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Four dead, one missing, as storms batter New Zealand


Agency Report

Wild storms lashed New Zealand’s North Island Monday, claiming at least four lives when a fishing vessel sank and causing chaos in the country’s biggest city Auckland, officials said.

Four bodies were recovered and another person was missing after a chartered fishing boat went down off the remote Northland coast late Sunday, police said, with five survivors stable after being plucked from the raging seas.

The military sent two air force planes and a naval warship to help the search effort.

The storm front moved south and hit Auckland early Monday, dumping 76.8 mm (3.0 inches) of rain on the city in a single hour, the same amount it usually averages in a month at this time of year, the official MetService weather forecaster said.

Highways were closed due to flooding, schools shut after classrooms were inundated and ferry services were suspended amid heavy swells.

MetService said a cluster of thunderstorms was heading south before shifting direction and moving out to sea.

It lifted severe weather warnings but advised “the wet weather continues for many this week as a deep low pressure system approaches from the west”.