Visitors photograph waves pounding the Esplanade sea wall at St Clair yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
South Otago farmers have been advised to move stock, as heavy
rain is expected today in Otago and other parts of the South
Severe winds are also expected to batter parts of the
The MetService said yesterday a ''very active front'' moving
on to the South Island would bring heavy rain in the west and
about the Alps, and gale or severe gale northwesters in the
''The western and alpine areas of the South Island may see
another period of heavy rain, which may pose problems to
those areas affected by the wet weather of last week,'' Ramon
Oosterkamp, of MetService, said. Heavy rain was expected to
swell the headwaters of rivers and lakes in Otago and
Strong winds were expected in the east from North Otago to
The Otago Regional Council said it was closely monitoring
river and lake levels. It warned campers in the Manuherikia
catchment in Central Otago to keep an eye on rising river
Predicted rain in South Otago tomorrow night, particularly in
the Pomahaka catchment, could significantly increase flows in
the Clutha River, which was already running high yesterday.
Lower Clutha farmers were advised to move stock and machinery
away from low-lying areas, the regional council said.
The Milford Road was closed last night due to the heavy rain
forecast and threat of landslips. It was expected to reopen
tomorrow. The road has been closed each night between the
Homer Tunnel and Murrell's Bridge, from 7pm to 7am, since the
end of November, because of the rockfall risk. The nightly
closures are expected to continue until the end of this
Meanwhile, Niwa released its climate summary for December,
showing Dunedin was drier, warmer, and sunnier than usual.
Recording just 20% of its usual rainfall, Dunedin Airport had
its second-driest December since records began in 1962, with
14mm. The city's Musselburgh site recorded 59mm, 73% of its
The rest of Otago was also drier than usual, with Lumsden,
Cromwell, and Alexandra recording their fourth-lowest
While it was the coolest of the main centres, Dunedin's mean
temperature of 15.1degC was 1.3degC above average. The city
had 110% of its usual sunshine hours, with 185 hours.
Balclutha recorded its second-lowest December minimum
temperature, 0.3degC on the sixth, while Ranfurly recorded
its third-highest December temperature on Christmas Day
Other near records on Christmas Day were Lumsden (third
highest, 28.8degC), Lauder (fourth highest, 32.5degC) and
Alexandra (third highest, 33.2degC). Gore had its equal
highest December temperature, on Christmas Day, with 29degC.
Climate scientist Dr Andrew Tait said December overall was
warm, with more frequent northerly and northwest winds than
usual. Above average temperatures were observed over much of
the North Island, and parts of the South Island. The
nationwide average of 16.7degC was 1.1degC above average.