Rain, wind lashes West Coast, Alps

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 12:34 25/06/2014
Wind in Greymouth
Sarah-Jane O'Connor/Fairfax NZ

STARTING TO HOWL: High winds in Greymouth leave this roof tarp flapping this morning.

West Coast flooding
Sarah-Jane O'Connor/Fairfax NZ
POND-LIKE: Flooding on Hokitika's Rolleston St.

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Significant surface flooding is making driving dangerous on several key West Coast routes.

Surface flooding has been reported on State Highway 73 from Otira to Kumara Junction on the road from Arthur's Pass to Greymouth and is posing a threat to motorists on State Highway 6.

Motorists are also warned of strong winds on the West Coast's main highways and SH73 from Darfield to Castle Hill.

NZ Transport Agency Canterbury-West Coast journey manager Lee Wright said winds had brought a tree and some small rocks down onto SH6 near Punakaiki.

The road remained open, but motorists were asked to take care.

"The storm weather condition are starting to ease, but . . . we need everyone to slow down, drive to the conditions and be prepared for debris on the roads," she said.

Westland District Council workers were out pumping water from Hokitika's main street today because of surface flooding. 

A Fire Service spokesman said firefighters had been called to help with about five incidents on the West Coast by midday, including flooding in Hokitika and roofs lifting off buildings across the district. 

"It's minor stuff so far," he said. 

MetService withdrew a warning for gale force winds in the Canterbury high country and foothills today, with forecaster Rob Kerr saying at noon that the wind was "just backing off now". 

Canterbury was also expected to be spared from the heavy rain battering the West Coast today. 

Gusts of up to 100kmh were recorded at Cape Foulwind and Westport just before 10am, and Kerr expected similar wind gusts would have been experienced all along the coast this morning. 

The Ivory Glacier area in South Westland recorded 212 millimetres of rain within the 24 hours to midday today, while Milford Sound received 123mm and Franz Josef received 117mm during the same period. 

Kerr said Mt Cook and Arthur's Pass both received more than 90mm of rain in the last 24 hours, with Arthur's Pass still receiving about 14mm of rain an hour.

The West Coast would continue to be wet throughout the week, but the rain should start easing back to showers this afternoon as a slow moving front headed north towards Nelson and Marlborough, Kerr said.

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- The Press

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