Media release

Otago Regional Council heavy rain and flood warning update

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Otago Regional Council (ORC) flood managers continue to closely monitor river and lake levels following updated weather warnings of heavy rain on and east of the main divide from MetService today.

Heavy rainfall intensities were predicted for the headwaters of the Southern Lakes this morning before easing early afternoon and clearing later this evening. The heavy rainfall is expected to move quickly north on Tuesday afternoon, with no significant rainfall forecast for the remainder of the week.

River and lake levels in the Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea catchments are currently on the rise following the rain that has already fallen yesterday and overnight. MetService predict a further 100 – 200 mm to fall in the area on top of what has already fallen.

ORC Manager Natural Hazards Jean-Luc Payan said that while the rainfall has been on the lower side of the predicted range, the lakes are still at an elevated height and will remain high for a while.

“We’re not letting our guard down while there’s still the possibility of more rain, and ORC are continuing to closely monitor river and lake levels,” said Mr Payan.

The intense band of rain predicted to move across Central Otago and the Lower Clutha region mid-day today is now expected to be less significant, as rain has been confined to the headwaters. No major rainfall has been recorded any further east than Queenstown/Wanaka.

River level and rainfall information is available via the ORC website: or by phoning 0800 426 463.