Weather: Flooding and slips close roads in Bay of Plenty, Canterbury

Slips and flooding have forced the closure of multiple sections of State Highway 2 in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne areas.

And the storm has caused damage in Dunedin.

The highway between Taneatua and Waimana is closed due to a slip.

And heavy rain has caused flooding, completely closing the road between Opotiki and Gisborne.

NZTA said there was no suitable detour available, and motorists should consider delaying any journeys.

A third stretch of the road between Nukuhou and Kutarere is also closed – as well as its detour route.

The weather is wreaking havoc around the country.

There is flooding in Otago and Canterbury, too.

SH83 between Aviemore and Otematata in Canterbury will be closed until Sunday, January 10 because of flooding.

“A detour route is available and is suitable for all vehicles,” an NZTA spokesperson said.

“Please take extra care on all roads and plan ahead if you intend to travel on the network today.”

The latest update from the Dunedin City Council revealed the extent of the weather carnage.

“The heavy rain has caused some damage around the city and region however the stormwater and transport networks have performed well given the level of rain we experienced,” a post on the organisation’s Facebook page said.

“Our contractors are out and about cleaning up however there is still a risk of more rain and thunderstorms later today.

“We will continue to monitor the situation but there have been some minor slips and fallen trees so take care on the roads.

“Please avoid travel around Henley as contractors are cleaning up debris.”

Sandbags are available now at the Dunedin Ice Stadium and the Mosgiel Memorial Park carparks.

A water tanker and further sandbags will be available for Middlemarch residents at the Strath Taieri Community Hall this afternoon.

Sandbags will also be available there.

Residents in Middlemarch are advised that they can resume flushing their toilets – but water may be contaminated.

“The heavy rain continuing through the night may have caused the wastewater system to be overwhelmed in places and there may be overflows onto roads,” the Dunedin City Council said earlier today.

“People should stay out of any floodwaters and treat them as contaminated.”

Before 9am, a second warning was issued for drivers to proceed with caution on Otago roads.

“Holidaymakers planning to return home, or resume their vacation and travel further in Otago today, are advised to check road conditions before they set out,” Emergency Management Otago group controller Matt Alley said.

“Three state highways remain closed in the region as of 8am, with numerous local roads also affected by surface flooding, slips, washouts and debris.

“As well as roading issues, some councils had also issued boil water notices for communities whose water supplies had been affected by the flooding,” he said.

“As people look to resume their travels this morning, we recommend they check the roading conditions before they leave, respect all road-closure signs and detours, and allow extra time to navigate their way to their destination.”

Festival-goers stranded

Two hundred people are stranded after rising water of the Silverstream cut off the Whare Flat Folk Festival, northwest of Dunedin yesterday.

Festival organiser Kathryn Olcott said the ford in Silverstream Valley Rd was closed and festival-goers at the site would be unable to leave until this morning.

She could not say exactly how many people remained at the festival.

Some festival-goers managed to get out before the ford was closed shortly after midday yesterday.

The festival’s final night of performances would go ahead today, she said.

Don’t flush toilets

Overnight, residents in Middlemarch were advised not to flush their toilets and avoid drinking water from bores as it was likely to be contaminated.

The Dunedin City Council advised earlier this morning that residents and visitors to the area should take care.

“With the inclement weather, the wastewater system has been overwhelmed and we would ask that you refrain from flushing your toilet until further notice,” a notice said.

“Extensive flooding and wastewater surcharges have affected Middlemarch and residents are being advised not to drink water from bores unless they treat the water with a filter or similar as it is likely to be contaminated.”

Campers stranded as roads closed

With two out of three highway routes out of Opotiki closed, some visitors to the eastern Bay of Plenty town are unable to leave.

Tirohanga Beach Motor Camp manager Julie Munro said the weather and road closures had caused disruption for those looking to travel today.

“People have just arrived now but there were some people who couldn’t get through earlier and now they have to wait,” she said.

She said the campground had not flooded.

“It has stopped raining now, people are still damp but the sun is getting brighter. It’s going to be nice, we’re confident.”

She said the disruptions had not affected the good mood of travellers.

“It’s all just part and parcel of camping.”

Opotiki mayor Lyn Riesterer said there had been a lot of rain overnight and she encouraged motorists to be patient.

“It must’ve been pretty heavy in the hills because even though it rained solidly here in Opotiki, it wasn’t hard, hard rain,” she said.

“[Motorists] should make sure they’re not trying to cut across any slips and that they take their time to wait and ensure it’s safe.

“I think most people travelling through from Gisborne, from Rhythm and Vines, had already gone through but our campgrounds are pretty full.”

Riesterer said she could think of worse places to be stuck than Opotiki.

“Check out the i-Site and get any up to date information you need. Go and enjoy the town and the museum.”

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