The Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group is continuing to respond to the severe weather event unfolding across the region.
Group Controller for Canterbury CDEM Sean Poff says local councils and emergency management staff are responding to flooding and wind issues in their communities.
“The Canterbury Emergency Coordination Centre remains activated to coordinate across the region,” he says.
“I just want to take this opportunity to thank all emergency services, utility providers, local councils, our local emergency management staff and response teams for leaning in early, enabling us to preposition personnel capability (including heavy machinery) at critical points to mitigate impacts early,” he adds.
“While our people are working around the clock to address issues that arise, I would like to acknowledge those who have and continue to be impacted by this event. Thank you for your patience and understanding,” he says.
Previous warnings in the region expired late Tuesday afternoon. A strong wind watch for the next weather system is in place for the southerly expected through to Thursday evening. However, there is a possibility for further cold temperatures, rain and wind to move through the region later this week.
“We continue to receive updates from MetService. However, the best way to stay up to date is to follow MetService on Facebook and keep an eye over its website,” Poff says.
“Impacts are being felt right across the region, particularly South Canterbury with a small number of evacuations having taken place.”
“Local councils remain in touch with several communities, many of which are rural, who are being impacted by access issues. A slip in the Mt Cook area has meant that the community is currently isolated. Across the region we are closely monitoring the situation and keeping an eye on forecasts for later in the week. We remain ready to respond as needed,” Poff says.
Local councils have contractors out and about across the region to monitor and repair any infrastructure which has been impacted. Utility providers are working hard today to restore power throughout Canterbury. Please bear in mind contractors are doing the best they can in the current weather conditions.
Local council teams are also carrying out welfare checks, where needed.
If you are farming near a riverbed, monitor rivers and be ready to move stock. The Rural Support Trust has good advice on its website for farmers also.
Waka Kotahi/NZTA is urging everyone travelling across the Canterbury and Otago regions to take extra care on the roads as strong winds continue to batter the region, with conditions likely to be particularly treacherous in some areas overnight.
We urge people to delay travel if they can, until the weather event has passed. There are a number of road closures across Canterbury, so again drivers should check with NZTA for State Highway closures and local authorities for other roading impacts.
Police are also urging motorists to drive with extreme caution, particularly in areas where there is high wind or surface flooding, as there could be hidden hazards.
Always make sure you drive to the conditions.
Use your headlights when there is poor visibility and watch your speed - you may need to travel at a speed lower than the speed limit to stay safe.
The Rangitata, Orari, Lower Waitaki, Ashburton, Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers are all being closely monitored by Environment Canterbury’s rivers team. While the flows are high, they are forecast to be within what the system is designed to handle.
Rain has been falling steadily on the divide with moderate spillover into the upper catchments of alpine and foothill rivers. The heaviest rain fall has taken place in Aoraki/Mt Cook Village – more than 150mm had fallen at 11am this morning.
No significant issues have been encountered so far but the rivers will be monitored closely by Environment Canterbury overnight tonight when the bulk of the forecast rainfall is expected to fall.
Field crews are out across south and central Canterbury as needed and others may be deployed as other rivers rise. Tomorrow may be a busier day for staff in the field.
“Environment Canterbury is encouraging those with property adjacent to rivers that may be affected to closely monitor their own situation, and move stock away from flood prone areas,” Poff says.
“If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, we urge you to be prepared to evacuate. It’s best to have your grab bag ready and not have to use it, then need it but not have it ready,” he says.
Several conserve or boil water notices are active in the region – specifically in the South and Central parts of Canterbury. Check-in with your local council to see if any of these impact you.
For the most up-to-date information on:
Power outages, go to:
Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates or look out for information on the Canterbury Civil Defence social media pages