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Heavy rain batters West Coast, SH6 closes

Apr 10, 2024

Emergency officials have been making preparations for a deluge predicted over a large stretch of the coast over the next two days.

MetService says more than 250mm of rain was recorded in the ranges of the Westland District over the past 24 hours.

"The system is expected to bring less intense rain today, but the respite will be brief. Brace for another round of intensifying weather on Thursday, extending to other regions," the forecaster says.

In Franz Josef, close to 300mm of rain had fallen since yesterday, West Coast Emergency Management group controller Te Aroha Cook says.

The Franz Josef community has been proactive in shifting stock or people in low-lying areas evacuating.

Power poles are down on the West Coast amid the storm, and customers could be without power for several days, West Coast Emergency Management says.

Three poles are down due to sea conditions, affecting customers south of Hannahs Clearing, near Haast.

"The outage could result in several days without power," West Coast Emergency Management says.

"The slips are hindering our capability to access and provide fault repairs to Haast.

"We are currently investigating contractors from Cromwell to assist where possible."

SH6 from Franz Josef to Haast is closed due to multiple slips and people south of Hannahs Clearing, near Haast, could be without power for several days.

What you need to know:

  • A red warning is expected for Westland, south of Hokitika, as 700mm of rain is forecast until Thursday
  • The Waiho River at SH6 has reached peak levels
  • Orange heavy rain warnings are in place for parts of Westland, Fiordland, Canterbury and Otago
  • People in the area are asked to keep up with the latest forecasts and take precautions, including reviewing emergency plans for their homes
  • The rain extends to the top of the South Island from Thursday and onto the North Island Thursday into Friday
  • SH6 between Haast and Franz Josef is closed due to slips
  • People south of Hannahs Clearing, near Haast, could be without electricity for several days after three power poles went down

Main image (RNZ/Nathan Mckinnon). The Waiho River is churning on Wednesday morning. 

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