New Zealand's largest city declares state of emergency following floods, heavy rain

New Zealand's largest city Auckland declared a state of emergency after torrential downpours brought extensive flooding to several areas of the North Island on Tuesday, while one student was reported missing after being caught in flash flooding during a school excursion.

The meteorological agency has issued weather warnings and watches for many parts of the North Island, including Auckland, where heavy rains left roads flooded in urban areas, causing the closure of several expressways and the suspension of train and shipping services. Some schools were also closed as a result of the weather.

Heavy rain began in the city on Tuesday and continued throughout the day, dumping between 35 to 40 millimeters of rain per hour in some places. Other areas in the city also saw thunderstorms accompanied by gale force winds of up to 110 kilometers per hour.

"A severe thunderstorm watch and flooding event has been issued for Auckland. MetService has issued an orange heavy rain warning and a severe thunderstorm warning for Auckland including Aotea Great Barrier Island today through until about 19:00 tonight. We've seen heavy downpours across the region already. We are expecting more rain to come through as the day progresses, potentially through until up to midnight," said Rachel Kelleher, deputy controller of Auckland Emergency Management.

Meanwhile, a student in the North Island was left missing after being washed away by flash floods during an extracurricular activity with classmates at a cave near Whangarei. The search was suspended as night fell, but police reports later circulated that a body had been found after specialist equipment was deployed.

Auckland has now entered its third state of emergency due to severe weather this year. The North Island was affected by severe floods in January and was then hit by Cyclone Gabrielle in February which killed at least 11 people.

(Cover image is a screenshot)

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