Media release

Emergency Management Otago update #8 - 6pm

Saturday 22 July 2017

Rainfall has eased in Otago and rivers are beginning to recede. However, Civil Defence and Emergency Management Otago is warning that residents still need to exercise extreme caution as widespread flooding remains and many roads are still impacted.

In Waitaki, there is widespread flooding over many parts of the district and there is some sewerage leakage in the Oamaru township. Some local roads are closed and there is damage to some properties.

In Dunedin, rivers are receding with the exception of the Taieri, which is still fluctuating at high levels. The Taieri River is expected to remain high regardless of whether more rainfall occurs. Sandbags and rocks have been used to plug most of a hole that was letting water back under the pumphouse at pressure from the Taieri into Mill Creek. At this stage the position is considered stable and is being closely monitored. There are widespread road closures in the Dunedin area due to flooding and slips.

In Central Otago, river levels are receding and weather forecasts show the rain is clearing, but there are widespread road closures in the Maniototo and Ida Valley, and damage to roads. Snow is falling, affecting roads with some closures remaining in place overnight. Those in Omakau, Patearoa or Ophir need to boil water. Ranfurly and Naseby residents are asked to conserve water.

Road closures also affect the Clutha District with surface flooding and high river levels impacting the district. Water levels across Clutha are starting to drop and river levels are receding, the rain has eased off.

Kaitangata volunteers were sandbagging low lying parts of the town, there were some self evacuations but we did not need to activate the welfare centre, which was on standby.

The Clutha River is now receding and contractors have started clearing the mouth of the river to help with water flows.

The NZ Transport Agency reminds drivers needing to travel to take extra care and build in time for long journeys.

There are many slips and areas affected by surface flooding due to the heavy rain. Please slow down in these conditions and adhere to the posted temporary speed restrictions. Be aware that not all flooded roads are signposted.

Sub-zero temperatures overnight tonight in Canterbury and Otago are likely to causing hazardous driving conditions on many routes from around 4am onwards. Transport Agency and council roading crews will be out applying grit so please take care in the morning on both ice and gritted roads.

Otago school principals are in discussion with the Ministry for Education and Civil Defence regarding the return to school on Monday. Should any closures be necessary, schools will notify their community via their normal channels.