Warning of more heavy rain for South Is
RACHEL YOUNG, CAROLINE KING, PAUL GORMAN AND STACEY KIRK
A band of heavy rain moving across the South Island may cause more flooding and slips in Canterbury, MetService says.
Flooding trapped residents of the Banks Peninsula township of Little River in their homes and rising waters also threatened homes in Christchurch and Lyttelton.
MetService said a band of rain was expected to move onto the east of Otago overnight and onto Canterbury south of the Waimakariri River tomorrow morning. The rain was forecast to ease Wednesday morning.
The rain was likely to cause more flooding and slips because the ground was already saturated from today's downpours.
Dave Watson, owner of Koa Cottage in Little River, said this afternoon that water had "surrounded" his house.
"It's not just pooling around the property, it's flowing as the river has burst its banks. The fire brigade came around and told us not to leave unless we had a four-wheel drive. We're just stuck inside and trying to keep dry and warm."
Watson said Lake Forsyth had been unable to empty into the sea and had been blown back into the township by strong southerlies.
"It's worst at high tide. It's been receding a bit now that high tide is over, but there's another one due tonight. That's a danger period for us. It's not quite as bad as last October yet, but it's getting close."
Other properties had been "engulfed" by the water, Watson said.
"The fire brigade told us the water had been flowing into other houses which are lower than ours."
In the Little River Garage, the water was ankle-deep.
FLOODING 'NIGHTMARE' IN CHRISTCHURCH
Flooding continues to cause disruption in Christchurch, with rising waters threatening properties.
This morning a badly flooded street in the suburb of St Albans was described as a "nightmare" by some of its residents.
Harrison St residents said the road had issues with flooding before, but never like this.
The water level was so high that as resident Chris McLeod drove his four-wheel-drive truck down the street it flooded into the vehicle's footwell.
Amy Helem and Luke Thomas said the flooding was a "nightmare".
Helem said she was concerned it was just the beginning and it was "only going to get worse".
"We're just keeping an eye on it. We're a bit worried, especially if it keeps going, which it's supposed to."
Thomas said it was the third time the street had flooded during the year they had lived there. However, it was never this bad, he said.
The couple said the council had done a lot of work in the street to help resolve the issue, which they believed was largely caused by the earthquakes.
"We thought it was fixed. We thought it would be ok, then we woke up this morning and lo and behold. It's a bit of a pain."
Helem said they may set their alarm for the middle of the night to assess if the flooding got worse and decide what steps to take.
Sarah, who did not want her last name published, said she had never seen the street so badly flooded before and was concerned if the rain did not let off she would have to evacuate.
Previously the water disappeared as fast as it came but this time "it doesn't look like it's going down", she said.
"I'm just sort of waiting to see how high it gets. Maybe I should be packing my bags."
LYTTELTON HOMES THREATENED BY FLOOD
A group of Lyttelton neighbours braved the wild weather to try to stop water going into their homes last night.
Julia Sugarman, who lived in Exeter St, said that at about 10pm she went downstairs to check if any rain was coming into their quake-damaged home.
She realised a "river" had formed outside and water was running into her house.
"I saw the mini-river rushing down the pathway and I thought 'that's not good'."
Her husband, Nat, ran to their neighbours while she rang the Fire Service.
Nat, a group of neighbours and the Fire Service sandbagged near the houses, cleared drains and shovelled gravel and stones into piles to stop the newly-formed river threatening properties.
This morning, the Sugarman family was dry but their carpet and wooden floors downstairs were damaged.
Julia said they were thankful the rain had eased as it had stopped more damage occurring.
She planned to stay inside today, with her 4-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son, as leaving involved climbing over a makeshift gravel bank.
She said she would call her insurance company later today.
The situation in the suburb was "about 100 per cent better than where it was at about midnight last night", said the suburb's chief fire officer Mark Buckley.
"We've still got a lot of surface water, like you do in the rest of the Christchurch, but it's not as bad as what it was. The rainfall hasn't been as significant to this point."
He said a number of issues stemmed from a blocked storm water catchment at the top of Canterbury St, which saw water over flow instead of go down drains.
"With the water travelling down Canterbury St, it's breached a couple of areas where [the council] were working on retention walls, which were already in a bit of strife. It's actually undermined the road and the retention wall.
"With daylight at least the council can go in and do some repairs. Hopefully it will resolve the issues we are having."
Another Lyttelton resident, Rowena Laing, said the wall at the top of Canterbury St was washed out, with the falling shingle and rocks blocking storm water drains and creating a flash flood.
"A river of water went into the western end of Exeter St. Neighbourhood men and the local volunteer fire brigade put sandbags in place, and shovelled the shingle and rocks," she said.
"One house in Exeter St had water go into its downstairs rooms. The men created a dam with the rocks and shingle and stopped further flooding of the house.
Andrea Ferrar said the efforts were "amazing".
"Amazing volunteer fire brigade have saved houses on Voelas Rd from being flooded, by diverting the flow of water using wooden planks and sand bags.
"Cars had to be moved across the street as water gushed over the bonnets."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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