Vehicles negotiate flooding on the Rakahouka-Hedgehope Rd,
about 5km south of Hedgehope, where the Titipua and College
Streams overflowed yesterday. Photo by Allison Rudd.
Southern authorities are warning motorists to take care
today as swollen rivers peak in Southland.
The rain has stopped in the headwaters, but peak flows will
still be moving downstream today.
The flooding - the second event in nine days - was caused by
rainfall of up to 200mm in Fiordland and 40mm-90mm across all
Southland river catchments over about 18 hours on Wednesday
and early yesterday morning.
Gore was the only urban area affected. Gore Volunteer Fire
Brigade members arrived just in time at two properties to
pumps to stop water from entering houses, brigade chief Steve
In rural areas, farmers ''knew what to do'' and moved stock
to higher ground, Environment Southland duty flood warning
officer Chris Jenkins said yesterday.
Hedgehope dairy farm worker Mark McKee said the road was dry
when he went to work at 8am yesterday but was flooded when he
returned home for lunch.
The Milford Track, which was closed on Wednesday morning,
The storm, which brought with it 22mm of rain an hour, peaked
between 9pm and midnight on Wednesday night, Department of
Conservation spokeswoman Annie Wallace said.
Widespread flooding washed out sections of the track.
''Staff are being flown into the Milford Track to replace
damaged bridges, and trampers are being flown over a short
section of track before Mackinnon Pass. The independent and
guided walkers are crossing Mackinnon Pass together due to
high winds on the saddle. One way or another, a lot of
trampers are going to have a very memorable new year tramp.''
All walkers on the Kepler Track managed to traverse the
alpine section of the track on Wednesday, despite high winds,
Ms Wallace said.
The Routeburn Track is closed at the Lake Mackenzie outlet
midway through the track because of flooding, but Ms Wallace
said trampers could still go on to the track at either end,
as long as returned the same way until flooding subsided.