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Heavy rain and storm force winds have battered both coasts of the South Island and evacuations have been necessary in Canterbury this morning.

120 mm of rain has fallen in Kaikoura in the last 18 hours and similar totals around Picton and Blenheim have caused a lot of surface flooding with  landslips and road closures. State Highway One remains closed between Kaikoura and Picton as storm surge  has been piling debris on the coastal part of the Kaikoura highway.

Nelsonians felt the force of the winds yesterday and rain moved into parts of the province as the big depression headed west.

West Coasters copped violent winds too and some big gusts overnight has seen as many as 20 homes receiving considerable damage .The winds peaked at 140 kph but have now eased however many in Greymouth hadn’t seen conditions as severe as yesterday for some considerable time.

South Island Weather Analyst Richard Green says the rain finally arrived in Christchurch late yesterday afternoon and heavy downpours continued throughout the night. ‘Over 50 millimetres of rain have fallen over a 12 hour period in Christchurch which is a lot for this part of the world over a short period of time’ Green said.

Green says ‘ The Avon and Heathcote rivers in the city are at full capacity and with the possibility of another 20 mm of rain they could break their banks so they’re being very closely monitored’

Some schools in and around Christchurch are closed this morning due to the deluge.

Christchurch police are advising motorists to be careful on the roads around the city as there was surface flooding on a number of city streets and also further afield in outlying rural areas .

North of the city, some evacuations were taking place in Sefton, near Rangiora due to flooding. Some Sefton residents were being taken to the local school hall as floodwaters lapped their homes.

The Hurunui river was running very high and had caused alarm for some locals late last night.Hanmer Springs also received a deluge last night with flooding on some local roads.

The Waimakariri river was also in full flow and surface flooding alongside the river this morning was causing concern, mainly for motorists.

Many skifields are closed again today around Canterbury due to the storm but some big dumps of snow are being reported.75cm of snow had fallen at Porters in the last 24 hours and Mount Hutt had copped a similar total.The tops of the alpine passes in the region were expecting as much as 40 to 50 centimetres of snow which would make it impassable for motorists.

Next in line are the northern and eastern parts of Otago and rain might contain some futher downpours which would keep locals with an eye on the Waitaki River.

Overall the storm is beginning to run out of puff as it gradually rolls south but it will still take another 24 hours for any further threat of flooding to ease.


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