Snow, flooding continues in Canterbury

Last updated 13:42 22/06/2013
Christchurch readers' snow photos: June 21, 2013
Elizabeth Hay Zoom
POM POM PICNIC: A table is covered in deep snow in Castle Hill.

Rain and snow lash NZ

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Continuing bad weather in the South Island has seen homes evacuated near Dunedin, firefighters rush to sandbag Selwyn properties and Christchurch's sewer system overflow in some parts. 

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A Christchurch City Council spokeswoman said the city's sewer system was "chocker" due to heavy rain. 

The council was monitoring overflows, she said.

The continuing downpour has caused surface flooding in some parts of the city, particularly around the Heathcote River in the Beckenham and lower Cashmere areas. 

Surface flooding in Spencerville just north of city saw the cancellation of the annual mid-winter polar plunge today.

The naked ocean dip, last year attended by about 30 hardy skinny dippers, was cancelled last night because of road closures near Spencerville beach.

The road has since reopened, but is still affected by surface flooding and motorists are advised to take care.

The Christchurch City Council said king tides are expected from tomorrow through to Thursday and are likely to cause further flooding around the lower Avon and Heathcote rivers.

Council staff will be out in those areas from tomorrow evening and traffic restrictions will be in place where flooding occurs.

Road speed restrictions or flooding warnings remain in place in the following areas today:

* Ainsley Terrace, between Opawa Road and Centaurus Road.

* Totara Street, between Puriri Street and Miro Street.

* Bailey Street/Runnymeade intersection.

* Parts of Bridge Street, New Brighton.

* Shands Road at Sir James Wattie Drive intersection.

* Cashmere Road, between 201 to 159

* Hendersons Road, 400m South of Sparks Road

* 335 Bower Ave

* Pages Rd between numbers 459 to 572

* 112 Avonside Drive

* Lower Styx Road

* Spencerville Road


Leeston firefighters are rushing to stack more sandbags at flood-prone properties as rising water levels start threatening homes and businesses again.

Ongoing flooding had been affecting the Selwyn township since heavy rain started falling last weekend, with about 170mm of rain drenching the area over the last 10 days, Leeston fire brigade chief Noel Thian said.

Leeston's volunteer firefighters received about 14 calls for help from flood-prone property owners this morning, while Lincoln and Southbridge crews were also out helping people in their towns. 

Thian said the calls started coming through about 8am and he expected to be kept busy through most of the day as the rain continued to fall. 

The main problem was a creek running through the centre of the town, which had burst its banks and caused flooding on High St and around the fire station itself on Gallipoli St.

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"It hasn't gone into any buildings, but there's not a lot we can do. We can't pump because we've got nowhere to pump it to."

Thian advised residents to watch their sewer systems and household water supplies.

"The sewer is inundated with water at the moment," he said.


Heavy snowfalls have continued to plague the Hurunui district overnight, bringing down power lines and trees and cutting water supplies to one rural area.

Weather conditions were worse than expected in the Hurunui district overnight, with significant amounts of snow continuing to fall over northern and inland parts of the North Canterbury district.

Snow has closed the Leader Rd between Waiau and the east coast and most of the Inland Rd between Waiau and Kaikoura.

The ongoing storm brought driving wind and rain to coastal and southern areas, with strong gales bringing down power lines and dozens of trees between Cheviot and Amberley overnight.

The Hurunui District Council is advising motorists take extreme care when driving on any of the district's roads, as surface flooding and slips were still occurring, leaving dangerous rocks, mud and debris behind.

There have been no reported of flooded homes in the Hurunui, the council said.

Additional crews from Christchurch have gone to the district to help clear roads, but the following arterial routes and bridges are still affected by the bad weather this morning:

* Leader Road (closed due to overnight snowfall)

* Inland road (closed from Mt Lyford to SH1, with limited access from Waiau to Mt Lyford Lodge)

* SH 7 (Lewis Pass) is closed to towing vehicles, but open to other vehicles with chains only

* SH 7A is open (between SH 7 and Hanmer Springs township)

More sleety showers are expected to fall over the district today, with some snowfalls above 200m this morning.

The snow is expected to ease this afternoon, with any remaining showers clearing by tomorrow morning, although frosts could be expected in sheltered places.

Water supplies in the rural Waiau area are down because of a power outage, but water is running again in the Kaiwara and rural Ashley areas after outages yesterday.

Residents in the Kaiwara, Lower Waitohi and Parnassus areas are advised to boil their water until further notice.


More snow is expected to fall over parts of Canterbury and Marlborough today, but the polar blast wreaking havoc over much of the country is easing. 

Metservice has forecast further snow in the eastern areas of the South Island today, but snow showers should be clearing overnight tonight. 

Snowfall warnings remain in force for inland parts of Canterbury and southern Marlborough, with more snow expected above 300m this afternoon.

Up to 10cm of snow could be expected above 300m between 9am and 9pm today, and up to 20cm could fall above 500m on top of what has already fallen.  

Motorists are advised to expect delays, especially those travelling higher roads and alpine passes. 

Snow lying in rural areas is expected to take several days to melt and severe frosts are expected in many inland areastomorrow, leaving roads icy. 

Snow has closed State Highway 73 at Porters Pass, while chains are required for those travelling over Arthurs Pass, Lindis Pass and State Highway 8 between Twizel and Fairlie (Burkes Pass). 

State Highway 85 between Ranfurly and Palmerston is closed, as is State Highway 79 from Geraldine to Fairlie, State Highway 87 from Kyeburn to Outram and State Highway 80 from Glentanner to Mt Cook. 

Caution is urged on the following state highways today because of snow and icy conditions: 

-SH 8 Milton to Raes Junction
-SH 90 Tapanui to Raes Junction (four wheel drive vehicles only)
-SH 1, 2km south of Hawksbury Village (slip)
-SH 93 Clinton to Mataura 
-SH 85 Idaburn to Ranfurly
-SH 8 Alexandra to Roxburgh
-SH 83 Omarama to Kurow
-SH 6 Kingston to Lumsden and Lumsden to Dipton
-SH 1 Waitati to Dunedin 
-SH 6 Queenstown to Kingston
-SH 85 Omakau to Ranfurly
-SH  6 Harihari to Fox Glacier (high winds, contractors clearing trees)

- The Press


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