Flooding wreaks havoc in Dunedin
More than 400 emergency calls were made during the severe flooding in Dunedin on Wednesday, the Fire Service said.
The army had been helping volunteers desperately sandbag 100 houses in the Dunedin seaside suburb of St Kilda as water threatened to devastate the properties.
All of the Dunedin Fire Service's vehicle fleet had been called out, including part of its reserve fleet and the Dunedin Rural Fire Service, a Southern Fire communications spokesman said.
About 60 firefighters had been working throughout the city, and dozens returned to the central Dunedin firestation by 9.30pm.
It was hoped the rain would ease from now on, and crews would not need to be sent out during the night.
"The rain is forecast to move out of the area by 2am, but I understand there is going to be a big clean-up effort tomorrow," the spokesman said.
Pic from a FB friend in Dunedin just now. Flooding on the Southern motorway. Yikes. pic.twitter.com/bdAiROqPWS— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) June 3, 2015
There had been several houses threatened by slips during the day, with most of the damage seen in South Dunedin, he said.
Roads to Otago Peninsula remained open about 10.30pm, but emergency crews were monitoring conditions as land slips continued to hinder access.
"The crews are out ... but I would expect that the roads may well close," Otago Peninsula community board chair Christine Garey said.
"Our big concern is if both roads are closed. That's a pretty unusual situation."
There had been another slip on the oceanside Portobello Rd just before 10pm, Garey said.
"The next 12 hours is going to be pretty pivotal. I've never seen as much surface flooding since I've lived here."
Macandrew Bay School would stay closed on Thursday after a nearby creek flooded and took out the school's heating.
Just after 8pm on Wednesday the UniCrew Volunteer posted a message calling for volunteers to help, saying "an entire avenue just went under water. Maybe 20 or so, our biggest issue is the delivery ie trailers. We have army unimogs and Utes currently."
Its message on Facebook said there about 100 houses that needed to be sand-bagged, including rest homes. "We have all life guards and volunteers but we need more."
Some time later Councillor Jinty McTavish said that there were enough people there and no further help was needed.
The problems at St Kilda followed a day of havoc in Dunedin as streets were flooded, electricity cut to some properties, schools and houses evacuated and roads cut off.
People were advised to stay off the roads.
During the day the Leith stream in the central city had turned into white water rapids and its height had forced the evacuation of a rest home.
At 8.30pm, the Otago Regional Council said that the intensity of rain was easing. "Flows in the smaller catchments such as the Leith, Lindsay, and Silver Stream will then start to stabilise or reduce."
The flow in the Water of Leith in the centre of Dunedin was around 100 cubic metres per second, which is greater than the 95 cumecs peak in the 2006 floods.
There was some surface flooding from the channel of Lindsay Creek on to North Road just upstream of the Otago Hospice.
Water was still expected to go over the Gordon Road spillway on the Taieri plains, but the quantity was not expected to be high and the duration was not expected to be long, the regional council said.
Earlier, Dunedin City Council civil defence manager Neil Brown confirmed no state of emergency had been declared, but staff were monitoring the situation.
VIDEO: Dunedin students ride Leith stream rapids
While there were fears of another 80mm-100mm during the night, MetService said at 9pm that another 30mm-40mm was expected to accumulate through to 2am on Thursday.
The worst hit areas included low-lying coastal areas, such as Kaikorai Valley, Brighton, Mosgiel and North East Valley.
Some rivers had spilled into ponding areas.
Brown said sandbagging was "over-rated".
"Water filters through sandbags, sandbags are about redirecting water, if you can strategically redirect them safely and not into your neighbours' property, then that is fine."
He confirmed the New Zealand Army's Unimog trucks had been involved in getting pupils out of Abbotsford School.
There were slips reported along Otago Peninsula and Port Chalmers with full inspection by council engineers likely in the coming days
Inspector Mel Aitken urged motorists to stay off the roads, and limit non-essential travel.
She urged people to check on vulnerable citizens in the community.
Electricity was cut to 150 properties on four streets in Mosgiel because of the extent of the flooding.
Aurora Energy said the power supply to Woodland Avenue, Kinmont Crescent, Boundary Road and Heathfield Drive in Mosgiel would be cut in the interest of public safety.
Flood waters in the area had submerged some electrical equipment.
The supply would stay off until flood waters subsided.
Aurora said 517 customers would be temporarily disconnected.
