Severe weather warnings have been upgraded today as heavy
rain begins to fall in the South Island and winds of 150kmh
are possible in some areas.
While the South Island looks set to bear the brunt, forecast
gales and rain have prompted flood warnings for both islands
over the next few days.
Trampers and holidaymakers should expect rising rising rivers
and streams following recent torrential downpours along
western and alpine areas of the West Coast and inland areas
of the South Island, Weatherwatch.co.nz said.
MetService has issued rain and wind warnings with gusts
expected to top 150kmh in parts of Canterbury, and 140kmh in
Marlborough as well as Wellington and the Wairarapa from
Otago can expect gusts up to 120kmh.
Rain, stronger winds and gales would hit central parts of the
country and exposed parts of Northland and Auckland before
moving to the South Island, MetService spokesman Ramon
Heavy rain is expected in the west, and gale or severe gale
northwesters in the east from today.
"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," he
About 300mm of heavy rain is expected to fall in the same
catchment areas of the Southern Alps that were drenched last
The deluge has prompted Environment Canterbury to issue flood
warnings, while the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has
closed part of State Highway 94/Milford Rd as a precaution
against rock fall.
Campers, farmers and other landowners in the area have been
told to monitor the situation closely as rivers could still
become unsafe from floodwaters flowing rapidly downstream.
NZTA Southland state highway operations manager Peter
Robinson said the Milford Rd was closed between the Homer
Tunnel and Murrell's Bridge from 7pm today due to the heavy
rain forecast in the area.
Heavy rain in Westland, Nelson and Buller last week washed
away a bridge and caused holiday traffic mayhem.
The wild weather washed out a section of Wanganui River
bridge at Harihari, south of Hokitika, on Wednesday, forcing
holidaymakers to make lengthy detours.