6 Apr 2017

Slips, evacuations in Wgtn as storm heads south

6:33 pm on 6 April 2017

Severe weather has forced some Wellingtonians to flee their homes, but MetService says the South Island will wear the worst of the storm from here on in.

Slip on Millward Street, Newtown, Wellington.

Houses in Newtown were evacuated because of the slip. Photo: RNZ / Edward O'Driscoll

Heavy rain over the past two days caused flooding, slips, power cuts and road closures in the North Island.

The entire population of Edgecumbe, in Bay of Plenty is being evacuated on boats, helicopters, tractors and a Defence Force unimog after the Rangitaiki River overflowed and flooded the town.

The rain has eased in the North Island as the weather system moved south. MetService said Canterbury would now get most of the rain, although it would not be as severe as over the past two days.

School closures affect thousands

Almost 50 schools and 21 early learning centres were closed because of flooding across the North Island.

The Ministry of Education said the closures affected almost 6000 students and more than 700 pre-schoolers.

Spokesperson Katrina Casey said the majority of schools and centre closed because of flooding on nearby roads.

Three schools were closed in Auckland, with many more closed in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and Wairarapa.

Ms Casey said more closures were possible. Parents should contact schools or check their websites and social media, she said.

More than 20 Wellington homes evacuated

Heavy rain in Wellington yesterday - the largest in a single day in the past year - caused landslips and disrupted travel. The capital had 65mm of rain between 4pm and 11pm.

A landslide has blocked a road in the Wellington suburb of Churton Park.

Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said the slip had blocked both lanes of Middleton Road near Burdendale Grove. The intersection was closed, but residents could get to their houses.

Two houses on Millward Street, Newtown, were evacuated when a landslip came down at the back of the properties, downing a power pole and rupturing a gas main.

In Happy Valley, about 20 houses were evacuated after the Owhiro Stream burst its banks. Floodwaters had not damaged any homes.

Traffic was delayed on State Highway 1 north of Wellington early this morning when the Plimmerton roundabout was down to one lane because of flooding.

Flights in and out of the capital were suspended last night, forcing about 50 travellers to stay in the Wellington Airport terminal.

Kaikōura cut off for the night

The slip on State Highway 1, south of Kaikoura, which came down in heavy rain on 5 April 2017.

The slip on State Highway 1, south of Kaikoura, which came down in heavy rain. Photo: NZ Transport Agency

In the South Island, Kaikōura would be cut off for the night, with State Highway 1 south of the town closed because of landslips and the alternative inland route shut because of heavy rain.

The NZ Transport Agency opened the inland route from 3pm to 6pm today. The road would be monitored overnight, with a possible re-opening at 7am tomorrow.

SH1 north has been shut since the 14 November earthquake.

About four people in houses in the floodpath of earthquake-created dams above Hapuka and Goose Bay left their homes yesterday as a precaution.

The Kaikōura District Council said the dams were at a safe level at the moment, but it would continue to monitor them.

Accommodation providers in the town cancelled bookings.

Ben Golden, who owns the Sunrise Lodge, said he has had four cancelled bookings.

In Christchurch, the Heathcote River burst its banks in the suburb of Saint Martins.

A small amount of water covered Riverlaw Terrace and reached the front gates of three properties.

Whanganui and Rangitikei lift states of emergency

The Whanganui River at its peak on Thursday morning

The Whanganui River at its peak on Thursday morning Photo: RNZ / Mark Brimblecombe

Meanwhile, the threat of major flooding receded in Whanganui overnight as the river level peaked at about 7.7m - far lower than the nearly 10m predicted.

Residents who left their homes yesterday were allowed to return this morning. Whanganui and Rangitikei lifted the local state of emergency declarations.

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