An unprecedented deluge hit northern New Zealand late last week, with heavy rains continuing through midweek. Flooding shut down Auckland on Friday as an entire summer’s worth of rain fell in a single day, Andrew writes.

The big picture: The deluge killed at least 4 people, and may serve as a wake-up call to step up preparations for climate change-related extreme weather events.

  • Auckland joins the list of other cities hit hard by record downpours recently, including Seoul, Korea.

Context: The heavy rains and resulting flooding are tied to multiple climate and extreme weather factors.

  • These include a La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which combined with global warming-related trends is yielding a marine heat wave in the South Pacific.
  • Ocean temperatures are running about 5.4°F above average around parts of New Zealand, according to Kevin Trenberth, an Auckland-based climate scientist.
  • High ocean temperatures contribute to extreme rainfall events on land, as more water is evaporated into the air and wrung out by weather systems.

By the numbers: Auckland saw its wettest day on record Friday, picking up 10.25 inches.

  • In parts of the city, it took just 3 hours to reach January’s monthly average rainfall.
  • With rainfall since Friday and more still expected, January 2023 may become Auckland’s all-time wettest month.

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