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North Otago prepares for rainfall to double

More heavy rain expected in North Otago is causing concern.

MetService is forecasting some areas may receive more than 200 millimetres of rain by tomorrow morning.

Civil Defence has already moved to evacuate people from one farmhouse north of the town and Oamaru is cut off, with roads in and out closed.

Heavy rain and gale-force winds have resulted in a slip covering both lanes on Highcliff Road on the Otago Peninsula, forcing the Dunedin City Council to close the road shortly after 1pm.

The Otago Regional Council is expecting yet more streams and rivers to burst their banks as the deluge continues. It also says the Silver Stream catchment west of Dunedin is rising steadily, but it is not expected to burst its banks. The council says there is still potential for extensive flooding in the Taieri catchment. weather analyst Richard Green, says North Otago has had about 100 millimetres of rain so far, but MetService is sticking to forecasts of up to 250 millimetres.

“The MetService is holding those warnings there, we’re not half way and that’s what the frightening thing is. It’s funneling all this moisture, it’s hugging the North Otago-South Canterbury coastline.”

MetService also says a cold outbreak is expected to bring the first snow of the year to parts of Southland, Otago and Canterbury tomorrow night. Forecasters warn conditions will become progressively colder as the rain eases and they are expecting snow showers down to near 300 metres in eastern parts of Southland and Otago. Snow showers may fall as low as 200 metres in parts of Canterbury and eastern Otago on Thursday.

North Otago farmer Ele Ludemann says it is scary to think of what is in store for the region and the worst is yet to come if MetService predictions are correct.

“We’ve had as much rain in the last day or so as we’ve had for the whole of the rest of the year, so if you double it, we’ll be cut off.”

In Timaru, heavy rain may have subsided, but more is on the way. The area has had up to 120 millimetres of rain in the past 24 hours.

Environment Canterbury Flood Controller Graham Sullivan says the rain is steady at the moment, but not intensive.

“The Metservice has told us it’s going to ramp up again and it looks like it’s just starting to do that now, so we are keeping a very close eye on all our rivers. Our catchments are soaking and rivers will respond to any increase in rainfall intensity fairly quickly.”

Graham Sullivan says any farmers who have not shifted stock from low-lying areas should do so as soon as possible.




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