in Glen Eden overnight, before electricity was restored early on Monday morning.
Vector said 16 households were still without power in Kawakawa Bay, with slip damage preventing crews form making repairs.
The Ministry of Education said some schools and early childhood centres may be closed on Monday due to the flooding, and advised parents to check websites and social media for updates.
AUCKLAND'S CLEAN-UP CONTINUES
Storefronts were dark and bordered up in New Lynn following Sunday's deluge.
The normally bustling suburb was quiet on Monday morning, save for the Watercare and Council workers dredging through the muck.
Heavy rain turned Great North Road to a heaving swell on Sunday - streets resembled rivers, shoppers became trapped and people were forced to evacuate their homes.
Floodwaters swept through 321 Auckland homes during the day, around 200 of these were in New Lynn.
On Clarke Street, the footpath was closed and traffic management remained at the scene.
Across the street, piles of newspapers were strewn across the floor in Chakri Snacks, soaking up water that spilled in. Next door, a man swept water out onto the footpath.
Auckland Council still has concerns about some flooded spots in New Lynn, including a commercial building where a water main was believed to have burst.
Bunnings Warehouse - which was evacuated due to flooding - had been cleared by engineers to reopen on Monday.