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The wild winds forecast for Canterbury tonight are unlikely to reach full force in Christchurch.
Winds, forecast to reach up to 130km/h tonight and tomorrow in inland Canterbury, had actually eased in Christchurch this morning before they were expected to gather strength.
MetService issued weather warnings today across the country ahead of an aggressive storm coming from across the Tasman.
A fourth welfare centre is opening at Brooklyn Community Centre tonight, in addition to centres at Addington Raceway, Linwood College and Burnside High.
Jury trials are cancelled tomorrow due to the cordon and juror availability.
Call the jury line on (03) 962 4399 for instructions after Monday.
The majority of New Zealand Post services are operating as normal.
There will be postal deliveries and courier services as usual apart from areas where access is restricted.
Most PostShops across Canterbury will be open, except for the Cathedral Square North, Colombo Street South and Kaiapoi PostShops.
There may also be a delay in the opening of the Merivale PostShop while structural damage is inspected.
West of central Christchurch, State Highway 77 has reopened with a two kilometre detour from Glentunnel to Glenroy.
All major bridges and the Lyttelton tunnel have been assessed and given the all clear.
State Highway 74 between Breezes Road and Metro Place is closed due to a broken sewage pipe. Single lane access is expected to be restored tomorrow morning.
To the north of the city the Chaney Road on-ramp on to State Highway 1 remains closed.
The Building Evaluation team have assessed about half of the
cordoned-off area of the Christchurch CBD.
Road cordons will be lifted as soon as Police and Civil Defence are satisfied that the area is safe.
The buildings which have been assessed have colour-coded notices placed
on them to show their status following the earthquake.
Commercial buildings in the city are being given a safety status of
either Green, Yellow or Red - with Red meaning no occupation and Green
having no restriction on occupancy.
The assessment teams are advising owners also to engage a structural
engineer if they have any doubts about a building.
Residents near the Waimakariri River may have to be evacuated if heavy rains cause the river to swell after the stopbanks were damaged yesterday, Civil Defence Minister John Carter says.
Mr Carter said Civil Defence was working to rebuild the stopbanks and get an evacuation plan in place.
The stopbanks had been damaged at the ocean end of the river and near Kaiapoi and were at about 50 percent capability, he said.
Emergency staff were contacting elderly people to ensure they were looked after.
All bus services in the greater Christchurch area are suspended until at least tomorrow.
Christchurch Hospital is putting off a number of deferrable hospital services tomorrow in a bid to cope with disruption caused by the earthquake.
All surgical and medical procedures other than non-deferrable cases have been cancelled for tomorrow.
View an interactive map of the quake and aftershocks
The SPCA is urging pet owners not to panic if their animals have disappeared since the earthquake. "The important thing is we are asking people not to panic 24 hours or 48 hours after a pet goes missing as it may well come home.
Those people forced to evacuate with animals (cats and dogs) should first take them to Christchurch City Council Animal Control, in Bromley, before they went to the welfare centre.
Cats should be contained in a cage and dogs on a lead. Animal Control will then log the details and care for them or arrange for their care.
Stray dogs should be reported to Christchurch City Council Animal Control, and anyone who found a stray cat, provided it was not injured, should leave it alone and not feed it. If the cat is still around in a few days it should be taken to the SPCA in Hornby.
Emergency animal welfare incidents can be reported on 03 366 3886.
Anyone who had lost an animal for more than 24 hours should call SPCA Track-A-Pet on 0900 56 787.
As aftershocks continue to shake quake-hit Canterbury, the Chamber of Commerce is urging employees heading back to work tomorrow to put safety first.
Chamber chief executive Peter Townsend told NZPA employees should check with their employer about work tomorrow, and "stay out" if there was any question about the structural integrity of the building.
Christchurch District Health Board warns that people should assume river, sea water and any other surface water is contaminated with sewage. Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey says people living in the Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn Districts should regard tap water as unsafe. It should be boiled for three minutes before drinking, brushing teeth or washing and preparing food.
Councils will be testing water supplies intensively over the next few days and will advise when water is safe to use without boiling.
Seventy per cent of water service has been restored in Kaiapoi. Priority is now in on Feldwick, Cass, Sewell and Charles Streets, Raven Quay, Kaiapoi CBD, Courtney Dr and Charters St. Water is expected to return to these areas by tonight or Monday. A portable tanker at North Kaiapoi School can provide water - people are asked to bring their own containers.
The University of Canterbury campus is secured and will be closed until Monday September 13. It has fared well, considering it has over 80 buildings on site. Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says there is a significant amount of broken class to clean up, and more than a million books off their shelves. He says some treasured specimens and collection have been lost.
All schools in Christchurch, Selwyn district and Kaiapoi have been closed for two days under the Civil Defence Act 2002. Schools in these areas will be closed on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 September.
