Return of wet weather causes inland flooding

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Heavy rain over the weekend led to surface flooding and the closure of roads in the Waiareka Valley area.

The rain started around 8pm on Friday night and continued until the early hours of yesterday morning, with 52ml recorded in 48 hours.

Waitaki District Council emergency services manager Chris Raine said while there had been no major issues in Oamaru itself, flooding occurred inland.

“Oamaru haven’t had any real problems. We had people go out and check yesterday, but from what we gathered, the town is OK. However, the Waiareka Valley has quite a bit of surface flooding.”

Mr Raine said the wet weather was the first substantial downpour the region had received since the floods in April.

“It’s the wettest 48 hours we’ve had since April and it’s officially ruined all the fields which were close to drying out.”

The Weston-Ngapara Highway, Waiareka Valley and Burnside are the worst-affected areas. The Weston-Ngapara Highway was closed near the Pine Hill Estate, as was the entrance to Kia Ora Rd.

“South roads are working on these areas and trying to make sure that they are opened and back up and running for the public as soon as possible.”

Mr Raine said expected the roads to be re-opened some time today.

Meanwhile, he said this was not the last of the bad weather in store for the region, with snow set to fall to 200m and strong to gale-force winds on the way in the next two days.

“The winds will be strong and very cold because they will be coming from a southerly direction, but the bad weather is expected to die off by Wednesday,” Mr Raine said.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

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