Clean-up effort after weather chaos

Rough weather will continue for some parts of the country today, as will the clean-up effort after yesterday's weather chaos.

High winds and heavy rain lashed the country on Wednesday night and into yesterday, causing widespread flooding, hundreds of evacuations, thousands left without power, and chaos on the roads.

Thousands of people were without power in the South Island overnight and MainPower is still working to restore electricity to parts of North Canterbury, still blacked out following last night's bad weather.


Although electricity has now been restored to Rangiora, Kaiapoi and West Eyreton, MainPower staff are still working on problems in the west, as far out as Oxford.

The weather of the past two days has meant mayhem on wet highways ahead of Easter holiday weekend, with multiple road closures and several nasty crashes including a 4WD towing a caravan colliding with a truck and causing a gas bottle to explode near Warkworth, and a minibus rolling causing multiple injuries on State Highway 5 between Tirau and Rotorua at about 9.30am yesterday.

Surface flooding continues to hamper mop-up operations in the south. And the MetService national forecast for today suggests some areas will see the deluge continue.

Northland and Auckland will have fine spells and the odd shower while Waikato to Taranaki, as well as the Coromandel, western Bay of Plenty and the central high country will see a few showers and some heavy rain from this afternoon.

Thunderstorms are possible around Taupo and inland Bay of Plenty.

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Meanwhile, the eastern Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and northern Hawkes Bay will have rain with some heavy falls, and possible thundery downpours.

These should ease this afternoon or evening but a severe weather warning remains for Gisborne.

MetService says the rain will ease to a few showers on Saturday morning, however, and this will become confined to the north on Saturday night.

Southern Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa will also have showers, some heavy, but these will ease this afternoon.

From Wanganui to Wellington there will be showers but these will clear later this morning and Marlborough and Nelson will be mainly fine with the chance of a shower this morning.

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Buller and Westland will have cloudy periods and isolated showers, with some heavy rain north of Harihari this afternoon.

Fiordland will be fine apart from morning cloud and from Canterbury to Southland it will be mainly fine, with areas of evening cloud.

The Chatham Islands will see rain, possibly heavy.

The Westland District Council early yesterday morning declared a state of emergency in the Franz Josef and Waiau region after a night of extreme flooding.

More than 180 people, mostly tourists, were evacuated in Franz Josef after the Waiho River burst its banks about 700m north of the main township.

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Flooding swept through several hotels including the Scenic Hotel where staff accommodation was under water.

The Top 10 Holiday Park campsite on the banks of the Waiho River was swamped by the floodwaters.

Emergency rock work was yesterday under way to stem the Waiho riverbank's breach.
Welfare centres were set up in the Franz Josef township and the Red Cross has delivered supplies from Christchurch.

Flooding also disrupted the town's water supply.

Weather forecast for Friday - main centres

Auckland - Cloudy periods with the odd sunny spell, moderate Southwest winds. There is a 20 per cent chance of rain. High of 26C.

Tauranga - Sunny areas, cloud builds a little after midday with the chance of a shower. Light winds. There is a 30 per cent chance of rain. High of 25C.

Hamilton - Mostly sunny in the morning, cloud builds this afternoon then a few isolated showers move through which clear later on. Light winds. There is a 40 per cent chance of rain. High of 26C.

Wellington - Early showers clear, a mainly cloudy day with cool southerly winds. There is a 30 per cent chance of rain. High of 16C.

Christchurch - Morning cloud breaks into a few sunny areas, southerly winds turn easterly in the afternoon. There is a 10 per cent chance of rain. High of 17C.

Dunedin - Sunny areas with east to Northeast winds, a little breezy in the afternoon. There is a 10 per cent chance of rain. High of 15C.
- Source: WeatherWatch.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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