Flooding in New Zealand capital halts trains, causes 1 death

May 14, 2015, 4:54 AM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Heavy rain caused flooding in New Zealand’s capital Thursday that left one man dead, halted train service and blocked highways during the evening commute.

Crews struggled to clear highways, and the shutdown of Wellington’s train services delayed travel for many.

Elsewhere in the North Island, a small tornado lifted roofs from buildings in the town of Mount Maunganui near Tauranga.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown urged people to find alternative accommodation in the city for the night rather than trying to make it home and even opened the downtown library for those who wanted to stay.

Police said they found the body of an 80-year-old man in Petone near Wellington in floodwater near his abandoned car. They said the car was partially submerged with the keys in the ignition.

Several areas around Wellington recorded rainfall of over 10 centimeters (4 inches).

The region is home to about 450,000 people.

Forecasters predict more heavy rain Friday before conditions ease over the weekend.

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Flooding in New Zealand capital halts trains, causes 1 death