Flooding leaves mark on South and Central Otago

A man trapped in his car in rising floodwaters was among thousands affected by extreme weather conditions across the South yesterday.

Fire crews from Kaitangata and Balclutha were called to rescue the man after his vehicle became stuck in about 1.5m of water near Lakeside Rd, Lovells Flat, about 4.50pm.

Mud, gravel and debris was removed from a creek beside Quail Haven, Roxburgh. Photos: Staff Photographers
Mud, gravel and debris was removed from a creek beside Quail Haven, Roxburgh. Photos: Staff Photographers
The man, believed to be from Milton, was picked up by firefighters about 5.30pm without further incident.

Roads from Oamaru to Invercargill were affected by flooding, and many were closed or under restriction because of surface water or slips.

Authorities warned people not to attempt non-essential journeys as key rivers rose and some breached their banks.

By 6pm, the Clutha River in Balclutha had passed its third flood warning level of 1850cumecs and by 8.50pm it was flowing at 2013cumecs and still rising.

Elsewhere in South Otago, the Waitahuna River at Tweeds Bridge, near Lawrence, was at its second flood warning level, at 215cumecs; the Pomahaka River at Burkes Ford, near Tapanui, had topped its third warning, at 442cumecs.

In Beaumont and Lawrence, fire crews worked to clear drains during the morning.

Roxburgh golf course had significant flooding. 3: A Roxburgh orchard yesterday morning.
Roxburgh golf course had significant flooding. 3: A Roxburgh orchard yesterday morning.
Crews from Lawrence and Waitahuna were called out to surface flooding on State Highway 8 in Lawrence about 6.35am.

About 30 volunteers gathered at the Lawrence Golf Club during the afternoon to prepare sandbags after rain continued throughout the day.

SH90 between Mill Rd and Brooksdale Rd at Tapanui was washed out.

Customers on the Tuapeka West, Glenkenich and North Richardson rural water schemes were advised to boil water until further notice.

Further north, in the Waitaki district, as of 5pm, 14 roads were closed and another 33 under caution for flooding.

SH1 from Waitaki Bridge south was under an NZ Transport Agency caution.

A Roxburgh orchard yesterday morning
A Roxburgh orchard yesterday morning
SH83 was closed between Pukeuri and Duntroon.

There was a washout on SH85 near Dunback yesterday but the Pigroot highway was still open last night, with care, as it was also affected by snow yesterday. However, SH87 was still closed by flooding between Kyeburn and Hyde.

The Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade was called out to multiple flooding incidents from about 3pm yesterday.

Because of the rain, the Waitaki District Council shut off the Lower Waitaki water supply, and affected residents were advised to conserve drinking water until further notice.

In Southland, surface flooding warnings were issued for multiple roads in the north of the district.

Affected roads included Riversdale-Waikaia Rd, Piano Flat Rd, Block Rd, Pyramid-Waiparu Rd, Felton Rd, Roy Rd, Dipton-Castlerock Rd and Castlerock Rd.

Contractors from the Southland District Council monitored the situation throughout the day.

Environment Southland also issued several flood warnings for the district. The Mataura, Oreti and Waikawa Rivers, and the Irthing Stream, were all above normal levels.

Central Otago was also hit.

State Highway 8, near the Roxburgh golf course.
State Highway 8, near the Roxburgh golf course.
Early yesterday a slip closed SH8 near Roxburgh and diggers worked to remedy the damage. Traffic was diverted to the road on the other side of the Clutha River until the highway reopened after midday.

Last night, flooding and slips closed SH8 between Clarksville, near Milton, and Alexandra.

At least one house was flooded in the Maniototo town of Ranfurly, and its rugby field was underwater.

The Roxburgh Golf Club flooded once more, only six weeks after repairs from last year's floods were completed.

Damage was caused by water from Golf Course Creek flowing down the road and on to the course, flooding the 18th green.

President Nigel Arnesen said there was no money left for more repairs.

There were road closures elsewhere in the Teviot and Maniototo districts because of flooding, and heavy snowfall through the Teviot Valley made driving difficult for motorists.

Surface flooding in Lawrence yesterday morning.
Surface flooding in Lawrence yesterday morning.

SH90 between Raes Junction and Tapanui also remained closed due to a ''dropout'', which damaged the road. NZTA maintenance manager Nick Rodger said it was not a typical dropout scenario.

''Normally, the road underneath slips away with nothing left. Here, the water came across the top of the road and just cut it out.''

The NZTA said it would be working on a temporary repair once the weather cleared.

Both the agency and police advised road users to take extreme care and avoid non-essential travel overnight.

- Additional reporting from regional reporters

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