Rain brings rivers to flood level

16:00, Dec 11 2012
Wakatipu, 1957
Wakatipu threatens to top the retaining wall at Queenstown. By November 19, the town was awash.

Continous and a times almost torrential rain over the whole of Southland yesterday brought a rapid rise in river levels.

Last night all the main rivers in Southland were running at a flood height and rising as the rain continued.

Flood warnings, were flashed to farmers along the river courses and, by today, it is expected that there will be fairly extensive flooding of the low-lying areas.

Lightening caused interruptions to telephone and electrical installations.

Only on one river, the Aparima, was there any sign of a peak up to last night.

Two roads were closed and many more are expected to be impassable by this morning.

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The chief engineer of the Southland Catchment Board, Mr R. D. Young, said last night that it looked as if the flood would be the biggest for probably the past two years.

But until the rivers "peaked" there was no saying how extensive the flooding would be.

Rivers reports last night were:

Aparima: 6ft above normal at Dunrobin- steadying.

Oreti: 3ft above normal at Mossburn and 6ft above normal at Lumsden- rising.

Mataura: 6ft9in above normal at Garston - rising.

Waikaia: 7ft8in above normal - rising.

Figures from the Oreti indicate a definite flood.

Late last night the river was reported to be rising 6in every three-quarters of an hour.

Three feet above normal at Mossburn is a high reading as the river there is wide, and it is expected that there would be flooding at Dipton and as far down as Centre Bush by this morning.

SUBHEAD: Wet weather has delayed shipping at Bluff.

Five ships are tied up at the moment, and three are anchored outside the harbour awaiting berthing space.

It is unlikely that the trouble will be solved until tomorrow.

Lightening flashed and thunder rolled over Gore in one of the most disturbing electrical storms for some years.

Wakatipu rises

Between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. yesterday the level of Lake Wakatipu rose a foot. The two big rivers that feed into the lake, the Dart and the Reese, are in flood. The gates of the Kawarau have been opened but the water cannot get away because the Shotover river is also in flood. And is damming back into the Kawarau.

The Southland Times