Torrential rain set to ease after flooding across Canterbury
The main route from Christchurch to Akaroa, State Highway 75, will be cut off until Tuesday morning after torrential rain flooded the area.
A severe weather warning remains in place after downpours throughout Monday caused slips, flooding and closed roads in the city, Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury plains. The storm also saw almost a metre of snow fall on Mt Hutt.
The rain is easing and the weather warning will be reviewed by 9pm, MetService meteorologist Ciaran Doolin said.
"The forecast is for things to gradually ease as we head towards the evening," Doolin said.
"There are still strong signals on the [rain] radar and our gauges are still registering strong precipitation."
Streets in the coastal town of Akaroa were under water on Monday after 116 millimetres of rain fell between early Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon.
Further inland, Methven received 104mm of rain in the 36 hours from early Sunday morning.
In Selwyn, the Emergency Operations Centre that activated on Monday morning would wind down overnight.
Centre controller Murray Washington said they were monitoring the situation as weather conditions eased.
"Please make sure your neighbours are OK … [and] avoid unnecessary travel overnight," he said.
"All rivers appear to be coping and none are expected to breach with current flows."
SH77 between Darfield and SH72 was closed due to flooding.
ARMY CALLED, THEN STOOD DOWN
In Selwyn, the army was put on hold as flooding eased on Monday afternoon.
"It's easing off now, but it's been significant rainfall on top of a previously significant rainfall event," Washington said.
Firefighters helped to place sandbags around 10 properties in Leeston, including several on Selwyn St. Sandbags were also sent to Hororata.
"I asked the army to provide support, but before they were able to be mobilised the situation eased," Washington said.
There was minor surface flooding at Selwyn Huts. Severe flooding entered many properties in the Lower Selwyn Huts in July.
Residents were advised to ask for help if necessary, "especially if you required help last time".
PROPERTIES BECOME MUDDY PONDS
Leeston resident Aaron, who did not want his last name used, sloshed into his Selwyn St backyard to find it bulging with almost knee-deep water by midday on Monday.
The plants were a "mess", barely visible in the murky water, and rubbish and debris was falling down a bank behind the house.
Gardens of several properties on the street were muddy ponds and it was just a waiting game to see how much worse it would get, he said.
"We've flooded our whole backyard, it's a lot worse than last time. We've been here three years and I've never seen it like this."
The water had seeped under the house and into the garage, where the family had propped up a freezer on blocks of wood to try and save it from damage.
It was too late for "almost everything else". Boxes of toys and various other "bits and bobs" did not escape the deluge, he said.
FLOODING IN AKAROA
Water was pumped from Onuku Marae in Akaroa as the town was inundated with widespread flooding that closed SH75.
"There was flooding in the dining room of the marae," said Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) southern communications shift manager Riwai Grace.
Grace said they were called to the property on Onuku Rd about 9am, "pumped some water from the building and left about two hours later".
Meanwhile, Rue Brittan was closed for a time due to surface flooding and a slip on Beach Rd closed the road temporarily between Bruce Tce and the lighthouse.
Slips also fell on Long Bay Rd, Robinsons Valley Bay Rd and Barrys Bay Valley Rd.
CHRISTCHURCH ROADS AFFECTED
The Christchurch City Council had placed temporary pumps in Southshore and Flockton Basin in preparation for flooding.
Bellbrook Cres to Emmett St, Orcades St from Quinns Rd to Emmett St, and McFaddens Rd were closed for a time.
Ashgrove Tce, Clarendon Tce, Eastern Tce, Edgeware Rd, Hunter Tce, Richardson Tce, Riverlaw Tce, Weston Rd and Lighthouse Rd were drenched and motorists were asked to take extra care.
PREMIUM SKI CONDITIONS EXPECTED
Punters at some of Canterbury's ski fields would be in for a "beautiful bluebird day" on the slopes once the front passed, Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager James McKenzie said.
Almost a metre of "light, dry powder" fell on Mt Hutt and 40 centimetres on Porters Ski Area in the 24 hours to Monday evening.
Other Canterbury skifields also received a blanketing, including Mt Cheeseman, Roundhill and Craigieburn.
"It's pretty crazy, it's snowing really hard, but we are finding it significantly easier to work with compared to previous snow events this season," McKenzie said.
July's storm had been "solid, heavy" and extremely difficult to shovel.
A MetService snow forecast said further falls were expected at Mt Hutt from Monday evening.
"It's doing what we want it to do, there's not a lot of wind and fingers crossed it clears to get the field open tomorrow. The lifts are still running, trails are groomed and the access road is looking all right and we'll be working to keep that clear overnight," McKenzie said.
The terrain park and lifts office next to Huber's Hut, and a newly installed spa pool, had been almost completely buried in snow with just the tip of the building visible under a heavy layer.
Porters Pass was closed for a time on Monday after a forecast 35cm of snow settled near the summit.
Falls would ease north of about Porters Pass this afternoon. Between 20cm to 35cm of snow could accumulate from Porters Pass southwards, with 10cm to 15cm of snow further north from 9am to 8pm.
Lewis and Arthur's passes were each forecast to receive between 4cm and 8cm during the same period and scattered powder was expected to settle on Lindis Pass. Road snow warnings were in place.