Persistent rain looms for soggy Canty

Last updated 09:58 14/08/2012
Little River road closure
Dean Kozanic Zoom
DIVERSIONS: Little River's main road is flooded.

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Further persistent rain is just hours away from hitting Canterbury, adding to the misery of those coping with floodwaters, blocked roads and the realities of being cut off.

The next rainband is gathering strength in Pegasus Bay this morning and should arrive in coastal Canterbury by noon.

MetService is warning that persistent moderate rain, with heavy bursts, is likely throughout the afternoon and evening around the region, easing early tomorrow.

Another 40 millimetres or more could fall in central Canterbury by midnight, with 60mm south of the Rakaia River.

Spokesman Dan Corbett said the worry was taht the ground was already saturated in many places.

"If you look at the radar pictures, you can see the edge of the rain coming in now out to the east. It's not looking like it is going to be quite as heavy as what you have seen, but you don't need any more."

The heaviest rain was likely between 3pm and midnight, he said.

Streams and rivers might rise rapidly and further flooding and slips were possible, along with road closures.

Contractors flat out

City council staff and contractors are monitoring affected areas to ensure systems will cope with any additional water flow.

Work is continuing across the city and Banks Peninsula to clear debris caused by overnight slips on the Port Hills, at Lyttelton and on the peninsula.

A large slip on the road between Dyers Pass and Governors Bay was cleared last night.

Council road assets operations manager Malcolm Park said staff and contractors were spread across the city to monitor hot spots.

"We aren't expecting this afternoon's forecast rainfall to cause any further issues than we experienced yesterday,'' he said.

''Our staff and contractors have done a great job over the past 48 hours to keep the systems cleared and address any issues as they arise.

"Crews will be on hand again this afternoon and tonight, but we're not expecting any further problems." 

Several roads remain closed

Banks Peninsula and parts of Christchurch have been directly in the firing line of the rain-bearing winter storm since late Sunday morning.

The Purau-Port Levy road is closed because of slips and fallen debris, as well as the Duvauchelle-Okains Bay road.

A city council spokeswoman said Holmes Bay Rd and Starvation Gully Rd in Pigeon Bay, Montgomerys Rd in Little River and Goughs Bay Rd were also closed.

The NZ Transport Agency has advised that State Highway 75 from Birdlings Flat to Barrys Bay is closed.

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A Selwyn District Council spokeswoman said Malvern Hills Rd at the Waianiwaniwa Rd end, in Sheffield, and all fords on the Hawkins, Waianiwaniwa, Hororata and Selwyn rivers are closed.

The Waimakariri District Council has listed Patersons Rd, Kennedys Hill Rd, Mt Thomas Rd, three kilometres up from old ford, Swamp Rd and Broad Rd as still closed.

The Ashley River bridge at Cones Rd, in Rangiora, remains closed because of high river levels.

Rain expected to ease tomorrow

The rain was expected to ease tomorrow morning. said a Metservice spokesman.

"While the rainfalll amounts may fall short of warning criteria, this event is likely to have a significant impact since the ground is already saturated with water from recent rain events,'' he said.

"Streams and rivers may rise rapidly and there may be areas of flooding and slips. Driving conditions could become difficult and road closures are possible."

This time the heavy rain looks likely to come in from the east, rather than the south like yesterday. Rainfall rates of 2mm to 4mm an hour are likely to increase to 5mm to 10mm an hour at times.

By 3pm yesterday, Akaroa had recorded more than 185mm of rain since noon on Sunday - about a quarter of its average annual rainfall - while Le Bons Bay had 97.8mm, Lyttelton 73.4mm and Christchurch City 69.2mm.

The heavy rain has brought flooding and slips especially to Banks Peninsula, with the worst-affected areas around Little River and Akaroa.

The only good news from yesterday's bad weather was it had brought much-needed snow to Canterbury skifields. Above about 1000 metres there had been between 15 centimetres and 30cm of snow, he said.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research senior climate scientist Georgina Griffiths said no rainfall records appeared to have been broken yesterday.

While Akaroa's rainfall total had been high, it was not a one-day record, with several 24-hour falls of more than 200mm since 1913.

The wettest day on record was 345.4mm on January 1, 1914, although Griffiths said there were inconsistencies with the record because of changes in rain-gauge location.

Corbett said conditions would start to improve tomorrow, with a drier westerly spell of weather on the cards later in the week.

- The Press


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