Storm hits: What you need to know

State of emergency

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull declared a state of emergency at 2.20pm today to make sure extra powers were available to assist in the emergency response. The state of emergency will remain overnight and will be reassessed in the morning. 

Evacuations

Radius Fulton Home residents are being evacuated after torrential rain caused flooding to the rest home.

Dunedin Civil Defence controller Sandy Graham said the Civil Defence was devising a plan to evacuate people from South Dunedin should it be be required.

Police were visiting properties affected by wastewater overflows around South Dunedin to let people know that an evacuation centre is available if needed. 

An evacuation centre has been set up in South Dunedin at the Caledonian Gym building, Andersons Bay Road for anyone who wishes to leave their home.

An information centre is open in Mosgiel at the Memorial Park Hall, Gordon Road.

Welfare centres in Mosgiel and South Dunedin were closed at 7pm due to lack of demand. 

Rivers (updated at 3pm)

Around 36mm of rain has fallen in Dunedin in the last two hours and it is still going.

With the evolving weather situation, Otago Regional Council staff have remodelled predictions for the urban waterways in Dunedin and are now predicting overtopping of parts of the Water of Leith, Lindsay Creek, and Silver Stream mid-afternoon today.

Due to extremely heavy rain, ORC has issued a flood warning for the Water of Leith and Lindsay Creek.

However, by 7pm Dunedin rivers were easing after reaching their peak at about 3pm.

The Water of Leith at the University Foot Bridge at 6.30pm was measured at 23 cumecs, down from more than 60 at its peak.

Also at 6.30 Lindsay Creek at North Rd bridge was 5 cumecs, down from 15 a few hours earlier. 

Silver Stream was expected to peak at 188 cumecs at 7pm tonight.

Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council are working with Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management to continue monitoring the situation.

Flooding

Surface flooding is beginning to cause issues around city streets and in Mosgiel.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman Joss Debreceny said emergency services were preparing sand bags for Radius Fulton Home after water began entering the premises.

They advised management to evacuate residents from the building, he said. 

Roading issues

  • Check DCC road closures here
  • Check NZTA regional traffic/roading info here

Police Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, has advised motorists in the South to avoid all non-essential travel as the rain hits and roads flood. 

The Police have closed SH8 at Roxburgh due to flooding at Blackjack’s Creek. The road is closed between Millers Flat and Roxburgh, with a diversion in place.

There is extensive surface flooding on local roads around the Central Otago District. The Central Otago District Council advise taking extreme care – as well as ponded water there may also be fallen branches and trees, and rocks on the roads.

There are a number of slips and rock fall on SH8 between Clyde and Cromwell and SH6 between Cromwell and Queenstown.

As these hazards are widespread, CODC and its contractors may not yet be aware of them all so Acting Chief Executive Louise van der Voort has asked motorists to be the Council’s eyes and ears. Please phone 03 440 0056 to report any hazards on the roads.

Civil Defence is advising Otago Peninsula and West Harbour residents to consider heading home early today for safety reasons.

Keeping vehicles off roads with a lot of surface water means water is less likely to wash into properties. 

In Dunedin contractors are responding to callouts. Rural roads with fords are being closed.

There is surface flooding and some small slips on Portobello Road. The road is still open but may need to close if conditions worsen.

There are also some small slips on State Highway 88 and around Brighton.

The freedom camping site at Warrington Domain has been closed due to wet ground.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council advised this morning that Mt Aspiring Rd is closed past the Treble Cone turnoff due to surface flooding.

Paradise Rd is closed at the Priory Road intersection as the first ford at Jordan Creek is impassable. It will remain closed until river flows have dropped and the roading team can repair it.

Residents in Dunedin should be aware some roads will be closed, with detours available, if surface flooding becomes an issue.

Keeping vehicles off roads with a lot of surface water means water is less likely to wash into properties.

MetService has issued road snowfall warnings for the Crown Range Rd and State Highway 8 (Lindis Pass).

Forecast

The amount of rain forecast for Otago, and in particular Dunedin, has increased this morning, raising fears of flooding, slips and road closures.

