Weather woes to continue
It’s a ‘‘wait and see’’ situation in South Canterbury again today, with the MetService now predicting heavy rainfalls of 5 to 10mm an hour from mid afternoon.
Environment Canterbury (ECan) flood controller Tony Henderson is hopeful the rivers will cope with the predicted heavy rain, but he admits it is very much a matter of wait and see.
The MetService is predicting further rain bursts from later this morning through to 3am tomorrow. That should bring another 30 to 60mm of rain to the Mid and South Canterbury area. The heaviest falls are likely between 3pm today and midnight.
By yesterday Timaru had received half of its annual rainfall in the last fortnight, with a further 24mm falling at Hadlow in the 24 hours to 9am.
Following the pattern of recent weeks, the heaviest rainfall has been in the coastal area, which has helped the rivers cope with the heightened flows.
‘‘The rain eased overnight and there was very little in the back country. The rivers have reduced quite a lot,’’ Mr Henderson said.
‘‘Over the past two weeks the rivers have gone very well and there have been no major breakouts. If we get (rain) intensity of 10mm an hour they will be able to cope for one or two hours.
‘‘The rivers have had a good cleanout (with the last couple of weeks’ heavy rain) which is beneficial as they are running straight and not meandering.’’
With the river monitoring equipment Ecan has in place, Mr Henderson said they should have three to four hours advance warning of heavy rain in the upper catchments which might impact on the rivers. That should be enough time to alert local authorities and other organisations of any potential problems.
All major roads throughout South Canterbury are open, although there is flooding in low lying areas.
While coastal areas have been getting the rain, inland, snow continues to fall in the mountain areas.
Mt Dobson, Mt Hutt and Roundhill ski areas are closed again today as it is still snowing. The fields have all received around 5ocm in the last 24 hours, with the MetService predicting snow will continue to fall through until Thursday.
WEATHER WOES CONTINUE
Timaru has had half its annual rainfall in the past two weeks - and there are predictions of more to come today.
While the heavy rain, initially predicted to last through until 9pm last night, started to ease late morning, Timaru has received 300mm of rain since the first flood event on July 31.
And there is still more to come, as MetService is predicting scattered showers overnight with more heavy rain expected from mid-morning today.
According to ECan's weather warnings on its website last night, all South Canterbury catchments were saturated and a rapid rise in stream and river levels would occur if the rainfall further intensifies. Farmers have also been advised to monitor their local situation and are advised to shift stock from all low-lying areas.
Geraldine and Hadlow have been the wettest places in the district in recent days with 50mm and 45mm falling respectively between noon on Sunday and 9am yesterday, according to Environment Canterbury flood controller Phil Lees.
Add that to the rain from the storms of the last two weeks and Timaru has received half its average annual rainfall of around 600mm.
Hadlow received 150mm in the July 31 event, 100mm last week, and 50mm since it began raining on Sunday. Like last week, the rain has been heaviest along the coast.
The Mackenzie Pass has received 350mm in the last two weeks, although only 28mm had fallen between noon on Sunday and 9am yesterday. The Geraldine Forest has had 370mm over the three flood events.
In spite of the heavy rain in the last 48 hours, there appear to have been few problems, with the water staying in the rivers and the snow in the high country.
ECan staff were out early checking rivers yesterday. In spite of the hammering ECan's water level recorders have received in the last fortnight, staff had managed to keep them all operating, and providing an indication of what was happening further inland, Mr Lees said.
River levels were much lower than in the previous two weeks, with staff not anticipating any problems. The Temuka River was running at 380 cumecs during the first flood, 460 cumecs last week, but only 220 cumecs yesterday.
The region's skifields all received 30-plus centimetres of snow overnight on Sunday, adding to the more than a metre most received last week.
While there was only a skiff of snow lying in the Mt Cook Village, Lake Tekapo was blanketed in snow.
Lake Tekapo police were called to assist several drivers who became stuck in snow.
About 6.30pm on Sunday two cars became stuck along State Highway 8 at Burkes Pass. Both drivers were carrying chains but didn't know how to put them on. Another vehicle without chains became stuck at Sawdon Hill about 11pm that night.
Two campervans had to be pulled out to the roadway yesterday after becoming snowed in at a picnic area near Holbrook Station.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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