The closure of all schools - both state and private - is supported by health authorities and has been done in consultation with the Ministry of Education.
95% of Canterbury has power. Parts of the CBD cannot be restored until the point of supply to badly damaged buildings is isolated, in order to avoid fire risk. Access to some of these damaged buildings has been hampered by rubble, which is slowing the progress.
There are reports from Kaiapoi that rubberneckers are causing huge issues by going through Road Closed signs to use ATMs. This is causing delays in the fixing and clearing the area. Army and police assistance will be in the town tomorrow.
All bridges and roads are open, except in the CBD of Kaiapoi, but people are warning to drive slowly as there are a lot of cracks.
A number of Canterbury schools will be closed tomorrow, says the Ministry of Education. They are Broadfield School, Christchurch Girls' High Schoo, Clearview Primary, Cotswold School, Discovery One School, Greendale School, Halswell School, Hillmorton High, Hornby Primary School, Hororata School, Jean Seabrook Memorial School, Kaiapoi Borough Schoo, Linwood North School, Riccarton High School, Riccarton Primary School, Rudolf Steiner School, St. Bernadette's School (Hornby), South New Brighton School, Thorrington School, Unlimited Paenga Tawhit, Waitaha Learning Centre, Weedons School and West Melton School.
The United States military in Hawaii offered their assistance after the earthquake, but were turned down because local authorities have the situation under control, Civil Defence director John Hamilton said.
Fonterra will donate $1 million towards recovery efforts in regions affected by the earthquake.
"There is a massive job to be done," said Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden "We are grateful that our local farmers and our sites have come through relatively unscathed as this means we can put our resources into the community where help is needed most."
Christchurch City Council says those needing water can take a large container to get some from tankers at Parkview School and the Linwood Welfare Centre at Linwood College.
Police are asking people to continue to stay out of the central city, which is still cordoned off. There is still a great deal of broken glass and loose debris. The cordon boundaries will be reassessed later today, and reducing the affected area gradually.
Prime Minister John Key says while people who were insured would get payouts from the Earthquake Commission, there would be a mayoral fund to support those who weren't, Mr Key said.
The Earthquake Commission has received about 2800 claims for damage to residential properties, but are expecting up to 100,000 claims.
30 teams of engineers are in Christchurch carrying out assessments on the safety of earthquake hit buildings.
The industry's been on standby since the early hours of the quake, and 50 engineers from outside the region are already on site.
The director of engineering at the Institute of Engineers, Charles Willmot, says a huge number of people have been mobilised, and more are available if necessary.
Early indications are that modern buildings have stood up well, he said, but a lot of older brick buildings hae suffered very badly.
Aftershocks continue to strike the Canterbury region, with three in the last hour alone. Two of these were 4.3 magnitude tremors 20km southeast of Christchurch at a depth of 12km.
Four schools will be closed in the Canterbury region tomorrow, says the Ministry of Education. Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, Kaiapoi Borough School, West Melton School and Hillmorton High will not open.
Agriculture Minister David Carter is visiting farms west of Christchurch that were damaged by yesterday's quake.
"Reports of damage to essential farm infrastructure are our major concern," he said.
"We are mainly concerned about farms still without electricity which will be dealing with stock water issues as well as other problems with farm operations. I've had reports of about six dairy sheds with structural damage, but I am also hearing of about 50 or 60 farms in the epicentre area that could be affected."
Up to 13 portable seismographs will be deployed around Christchurch from today by GNS Science and Stanford University in the United States is sending more recorders.
Mid-Canterbury was already heavily monitored by a permanent network of seismographs sited by researchers anticipating the "Big One" - a magnitude 8 quake which most geologists expect to occur eventually on the Alpine Fault and likely to be at least ten times stronger than yesterday's 7.1 quake.
Christchurch residents have been warned not to use fireplaces, and to treat chimneys as 'dangerous' until they can be inspected.
Roofer Tony Stuart advises "They need to get a roofing company to check their roofs and chimneys. They shouldn't get up there themselves. It is too dangerous but they need to be checked. Often you can't see the cracks that have appeared around the chimneys until you get up there on the roof."
Welfare centres have been set up at Addington Raceway, Linwood College and Burnside High. Those who can are being asked to bring their own toiletries and bedding. Last night 85 people were catered for at Linwood, 109 at Burnside and 50 at Addington.
Council urges those in Rolleston or Tai Tapu to reduce all water use. Currently Tai Tapu sewerage is going into the Halswell River due to the city's network failure and Rolleston's sewerage is overloading the small treatment site that is still operating. A welfare centre is now open at the Rolleston Community Centre on Rolleston Drive.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed that three schools will be closed tomorrow - Kaiapoi Borough School, West Melton School and Hillmorton High. The Ministry is working with principals and boards to determine the extent of any damage to other schools.