The areas most likely to be affected by flooding are low-lying areas such as South Dunedin and Mosgiel. Heavy rain may also cause localised issues for the hill suburbs.

The latest MetService heavy raining warning for Otago issued at 10.14am predicts 80mm to 150mm (up from the 130mm predicted yesterday) of rain to accumulate between 2am and midnight tonight.

More rain was possible in western parts of Otago.

Peak intensities of 15mm to 30mm per hour were forecast.

In Dunedin  60mm of rain was expected to fall between midday and 4pm.

A strong wind watch is also in place for North Otago, Dunedin and Clutha until midnight tonight.

As at 9am this morning, about 20mm of rain had fallen, leading to some minor surface flooding in areas such as Portsmouth Dr, Marne St and Macandrew Bay, but there had been no major roading or stormwater issues.

Wastewater discharges

As a result of the heavy rain, there are some minor wastewater overflows to waterways around the city. These are emergency overflows to prevent wastewater backing up and running on to private property or roads.

As a precaution, the emergency outfall at Lawyers Head has been opened to alleviate pressure on the Tahuna wastewater treatment plant. At this stage, there has been no discharge from the outfall into the ocean.

A power outage in West Harbour means two wastewater pump stations are discharging into the Otago Harbour. This discharge will stop when the power is restored.

While the discharges contain sewage, it is diluted by stormwater and groundwater entering the network. However, it is recommended that people stay out of waterways during heavy rain.

As required, the DCC has notified the Southern Medical Officer of Health, Otago Regional Council, Iwi and other organisations of the discharges.

Closures and cancellations

Southern District Health Board has postponed tonight's public meeting in Dunedin on its draft Primary and Community Care plan due to the weather. 

South Dunedin schools are closing early. Roxburgh Area School has also closed todays amid road closures in Central Otago.

King's High School rector Dan Reddiex has texted parents saying the school would be closing at 1.25pm based on advice from Civil Defence. Buses would be running at 1.30pm and provision would be made for pupils who could not be picked up until the school's normal closing time.

Bathgate Park school board of trustees have made the call to close the school early following warnings from the DCC and Ministry of Education about possible flooding across the wider South Dunedin area this afternoon.

Parents were asked to collect their children and make contact with their teacher. It hoped to clear the school of pupils by 1pm.

The Ministry of Education has advised that Bathgate Park School, Tahuna Normal Intermediate School, Bayfield High School, Anderson’s Bay School, King’s High School, Queen’s High School, Musselburgh School, Broad Bay School, Abbotsford School, St Clair School, Portobello School, Macandrew Bay School and St Bernadette’s School are all closed.

“The closed early childhood centres are: A to Z Preschool, Rainbow Preschool, Family Ties Educare – Musselburgh, Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre St. Kilda, Gumtree Montessori and Children, Queens High Preschool, Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-School and Family Ties Educare."

Sportsgrounds
People are arriving in town tomorrow for the Masters Games. The condition of sportsgrounds will be checked early in the morning. The DCC will work with event organisers to arrange any changes to the programme or venues if needed.

Emergency response

The Dunedin Emergency Operations Centre opened at 9.30am to monitor and co-ordinate the situation.

Dunedin City Council staff and contractors have been working since 4am today to make sure systems are clear and running well.

Slip sites around the city are being checked, with no reported problems at this stage.

All DCC stormwater screens are clear. 

Sandbags

People concerned about rising water can pick up sandbags from the locations below from 11.30am. Sandbags will be filled and ready to be collected from the following locations:

  • South Dunedin – The South Dunedin sandbag collection point has been relocated to the car park at the Dunedin Ice Stadium, Victoria Road
    Mosgiel – Memorial Park car park beside the stadium/Mosgiel Memorial Gymnasium

DCC advice to residents over general preparedness

Check spoutings and drainage channels for blockages and clear them if necessary

If your basement is prone to flooding lift items that could be damaged by water off the floor. Be sure garden sprays and other chemicals won’t be affected.

Check grates near your house for blockages and keep them clear of leaves and other debris to avoid water building up and affecting your property.

 

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