It sounds like something out of the Guns N’ Roses hit – the month was all about cold November rain in the Waitaki district.
Constant heavy rain pelted the district throughout much of the past fortnight, bringing with it extensive surface flooding in Oamaru and the wider district that closed or put dozens of roads under caution, including a stretch of State Highway 83 between Pukeuri and Peebles.
Emergency services around Waitaki dealt with several instances of flooding at commercial and residential properties, minor motor vehicle accidents and other flood-related issues.
Niwa meteorologist Nava Fedaeff said a record record-breaking 217mm of rain was recorded in Oamaru, more than five times the long-term November average of 44.7mm.
It was the highest amount recorded since records began in 1941.
The wettest day came on November 8, which also broke the record for a single day in November, since daily records started in 1951.
Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the town’s infrastructure coped with the prolonged rain event “reasonably well”.
“Really, our main issues were with the Shag River. That got a lot of rain, so we had a number of bridges down there closed for a few days because that river was so high and coming over the top of some of those bridges.”
He said the rainfall had also caused erosion damage to a section of Beach Rd near Awamoa Rd, which was being assessed by council staff.
A culvert in West View Rd, at Weston, jointly maintained by the council and Kiwirail, had become blocked and caused significant flooding, which Mr Jorgensen said “could be quite a major fix”.
Waitaki Valley had closed a section of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail from Kurow to Duntroon.
Oamaru’s water treatment plant had also been impacted by flooding.
“The water in the rivers and the race supplies water to Oamaru has got unusually dirty,” Mr Jorgensen said.
“That has meant we have had to use dirtier water through the Oamaru treatment plant, which means its capacity has been reduced a little bit because of longer flushing. That’s going to take a few days to work through.”
As a result, the council recommended Weston, Enfield, Kakanui, Herbert, Hampden, and Moeraki residents connected to the Oamaru water supply to conserve water until the middle of next week.
Localised scouring and slips were being assessed by council staff, he said.
The Waitaki district should now be in for a patch of reasonable weather, though Metservice is predicting some showers later next week.