Heavy rainfall, gales forecast

MetService has updated its latest forecast and issued several warnings for heavy rainfall and severe gales which may cause slips, surface flooding and hazardous driving conditions in parts of Otago and Southland today.

An active front was forecast to move across the South Island last night and today, bringing heavy rain to western areas, and northwest gales to eastern parts.

A MetService spokesman said the heaviest rainfall was expected in Fiordland (north of Doubtful Sound), Westland (south of Otira) and about the Otago and Canterbury headwaters.

An active front is forecast to move north across the South Island today, bringing rain to most of the South Island.

In Fiordland (north of Doubtful Sound), between 100mm and 140mm of rain was forecast to fall between 9pm yesterday and 9am today. Between 1pm and 6pm today, 90mm to 120mm of rain is expected in Westland.

Rain could be slightly heavier around Canterbury and Otago headwaters and in Fiordland.

Rainfall intensities of 10 to 20mm per hour were expected in Fiordland, Southland and Clutha, with 10mm to 15mm per hour in Dunedin and North Otago.

In the Otago headwaters, 80mm to 120mm of rain was expected to accumulate about the Divide, and 60mm to 90mm was forecast within 15km east of the Divide. Peak rates could reach 30mm an hour.

The heavy downpours could cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are possible and driving conditions could be dangerous.

Northwest gales could approach severe gale force in exposed parts of Fiordland, Southland, Otago and Canterbury, MetService said.

Marine warnings are in place for the South Island due to the risk of gale force winds.

Late last month, heavy rain caused severe flooding that washed out parts of an old landfill near Fox Glacier and damaged Waiho Bridge, closing access between Franz Josef and Fox townships on State Highway 6.

- ODT and RNZ

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