Farmers, residents and businesses in North Otago and East
Otago start a massive clean-up today, following two weeks of
rain which caused an estimated $1 million in flood damage,
but the MetService has warned more wet weather is on the
A MetService spokeswoman said coastal Otago residents could
expect cloud or fog in the mornings and evenings for the rest
of this week, with mainly fine days.
However, high cloud was expected to develop on Sunday and
patchy rain to fall later in the day. At least another two
days of steady rainfall were forecast for early next week.
It was too early to accurately predict at this stage how long
the rain would last, but she advised those in flood-prone
areas to be prepared.
Raineffects Dunedin hydrologist Dave Stewart said the ground
was sodden, but rivers in the region were dropping quickly.
"Hopefully, if we get a few fine days, the rivers will
continue to drop and the ground will dry out a bit, which
means we should be able to cope with a bit more rain next
"It really shouldn't cause too much grief," he said.
Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen
warned the $1 million cost of damage was a rough early
estimate. Three separate episodes of flooding in just over
two weeks in the district had caused "significant damage" to
roads, such as Gards Rd, near Kurow, which had a river
flowing down it, creating significant scouring, pot-holes and
However, Mr Jorgensen felt damage was not as bad as May 2010,
when four days of heavy rain caused $1.5 million in damage.
Emergency repairs would qualify for a substantial subsidy
from the New Zealand Transport Agency. The council also had a
multimillion-dollar emergency fund it could draw on.
Dunedin City Council roading maintenance engineer Peter
Standring estimated damage to the city's roading network
could be up to $250,000, which included the repair of a major
slip on Mt Cargill.
Flood-affected roads are still causing disruption across much
of North Otago, as buses servicing Oamaru schools were
cancelled and motorists advised to stay off all rural roads.
Up to 27mm of rain fell in Oamaru between 9am on Tuesday and
8.30am yesterday, which flooded many roads and isolated rural
Maheno sheep farmer Doug Brown was cut off for two days.
He said the family home was well provisioned, but the weather
had resulted in the deaths of early lambs.
"The worst of it is with the lambing. We have lost quite a
lot of lambs, unfortunately. I think most people will not be
lambing yet, so I think the losses will be minimal. We lamb
our older ewes quite early."
Waitaki District Council emergency services manager Chris
Raine said there had been no need yet to evacuate rural
residents, but urged anyone who had been cut off to contact
the council or Civil Defence.
"We have some families that are definitely isolated. We had
that confirmed this morning. We know they have got no road
access into the area, but unless they have specific medical
problems or another problem, we will just have to sit tight
until the roads reopen."
Yesterday morning about 35 roads were closed, and that number
had risen to more than 45 by late afternoon. At least another
30 were in a "precarious" state and passable only with care,
Mr Raine said.
The council had run out of warning signs because of the
number of roads closed.
Civil Defence public information manager Elton Crane said
notice of no "non-essential" travel had been issued for all
rural roads in the district and warned that motorists should
take extra care, as some hazards could not be signposted.
The rain had also affected at least one local business.
The Alliance meatworks at Pukeuri had to give some staff time
off this week, after water supplies became too dirty.
Plant manager Geoff Proctor said one of the plant's two
slaughter chains had been stood down for the rest of the
"We are on reduced production at the moment, because of the
dirtiness of water the plant is supplied. We're struggling to
maintain the levels we need to maintain all production.
"We restricted our kill levels from Wednesday, for the rest
of the week, and we should be all right with the clearing
weather to go back to full production on Monday.''
It had taken "a lot of juggling" but the plant was still
operating, albeit on a restricted level, he said.
The Clutha District Council last night closed the Toko Mouth
and Akatore roads near Milton due to flooding.