Sth Canty roads closed by flooding

Pareora River Huts may be evacuated

Last updated 11:42 31/07/2012

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AA traffic data reported at 6.40pm last night showed State Highway 8 closed from Fairlie to Lake Tekapo due to flooding.

Washdyke Flats and Kellands Hill roads, to the north of Timaru, were being closed as of 5.45pm because of significant surface flooding from Washdyke Creek, according to the Timaru District Council.

Residents at the Pareora River Huts were also warned that rising rivers could mean they might be forced to evacuate.

South Canterbury residents are asked to avoid rivers, flood plains and river mouths, as water levels continue to rise after a day of steady rain.

Roads may be closed tonight, according to the Timaru District Council Emergency Operations Centre. Motorists were asked to use extreme caution and residents were advised to avoid unnecessary travel.

Most fords were closed as of 2pm, and several roads had been signposted to alert drivers to water flowing across the roadway and along culverts at the verges.

Rural Water Supply residents may not have water entering their storage tanks for the next 24 to 48 hours due to rising river levels, and should conserve water, officials said. Consumers still receiving water into their tanks may wish to boil it as a precaution.

MetService advised that rainfall will continue through to this evening, with higher falls expected along the Hunter Hills and eastern ranges.

Eastern rivers around Geraldine, Pleasant Point and Temuka are likely to continue to rise.

While conditions are expected to ease later today, some rivers along the eastern side of South Canterbury could remain high for some time.

Environment Canterbury is recording high river flows and heavy rainfall throughout the catchment area, especially in the coastal rivers.

South Canterbury foothills received between 80 and 115 millimetres of rain overnight, with the heaviest falls in the foothills behind Geraldine this morning.

A further 60-80mm of rain is forecast to fall before 9pm.

The Timaru District Council have advised that all their sports fields are withdrawn from all play until further notice because of surface flooding. Parks liaison officer Gary Foster said an assessment will be made on Friday to ascertain their availability for weekend play.

Further information can be obtained from the websites of Environment Canterbury and MetService.

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- The Timaru Herald

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