19 Jan 2017

Stormy weather puts fly in guides' fishing plans

7:44 pm on 19 January 2017

The owner of a luxury fishing lodge near Murchison says last night's storm has turned the rivers 50 shades of brown, prompting guides to cancel fly fishing trips.

Pete Rainey sent a photo of the jetty at Kerr Bay, which shows it submerged after the last 24 hours' rain.

Before and after: Two photos of the jetty at Lake Rotoiti's Kerr Bay, taken by RNZ reporter Tracy Neal and St Arnaud resident Pete Rainey, show today's water level compared to a normal level. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal / Pete Rainey

Felix Borenstein, who owns the Owen River Lodge, said the appalling summer so far did not appear to be letting up, and some guests had decided to leave once roads in the area had opened today.

Earlier today, the top of the South Island was completely isolated by road closures on all highways.

The alpine settlements of Arthur's Pass and Otira remained cut off by landslips, which could take up to two days to clear, with dozens of people affected.

Over 250mm of rain fell at Arthur's Pass during a 24-hour period, MetService said.

At the bottom of the North Island, near the entrance to Wellington Harbour, gusts of almost 140km/h hit Baring Head, NIWA said - as strong as a category two Australian tropical cyclone.

Winds at ground level were more likely in the category one cyclone range of 91-125km/h.

Flights were cancelled in Wellington and power was cut in several areas around the country.

A resident in St Arnaud, in the Nelson Lakes National Park, sent photos showing the jetty at Lake Rotoiti's Kerr Bay swamped by the lake's high water level.

A flooded Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park after the "bomb low" on 18/19 January 2017.

St Arnaud resident Pete Rainey said Lake Rotoiti had become "marshy" since the Kaikōura earthquake. Photo: Supplied / Pete Rainey

Pete Rainey said bands of rain were still coming through in small fronts at regular intervals, and it had turned cold.

Other residents had reported the changed nature of the lakefront since the Kaikōura earthquake, he said.

"There's now a big, marshy area that just won't drain," Mr Rainey said.

Mr Borenstein said some of the guests who had not left the lodge by this morning had gone back to bed, although another had sought out a nearby hydro dam to fish off the tail race extending off it.

"Well, it's not ideal but it was either that or play drinking games, and drinking games always end badly," Mr Borenstein said.

The New Zealand Transport Agency was reminding drivers that caution was needed.

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