Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Landslip hits Picton house

The slip on the Rimutaka Hill Road closed the road for some time.
The slip on the Rimutaka Hill Road closed the road for some time.

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Residents of a Picton house escaped injury today when a landslip hit their home and broke through a wall.

Torrential rain at the top of the South Island and the bottom of the North Island resulted in slips both in Picton and north of Wellington.

A Marlborough District Council spokeswoman said emergency services were at the Milton Terrace property in Picton monitoring the situation, and a geotechnical engineer would inspect the property tonight.

Just after 4pm the slip smashed through a bedroom wall and was still moving late this afternoon, said Southern fire communications shift manager Karl Patterson.

He said none of the occupants had been injured.

The family had left the home, but it was not known if other properties were being evacuated, Mr Patterson said.

"We'll make sure the residents are safe, once that's occurred, we'll head home.''

The Marlborough District Council said the heavy rain in Picton was causing overflows at several points in the town's sewerage system.

The sewage pumping station in Dublin Street was overflowing into Waitohi Stream and sewage was overflowing through the Kent Street drain into the stream. The Picton Marina was getting overflow from three points in the sewerage system.

The council said Picton's Waitohi Stream is running very high, causing discolouration in the harbour.

Members of the public are reminded to follow safe hygiene practices if they come into contact with dirty water.

Meanwhile, a slip closed the Rimutaka Hill Road north of Wellington this afternoon, causing major traffic delays.

The road had reopened by 6pm, but NZ Transport Agency regional performance manager Mark Owen said motorists needed to take care on the road.

"We are advising motorists to drive with care as conditions are challenging and continued rain could lead to more slips.''

Motorists were advised to take the alternative route via SH1, SH57 and SH3 or take the Wairarapa train.

MetService spokesman Daniel Corbett said the departing low covering some of the country would have a ``slight sting in its tail'' with numerous thunderstorms, persistent rain and southerly gales.

Tomorrow was looking much drier and brighter for most of the country, he said.

However, a fast-moving trough is on its way and was likely to spread another spell of wet weather along the West Coast of the South Island tomorrow afternoon, with some spilling over into the Otago and Canterbury lake and river catchments.

Severe northwest gales were also expected in parts of Canterbury, Marlborough, Wairarapa and Wellington.

MetService had issued a Severe Weather Warning for this event, Mr Corbett said.

The worst of the rain and wind should weaken as the trough pushes north over the rest of the country this weekend.

For the annual Lake Taupo cycle challenge - set to take place on Saturday - the weakening trough was likely to bring thickening cloud and some rain and wind later in the day, Mr Corbett said.

A new high from the Tasman Sea would bring mainly dry, settled weather for the start of next week.

- APNZ

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