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State of Emergency declared in Canterbury

State of Emergency declared in Canterbury

Posted May 31, 2021

Environment Canterbury is monitoring rainfall and river flows across the region.

The Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group declared a state of local emergency in Canterbury yesterday, extending emergency powers across the entire region, as heavy rain continued to fall.

Surface flooding affected roads across the region and residents were advised to avoid all non-essential travel.

In addition to local road closures, several parts of the State Highway network were closed.

At 9 am this morning Waimakariri Civil Defence required all residents of the low lying areas of The Pines Beach, particularly around Dunns Ave to evacute. A flood gate is stuck open and areas of The Pines Beach may be flooded. The Civil Defence Centre at Rangiora Baptist Church is open for people who need somewhere to stay.

Residents on the higher sections of The Pines Beach can stay if they wish, but may be isolated for some time if Beach Road floods.

Emergency services will be assisting with the evacuation.

Waimakariri Civil Defence is urging residents to take extreme care on the roads this morning and to keep up to date with flooding information throughout the day. While the rain may be lighter, river levels remain dangerously elevated and it will take some time until the risk is gone.

Teams have continued to monitor Ashburton River conditions through the night. Upper tributaries are now dropping, but there are still high flows moving through the system. Only the SH1 flow recorder is operating. Flows have been consistent at around 1350 cumecs through the night but are not expected to increase further.

There is extensive surface flooding across the district and numerous road closures. No current concern at Jessops Bend on the Ashburton River which is the main breakout point that could affect the township (overflows upstream are taking the pressure off at present). Monitoring of this critical area is continuing. The main current overflow of the South Branch is toward Greenstreet. South of the south branch, there is some surface flooding, but overflows may still be possible. Teams are continuing to monitor this area. There has been minor overtopping of the North Branch stopbanks, but this is not a current concern.

Hinds River flows are still high, but now dropping. There have been extensive overflows with some through the township.

Selwyn District

The Selwyn River is running in high flood. Flows have peaked at the top of the catchment and are still rising at the bottom (Coes Ford). SH1 is closed north of Dunsandel because of overflows, and Environment Canterbury are still expecting similar impacts to the 2017 event.

The Ashley River is starting to drop at the gorge, and is still running high through the lower reaches. Expect high flows to continue through the day. Staff have been monitoring levels and stopbank conditions all night and will continue to do so today. Eyre and Cust river levels have started to drop.

Hurunui District

High flows in most Hurunui District rivers, and may be some flooding along river margins, and monitoring through the day will continue.

Kaikoura District

No known issues of concern. Extra staff remain stationed here as a precaution.

Geraldine, Waihi, Temuka

There has been extreme rainfall since early Saturday in the Upper Opihi, Waihi, Kakahu and Geraldine areas, with between 250 – 400 mm rain recorded so far in worst affected areas. Rainfall intensities have reduced but there is still some rain, particularly in the northern part of South Canterbury. Rain is expected to ease everywhere this morning.

Flooding and ponded surface water from Sunday will linger through today in some areas but generally the situation should be easing.

Most of the rivers are now falling from peak flows but will remain high through Monday. Those living near affected rivers need to be wary of changes in river flow patterns and the potential for erosion within the riverbed as flows drop away and gravel is redistributed. New problems can arise as flows recede back to normal and adjacent landowners should monitor their own situations.

The Temuka River has dropped from peak flows but is still at around 650 cumecs and will be closely monitored by Environment Canterbury staff through today.

The Opihi River at State Highway 1 is at 1600 cumecs and may still rise a bit further before an expected peak in the next few hours. This reach of the river has a capacity of 2500 cumecs, but the situation will continue to be monitored closely.

The Orari River peaked at 760 cumecs at its Gorge at 10am Sunday and the river is now at 260 cumecs and falling.

All rivers and many streams in the area will remain at elevated flows through today and the extensive surface flooding will linger in some areas.

Numerous road closures have occurred and are expected to remain into Monday.