Heavy winds cause panel to fall from building in Auckland high rise

Publish Date
Thursday, 4 July 2019, 1:56PM

High winds have torn a 40kg panel from an upper storey of a central Auckland building as bad weather hammers the city.

Police have cordoned off the busy intersection of Victoria St West and Nelson St, near the TVNZ building, amid fears more panels could tumble down to the street.

The drama came as wild weather is closing in on the top half of the North Island.

Auckland motorists face delays after a crash blocked two northbound lanes on the Southern Motorway near the Ellerslie-Panmure on-ramp. Delays are quickly stretching back to Mt Wellington.

The MetService has issued severe weather warnings for Auckland, Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, with heavy rain predicted to cause surface flooding, as well as potential slips and a rapid rise of water levels in streams and rivers.

Taupō, northern Hawke's Bay and northern Taranaki were also warned of heavy rain today.

The Auckland apartment building is subject to $40 million of remedial work which began in March. The panel that fell to the street was on the Victoria St West facade of the building.

Police have cordoned off the intersection. Photo / Simon GianoutsosPolice have cordoned off the intersection. Photo / Simon Gianoutsos

"We are preventing traffic heading east bound on Victoria street past the tower as a precaution," Inspector Cornell Kluessien said at the scene.

"The wind and the rain is the concern because now that panel is missing more water will get behind it. Between the wind and the rain another panel may get loose and blow onto the road."

Police have cordoned off an area near the building in case another section of cladding falls. Photo / Will TraffordPolice have cordoned off an area near the building in case another section of cladding falls. Photo / Will Trafford

Fire and Emergency NZ northern communications shift manager Murray Bannister said the fire service had been called to the scene twice but had now left. There had been no other weather-related callouts for fire services.

Eastbound lanes are blocked on Victoria Street between Hobson St and Nelson St due to the fallen debris, Auckland Transport said. Drivers should follow directions of emergency services and bus services on the route would also be delayed.

Meanwhile a dump of heavy rain caused flooding on Auckland's Northern motorway, with northbound traffic forced to merge to avoid the water.

The right lane was blocked by a huge puddle just after Upper Harbour Highway, heading north.

The NZ Transport Agency warned drivers to take extra care and expect delays.

Earlier today Aucklanders woke up to a deluge, with surface flooding quickly appearing on some motorways.

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