Flood closes roads, more rain predicted
RACHEL YOUNG, CAROLINE KING AND PAUL GORMAN
Several Christchurch roads have been closed due to flooding and the situation is expected to get worse with more rain predicted.
Christchurch City Council's transport and greenspace unit manager Alan Beuzenberg said it was very important that motorists followed road closure signage and drove slowly through flooded roads.
"As well as the issues of bow-waves caused by vehicles, we are also concerned about the condition of the road under the water. Drivers won't be able to see any potholes, and hollows in the road caused by the earthquakes that may have become larger as a result of flooding."
Richardson Tce in Opawa/Woolston
Clarendon Tce in Opawa/Woolston
Aynsley Tce in Hillsborough
Eastern Tce in Beckenham
Ashgrove Tce in Cashmere
Slater St in Richmond
Canterbury St in Lyttelton
Purau to Port Levy Rd, Akaroa Summit Rd - Pigeon Bay to Little Akaloa and Okains Bay Rd - Duvauchelle to Okains Bay
The Ashley River bridge
More rain expected
Forecasters are warning Cantabrians not to be fooled by easing rain this afternoon, as heavy downpours will return tomorrow.
MetService spokesman Dan Corbett said the rain would ease and become more scattered throughout the region this afternoon.
But another low currently off the east coast of the North Island was expected to head south tonight and tomorrow.
That would bring a resurgence of the heavy rain from late tomorrow morning through to the end of the day.
"It seems to be come in two waves for you. Places that have already had quite a lot of rain don't need any more. We've put out the new warning because it's quite a sensitive situation."
In the last 24 hours Akaroa has had a staggering 185 millimetres of rain, more than a quarter of its average annual rainfall. Methven has had 100mm, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens 61.4mm and Lyttelton 60mm.
By the end of tomorrow those places could have another 100mm of rain or so, according to the latest heavy rain warning.
Those north of the Waimakariri River can expect 20 to 30mm of rain until 6pm today. Another burst of heavy rain is possible between midday Tuesday and midnight Tuesday, but should not reach warning criteria.
Those south of the Waimakariri River can expect 90 to 120mm of rain until midnight Tuesday. Heavy rain should ease tonight, before becoming heavy again from midday Tuesday.
Two Canterbury rivers have risen by more than a metre in the past 24 hours.
Environment Canterbury flood controller Tony Boyle said the Halswell River was up to 6.1 metres at Ryan's Bridge and the Selwyn River was up to 2.1m - both more than 1m higher than they should be.
He said when the Selwyn River reached 1.5m the first warning was sent out to people with properties near the river.
Firefighters kept busy
Firefighters were busy pumping water from people's properties, including a primary school, this morning.
A Fire Service spokesman said they had about 40 calls for weather-related help overnight, with another 15 since 6.30am today.
Methven Primary School principal Chris Murphy said a "huge amount" of water had collected on the outdoor courts, near the junior block, which they were unable to deal with by themselves so he called the Fire Service.
The water had not entered any classrooms.
'Flood control room' set up in Timaru
An ECan spokeswoman said a flood control room was set up whenever there was a severe weather event to keep an eye on rivers and work with Civil Defence if needed.
The southern centre, which covered from the Rakaia River to the Waitaki River, was based in Timaru.
The northern centre, which has not been activated as the rivers were not causing too much concern, covers from Rakaia north to the Clarence River, including Christchurch.
ECan advised farmers to shift stock to higher ground.