Heavy rain continues to fall across Christchurch and parts of Canterbury this afternoon extensive surface flooding being reported.
WeatherWatch.co.nz weather analyst Richard Richard Green says the rain has set in and driving is marginal on some roads, including some State Highways.
The rain bands are still moving northwards but rain remains about Dunedin and Oamaru says WeatherWatch.co.nz.
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Meanwhile the centre of the low has drifted back northwards but is this afternoon clearing the lower North Island.
Rain in the Capital has started to ease now too although showers or patchy rain are expected for the rest of the day..
Squally showers are hammering the west coast of the North Island from Taranaki to Northland and gusty winds are affecting almost all of New Zealand as the low starts to depart New Zealand and the western flanks of the low, where the air pressure gradient is steepest, moves over the land.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says rain is expected off and on across Canterbury until Sunday.
The rain is still falling in North Otago as local authorities assess the damage caused by flooding.
The Army has been called in to help and soldiers and Unimogs are accessing isolated areas.
Waitaki Public Information Manager Scott Ridley says motorists need to be wary of wave action if they are out driving.
“If people do have to travel, we’d ask them to be careful and to drive slowly, because if they drive fast through surface flooding it can push the water into property.”
Waitaki District Council spokesman Richard Mabon says around 40 local roads are affected by surface flooding and remain closed.
“The main issues we’ve had have been with the roads and with state highways being closed, (there is) not a lot of damage to property that we’re aware of.”
Mr Mabon says the biggest concern for farmers now is a snow warning for tonight and tomorrow. Conditions are set to get progressively colder today, with snow showers likely to lower to near 300 metres in eastern parts of Southland and Otago tonight.
MetService forecaster Bob McDavitt says the ‘low snow’ is the first of the year and is just another piece of bad news for residents mopping up after heavy rains.
“The freezing level is likely to get closer to the mountain top level, so the rain around the foothills and the higher parts of the mountain is likely to turn to snow.”
Mr McDavitt is warning farmers that the combination of cold temperatures, snow and strong winds may be too much for some stock to cope with. Farmland has been inundated with water which has also forced schools around Oamaru to close.
Local farmer Ele Ludemann says it is not all bad news.
“The good side is we can safely say the drought’s broken and it will set us up for spring growth.”
Meanwhile, the Otago Regional Council is continuing to monitor rainfall and river flows in North Otago, Dunedin and Taieri. Steady rain is expected to continue to fall across the region for most of the day.
Environmental Services Manager Martin King says floods in North Otago look to have peaked and attention is now turning to other areas.
“Some of the bigger rivers like the Pomahaka and the Taieri are rising, where a lot of the smaller streams are now declining and reducing, so we’re kind of shifting our resources around to actually meet those risk areas.”
Mr King says another 40 millimetres of rain is expected today, but it is not expected to be as intense as the last couple of days.
– WeatherWatch.co.nz & Newstalk ZB
on 26/05/2010 9:05am
9 pm update:
Ovcst with continuous light DZ/RA, Fresh to strong SSW, T 7.5 deg C – Rain since 9am 12.0mm [ total since Sunday 52.8mm ]
on 26/05/2010 6:42am
heavy rain an strong winds are pummeling chch as they have been most of the day…worse since dusk…a lot of surface flooding, branches down in cold gusty winds. with tomorows cold an moisture..will we see snow or sleet in chch?
on 26/05/2010 1:15am
What is expected to happen with the snow? Light skiff or heavy falls.
Just got metservices road warning and they not predicting much in the passes, or is it going to be the foothills that get it all??
on 26/05/2010 3:29am
The foothills appear to be in the firing line for any snow that will fall to low levels and moreso into Friday.
The snow level should begin to drop overnight tonight but the heaviest snow is tomorrow night and into Friday
on 26/05/2010 1:12am
Conditions at 1pm:
Ovcst with a moderate to fresh SW breeze, continuous mod rain, Temp 10.5 deg C; 5.0mm rain since 11am [ total since Sunday 47.8mm]
on 26/05/2010 12:03am
Heavy downpour hitting Lower Hutt as we speak. Fire crews stationed across the road have been flat out with callouts all day.