10 Jun 2014

Severe weather batters parts of NZ

10:27 pm on 10 June 2014

State Highway 1 north of Christchurch remains closed to light vehicles on Tuesday night as flood waters cause havoc around the Canterbury region. Some Northland roads are closed, while severe weather is forecast for Auckland.

Thousands of Canterbury motorists had their evening commute disrupted after the New Zealand Transport Agency shut the road from Waikuku to Leithfield shortly after 3pm. The rain has eased on Tuesday night, but not before 80 millimetres fell across the region in 24 hours.

Flooding on a property in Flaxton Road, Rangiora.

Flooding on a property in Flaxton Road, Rangiora. Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon

The Transport Agency said State Highway 1 remains closed to all cars travelling from Waikuku to Amberley and there is no suitable detour.

It has, however, opened a detour at the Kowai River near Leithfield to four-wheel-drives and freight vehicles.

Jo Kane, who lives in the seaside town of Waikuku said the roads where chaotic on Tuesday.

"When you turn into Waikuku you can see the sorry sight which is cars being turned back from the Ashley bridge and there's a lot of traffic of course because the other Ashley bridge is closed and traffic's having to be rerouted ... and it's flicking off at Sefton.

"So a lot of water around, a lot of water in the paddocks, a lot of water coming down to the east."

The Transport Agency said manned road blocks would remain in place overnight and if flood waters recede, the highway would be re-opened.

The Waimakariri District Council is asking people to restrict travel on the district's waterlogged roads to vital situations.

Auckland and Northland

In Auckland, Civil Defence says heavy rain and gale-force winds could cause slips and bring down trees overnight on Tuesday.

The MetService has issued severe weather warnings for northern and eastern parts of both islands, with Auckland predicted to face possible thunderstorms and strong winds.

Auckland Civil Defence controller Clive Manly said strong winds could make waves which could splash onto Tamaki Drive at high tide on Wednesday and may cause power outages.

In Northland, flooding closed some roads on Tuesday, including parts of the main highway.

State Highway 1 around Whakapara is closed between Hukerenui Road and Jordan Valley Road. The Transport Agency said delays can be expected.

State Highway 1 is also shut further north at the Rangiahua bridge, near Horeke. State Highway 12 at Waimamaku is also closed.

Rangiora resthome evacuated

Flooding at Wilshire Court near the resthome.

Flooding at Wilshire Court near the resthome. Photo: Wendy Bayler

Alternative accommodation has been found for all 21 residents of a resthome in Canterbury evacuated due to flooding.

Water was ankle deep in Bainlea House, a dementia facility in Rangiora, when the residents were evacuated between 7am and 9am on Tuesday. The flooding is thought to have been caused by a stream behind the home breaching its banks.

The home's acting chief executive, Mary Gordon, said the residents, aged between 57 and 97, were kept warm and dry at the Rangiora Baptist Church while alternative accommodation was found.

At least nine homes in the town have also been affected by flooding.

Fix the problem, says Kaiapoi resident

Andrew Boreham says he has had enough with where he is living in Kaiapoi, following multiple floods since the 2011 earthquake.

Mr Boreham said on Tuesday that his Wesley Street garage is completely flooded and wants authorities to sort out the area's problems.

"Fix the problem - that's all I can say. Fix the problem. EQC are running a mile from around this area for some reason. I don't know what's going on. But ever since the (2011) earthquake, we've had lots of problems here with flooding and they need to sort it out. Or bulldoze the area and start again."

Mr Boreham said there is about 20 centimetres of water under his house and his family are preparing for a cold night.

Traffic slowed as surface flooding increased in Rangiora.

Traffic slowed as surface flooding increased in Rangiora. Photo: RNZ

Flooding on Skewbridge Road.

Flooding on Skewbridge Road. Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon