Heavy rain prompts lake, river warning

Recreational river users are urged to be vigilant as South Canterbury lake levels continue to rise after heavy rain.

Meridian Energy has started spilling water from lakes Pukaki, Benmore and Aviemore to control the run-off from the rain that has fallen over the past few days.

A small amount was also expected to be taken from Lake Ohau, Chris Fauth, Environment Canterbury duty flood controller for the southern area, said.

River levels would be high for several days, if not, for the next week or two, with more rain forecast over the next two days.

"We're not expecting break-outs in the rivers, but people camping and using the riverbeds will need to be aware."

Mr Fauth said the water level in the lower Waitaki River was one of those expected to increase "significantly" today.

However, he was not sure how much it was expected to increase by.

"Meridian is assessing what they think it might get to. There will definitely be an increase. In terms of the forecast, I haven't heard any more severe weather warnings. There's nor'west rain starting from lunch time tomorrow. It's not warning levels, but enough rain to keep everything high.

"People need to be aware of it - that's the general message."

Cellphone towers are understood to have been put out of action by thunderstorms on Thursday night, although no one was available from Telecom or Vodafone to confirm the extent of the problem.

According to the Metservice forecast, the weekend will be mostly fine with a fine veil of high cloud.

Metservice duty forecaster Ian Gall said the severe wind warning has been lifted, although tomorrow is forecast to be a bit gusty, with a northwesterly wind.

Monday's weather will be similar, but showers are expected to develop on Tuesday and remain for the rest of the week.

The Timaru Herald