Kinmont Cres resident David McGregor said about six houses on the street were likely flooded and several residents had left their homes.
He helped one neighbour on the street with flood water about waist deep in the house.
He and some other neighbours helped an elderly woman from her home, he said.
"She was pretty disoriented and freaked out. The water had come through the back of her house.
"She needed her medication and stuff. We decided to move her out and get her up to the fire engine which is down the other end of the street."
REST HOME EVACUATED
Fire Service public information officer Barry Gibson said Radius Fulton rest home, on the corner of Eastbourne St and Hillside Rd, had been partially evacuated.
Firefighters had earlier tried to divert flood waters with sandbags.
Crews were monitoring flood prone areas in the lead up to high tide, Gibson said.
The most serious flooding was around the Hillside Rd area of south Dunedin. The Otago Regional Council also had a watching brief on Leith stream, which runs through north Dunedin, including the University of Otago campus, Gibson said.
Flooding was knee deep in isolated areas.
Neil Ivory, who lives in Eastborne St directly across from the rest home, said water about 15 centimetres deep was flowing through his bathroom, the lowest point in his house. The water in his section was around knee-deep.
"I've got serious water flowing from down Eastbourne St and Hillside Rd and ... it's converging in the lowest area," Ivory said.
He lived in a two-storey building, with the bathroom and kitchen on the lower level, "so sort of lucky for me I've got upstairs that I can move to".
Ivory had earlier tried to clear drains in the street, but found it was hopeless. Other residents in the area have put sandbags around their properties.
Dunedin City Council Water and Waste Network Contracts Manager Mike Ids said stormwater and foul sewers in the Hillsbury Rd/Surrey St areas were at capacity at 10.30am on Wednesday.
The council has issued a public health message via its Facebook page.
"We have had some reports of sewage overflow. To keep safe please avoid coming into contact with surface water as it may be contaminated with sewage. And, it's best to keep the kids inside and not playing in the flood waters.
"Also be aware of electrical circuitry in water affected areas. If uncertain treat all circuits as live, if in doubt leave the vicinity and call your power supplier for help."
Fire Service east Otago area commander Laurence Voight said the extensive rain was causing all sorts of problems.
"In some cases we have nowhere to pump water to," he said.
The impact of high tide was being watched closely.
Water was already struggling to drain away, particularly in low-lying areas of Dunedin, Voight said.
"All our appliances are committed right now."
The NZ Transport Agency in a statement urged people to stay at home unless travel was urgent.
"Extensive surface water means traffic on the southern motorway out of Dunedin is moving very slowly."
A Dunedin City Council spokesman said its Civil Defence bunker had been activated to co-ordinate the response from emergency services, but no emergency has been declared.
Police had cordoned several low-lying south Dunedin streets because of the rising water, which is waist deep in some places, and to stop joyriders driving through.
Fire Service communications said the flooding was "widespread" in the city and firefighters were busy.
St Clair School is asking parents to collect their children as the water was "up to people's knees in places", a staff member said.
"We're all fine ... it's just access [to the school]."
Some roads in the area were being closed, she said.
Are you being flooded? Send tales of flooding and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The water supply is safe to drink.
Where possible, avoid driving or walking through floodwaters, particularly those that may be contaminated with wastewater.
Police are urging motorists to delay travel as much as possible in the affected areas. If you do have to drive, please drive carefully and be prepared for widespread surface flooding.
The northbound lanes of SH1 from Abbotsford to Kaikorai Valley Road are closed.
Only one northbound lane and one southbound lane of the State Highway 1 southern motorway between Saddle Hill and Lookout Point Road are open. A detour is available through Green Island.
The southbound motorway is down to one lane between the Burnside over bridge and the Green Island On Ramp.
SH87 through the main street of Mosgiel is closed. Local road detours are available.
Highcliff Rd - Sandymount to Beaconsfield Rd, Portobello
Gladstone Rd South - McGlashan St to Riccarton Rd
Three Mile Hill
Waitati Valley Rd - Ford at RP6800 to end
McIntosh Rd - Waitati Valley Rd
Miller Rd - Waitati Valley Rd
Old Brighton Rd - Walton Park Avenue
Flagstaff/Whare Flat Rd - Pineapple Track to Silverstream Valley Rd
More information about road closures is available on the District City Council website
HEAVY RAIN IN NELSON
MetService said more than 50mm of rain fell across the Nelson region between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning.
Video footage posted to Facebook by residents in