It may be two to three days before power can be restored to some houses. In extreme cases, where a single home or business is still without power in an area where power has otherwise been restored, it may up to five days. Orion is currently focusing on Avonside, Brighton and Halswell, as well as rural areas around Highfield, Greendale and Brookside.
The council's Building Evaluation Team is moving through the cordoned off area of the central city, inspecting all buildings within this zone.
Each building will be tagged after it has been inspected with red placards assigned where buildings are considered unsafe and can not be entered; yellow placards assigned where restricted use is permitted; and green placards assigned where there are no restrictions on a building's use.
It is hoped that this process can be completed for all buildings within the cordoned off area by the end of today. Once this information is available, yellow and green placarded buildings will be able to be cleaned up on Monday.
There will be no public access to the cordoned central city area before Monday with the exception of residents. The cordon covers the area bounded by Madras, St Asaph, Montreal and Kilmore Streets.
Overnight hospital activity has been reported as 'quiet'. Ambulance services have returned to normal operational levels and all hospitals are functioning fully, despite 'minor infrastructure issues'.
Christchurch currently has a relatively high rate of H1N1 swine flu virus, which health officials believe could swell as accommodation is disrupted.
The increased risk is being addressed by the Public Health Unit and District Health Board. There are ample reserves of antivirals available in the area.
KiwiRail has transported 14 milk tankers of water - each containing 20,000 litres - from Temuka to Ashburton by rail. The water train was parked in Ashburton overnight as the line to Christchurch was closed. It has reopened with speed restrictions.
There is a shortage of drinkable water in Waimakariri, mostly Kaiapoi. The Selwyn District has nearly returned to normal in urban centres but rural areas remain problematic. Rolleston's water is contaminated.
Residents of Canterbury still advised to boil water prior to use, also to avoid recreational use of water as rivers have been affected with sewage.
Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council and Selwyn District Council currently still assessing damage in their own areas.
The Earthquake Commission has so far received approximately 2800 claims for damage to homes.
Hundreds of payphones in Christchurch are now free for local, national and mobile calls. Telecom says power outages and other damage has meant parts of the city are still without landlines.
A decision is expected soon on whether schools in the region will open tomorrow.
Mayor Bob Parker says no decision has been reached on whether inner city Christchurch business will be permitted to open tomorrow, as experts assess safety risks in the area.
Magnitude 4.1 aftershock hits 20km south-west of Christchurch. At least 47 aftershocks have been recorded over the weekend.
4.5 aftershock 20km west of Christchurch, 8km deep.
GNS seismologist John Ristau says structures weakened by the main earthquake could be brought down by the aftershocks which continue to affect Christchurch.
"It can be difficult to find all the active faults" Ristau told Newstalk ZB after it was revealed that a "hidden" faultline was the cause of yesterday's earthquake.
Ristau expects the aftershocks to die off as the week goes on.
Christchurch City Council says 50 extra search and rescue personnel will assist in the city.
Lines company Orion says some people in the region may not receive power until the end of the week.
Weather analyst Richard Green has told Newstalk ZB the Canterbury region is set to face norwesterly winds between 60 and 130 kilometres an hour.
Winds of up to 80 km/h have been measured near the epicentre of the earthquake in Darfield.
Aftershocks continued to rattle Christchurch overnight, with locals reporting tremors approximately every 30 minutes.
The Christchurch council said public access to the central city would remain restricted to residents only. People in the area have been advised to minimise their travel.
The council said it hoped to complete building assessments within the central city zone today.
The water supply is back on for at least 85 percent of the city's residents, however issues with the supply may still force evacuations in Avonside, New Brighton and Brooklands.
4.1 aftershock closer to Christchurch (20km south-west of the city), at a depth of 20kms.
More aftershocks - 4.2 at 7.41 (south east of Darfield); 4.2 at at 7.51 (20km west of the town).
3.7 magnitude quakes near Darfield at 7.11 and 7.31, 15km and 5km deep respectively.
4.5 aftershock 20 km south of Darfield, 15km deep.
Large 4.6 magnitude aftershock hits 20km south of Darfield at 5.17am, at 5km depth. Three minutes later is followed by 5.1 magnitude, 10km south of the town, depth 9kms
3.8 aftershock 20km east of Darfield,7km depth.
4.4 quake hits 10km south-west of Darfield at depth of 5km
3.9 magnitude aftershock 30km south-east of Darfield hit at 2.42am (5km depth); 4.0 aftershock at 4.08am, same area but 15km deep.
3.4 magnitude aftershock hits 10km east of Darfield at a depth of 7km.
3.2 aftershock 10km east of Darfield at a depth of 6km.
3.8 aftershock hits 'within 5km of Darfield' according to Geonet. Depth 8km.