11 May 2016

Rain, thunder and tornado warning for West Coast

11:45 pm on 11 May 2016

Severe weather on the West Coast has forced road closures and prompted warnings of possible thunderstorms and tornadoes.

West Coast rivers are being closely watched, and one road has been closed.

A MetService warning for the region indicates heavy rain through until at least Sunday.

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Photo: 123 RF

State Highway 67 is closed between Hector and Little Wanganui, south of Karamea, after a creek burst its banks.

Caution is also urged on SH67 from Westport to Hector due to surface flooding.

There is no indication yet as to when the road may reopen, police say.

Nearly 200 people had to be evacuated when the Waiho River burst its banks in Franz Josef after downpours in March.

But a Civil Defence spokesperson said at this stage the river was not causing concern.

People were advised to move away from windows in a tornado, head to the middle of the house and lie low.

During thunderstorms, people should switch off electrical appliances and not use their landlines.