Holidaymakers near the Waitaki and Rangitata rivers could be in for a wet start to the New Year after a severe weather warning was issued by Environment Canterbury yesterday.
South Canterbury duty flood controller Tony Henderson said the Meteorological Service was predicting record rainfall for this time of the year during a 40-hour period starting at 9pm last night.
Mr Henderson said up to 200mm of rain could fall in the Waitaki and Rangitata rivers from late yesterday until midday tomorrow.
"It is vitally important that holidaymakers who are camping or simply visiting high country lakes and these two rivers, keep a very close watch on water levels," he said.
"There is currently no flood alert in place, but people should listen to local radio stations and if they have internet access, check out the home page on the Environment Canterbury website: www.ecan.govt.nz for flood warning updates."
Mr Henderson said although the rain was predicted to fall mostly in the mountains, it was important that people in the plains area - where the weather could continue to be fine - stayed alert as the rivers could still pose a threat to safety as flood waters flowed downstream.
"Environment Canterbury staff are monitoring river and lake levels and would be doing so until the threat of flooding had passed," he said.
Weather updates are also available on the MetService website: www.metservice.com.