Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Another wet week ahead

Another wet week lies ahead, but the weather won't be as severe as the storm that's just passed through much of the country.

Southwesterly showers are expected in Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Wanganui and on the West Coast and Southland.

According to weatherwatch.co.nz eastern parts of the country will see the most sun this week, and it will mostly be dry and sunny in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Meanwhile, flood-hit mid-Canterbury residents were spared evacuations overnight after the swollen Halswell River did not burst its banks as feared.

Civil Defence authorities in Selwyn issued a potential evacuation warning for Tai Tapu residents last night as the tail end of the destructive winter storm brought another day of heavy rain.

There was widespread flooding in Doyleston, Southbridge, Lincoln and Leeston, where volunteer firefighters had to sand-bag about 50 flood-threatened properties.

But a Selwyn District Council spokeswoman this morning said only one home in Leeston was evacuated and none in Tai Tapu were.

The Halswell River had risen considerably last night but did not breach its banks, she said.

"The sun is actually out down here today, so we're hopeful that the waters are going to recede and we can get things back to normal again.''

The flooding closed State Highway 73 and a number of river fords yesterday. A helicopter would survey flood damage across the district this morning.

Police are warning Canterbury residents to be careful on the roads due to frost this morning.

"It's as frosty as hell here,'' a police southern communications spokesman said.

"There's a lot of people sliding on the ice, but that's to be expected of four days of rain and a first frost.''

In storm-battered Wellington, about 800 households were still without power last night.

Wellington Electricity said it hoped to get power restored for most customers by the end of today, but it could take longer for rural areas.

The coastal community of Makara was facing a third night without power last night.

David Wutzler said his family had a wood fire to keep warm, but if the power didn't come back on soon, all the food in their freezer would spoil.

He hoped a temporary generator would be provided for the community, but there were fears yesterday that Makara could be cut off by flooding.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said line crews were making great progress to get power back on across the city in "miserable and dangerous conditions''.

"In the meantime, though, we urge people to take steps to stay warm - and we urge people to help out those still without power.''

The Insurance Council yesterday said claims from the storm were likely exceed those from the floods in Nelson and Bay of Plenty in April, which came to $36 million.

Most claims were expected to come from Wellington.

- additional reporting Newstalk ZB

- APNZ

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