Media release

Rivers and rainfall update #6

Thursday 7 January 2021

High intensity heavy rain forecast for this afternoon and tonight could cause flash flooding, surface flooding, and rising rivers.

A Metservice heavy rain watch is in place for Central Otago, North Otago, inland Dunedin and the Clutha from midday-midnight tonight. A severe thunderstorm watch is also in place, including these areas as well as the Southern Lakes and all of Dunedin.

This is likely to impact river flows in the Manuherekia, Upper Taieri, and Pomahaka catchments, as well as rivers in the North Otago area. Level of impact will depend on the location and intensity of downpours; however, there could be surface flooding and rapid and sudden rise of water levels in streams and rivers, resulting in water overtopping river banks. 

Where there are steep and narrow catchments and alluvial fans, for example in and around Roxburgh and Middlemarch, localised severe downpours could trigger the mobilisation of sediments and debris. This can cause blockages that cause streams to break out of their existing channels. Rainfall amounts and intensities for these areas will be closely monitored by ORC’s duty flood team. ORC contractors remain available to respond to this event.

Stay up-to-date through:

ORC web info hub for this event:

ORC flood alerts on twitter:

Up-to-date river levels, flow and rainfall information at sites across Otago:

Weather watches and warnings: