Heavy rain batters Christchurch

23:28, May 20 2013

Don't expect any improvement in the weather for at least another three days - that's the word from the forecasters.

Heavy rain battering Christchurch and parts of the region this morning is expected to merge into more general rain at times today and tomorrow before much colder southerly air spreads on to the South Island on Thursday, with lowering snow levels.

By the weekend, drier weather is likely, with slowly rising temperatures.

Western parts of Christchurch had downpours more akin to West Coast or Auckland rain about 4am today.

MetService spokesman Dan Corbett said 4.6 millimetres of rain fell in the hour to 5am at Christchurch Airport.  

"It might have felt heavy when it came through because it was just an isolated cell that moved across the city," he said.

The culprit was a weak surface frontal system just off Canterbury, combining with low-level wind convergence and some upper-level energy.

The main area of rain from the slow-moving area of low pressure in the Tasman Sea would spread across the country over the next day or two, he said.

On Thursday, a much colder southerly change would bring further rain and snow possibly lowering  to only "several hundred metres" above sea level by night.

The wind and showers were forecast to ease on Friday, Corbett said.

The heavy rain was responsible for cutting power to 340 Orion customers north of Rolleston at 5.25am.

Chief executive Rob Jamieson said electricity supply was restored shortly before 7.30am.

However, there was a second power cut at 9.08am, caused by an insulator at the top of a power pole.

Repairs meant electricity was expected to gradually be restored to customers by 10.30am, he said.


The Press