Torrential rain and wild weather in Auckland has caused major disruption throughout the city – and even led to an Elton John concert being cancelled just minutes before he was due on stage.
About 40,000 people were expected to attend the evening concert at Mt Smart Stadium in New Zealand‘s largest city.
Thousands were already at the venue when organisers decided to cancel shortly before the rock legend was due to take the stage.
Billed as being part of Elton John‘s final farewell tour, promoter Frontier Touring tweeted the concert had been cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions.
However, one ticketholder replied, posting: “Thanks for waiting till we were already there to cancel it…
“We understand cancelling it, just not at 7.15 for a 7.30 start…”
Casey Mitchell, a Briton based in New Zealand, told Sky News: “I’m furious. It was raining heavily on the way to the stadium and I kept checking for announcements but nothing came, despite puddles being up to my ankles.
“After the gig was called off, hundreds of people queued in the downpours for the shuttle buses and I saw some people chant for Elton in the hope he’d come on – but it was like a literal river there.”
Weather agency MetService warned of flash flooding and hazardous driving conditions throughout the city.
On Friday night, transport authorities closed parts of State Highway 1, the main route through the city.
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Images posted online showed waist-deep water in some places, and authorities were asking residents in flood-prone areas to be prepared in case they needed to evacuate.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand said it had taken over 1,000 calls for help, but that many calls were from people who had flooded properties.
The agency was urging callers to clear the lines for those in immediate danger.
The unseasonable weather also caused some flights to be delayed or cancelled.
Auckland Airport said it had reduced its runway operations after an arriving aircraft had damaged runway lighting.
“This is largely impacting international arrivals and departures and larger aircraft travelling domestically,” the airport wrote on Twitter.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown told Radio New Zealand “We need the rain to stop. That’s the main issue.”