Most South Island roads that were closed by floods and slips have been re-opened as the storm that caused them slips away to the east of the North Island.

Sections of seven state highways in Canterbury and Otago remained closed this morning after the deluge on Friday and Saturday, and nine in Otago were subject to ice warnings.

However, the NZ Transport Agency said at mid-afternoon that only one of the storm closures remained in place - part of State Highway 88 on the northwestern side of Otago Harbour.

Earlier today

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Earlier today the agency said heavy rain in Canterbury and eastern Otago had eased. The deep low which had dumped heavy rain on those areas now lies east of the North Island and is expected to continue moving away to the east tonight.

In Timaru, where there was widespread flooding, the district council said it looked like a lovely day. However, precautionary notices to boil drinking water remained in force for a number of places in the district.

In Dunedin, the Civil Defence and Emergency Management organisation said on its Facebook page that SH88 from Maia to Roseneath on the northwestern side of Otago Harbour was closed by two slips.

"Residents in this area can get in and out using Upper Junction Rd. This road is only open to light vehicles; it is not suitable for trucks.

"NZ Transport Agency is working on the slips and hopes to reopen the road by the end of the day."

The Otago Regional Council said most river levels were dropping in the region, but flooding remained widespread.

"We know that people want to get back to their properties as quickly as possible. We aim to have initial assessments later this morning - each area has different circumstances.

"For example, on the Taieri it takes floodwater from the Maniototo up to 36 hours to reach Outram. Though the rain stops, the river will still be carrying a lot of water for some time."

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The regional council notes that the forecast is for settled weather today and tomorrow, with more rain and cold temperatures from Tuesday.

The roads carrying NZTA ice warnings today are:
• State highway 1 Waipahi-Balclutha
• SH86 Momona-Allanton
• SH90 Waikoikoi-Tapanui
• SH87 Mosgiel-Outram
• SH1 Pukerui-Waikouaiti
• SH1 Balclutha-Milton
• SH90 Mcnab-Waikoikoi
• SH90 Tapanui-Raes Junction
• SH83 Pukeuri-Omarama.

State highways that remain closed are:
• SH88 Maia-Sawyers Bay
• SH87 Kokonga-Kyeburn
• SH85 Kyeburn-Palmerston
• SH1 Pukeuri-Waitaki Bridge
• SH8 Raes Junction-Milton
• SH70 Waiau-Kaikoura, although Mt Lyford can still be reached via Waiau
• SH1 Rolleston-Rakaia

Christchurch medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey warned people to consider all water at properties that had been flooded as though it was contaminated.

"So wash your hands thoroughly after you've been in contact with floodwaters and mud/silt from inside your house."

Toilet flushing and other water disposal should be limited because the city's wastewater system was struggling to cope with the deluge and its ongoing stormwater run-off from the Port Hills.

Residents whose homes had been flooded should contact their insurer and take photos, Humphrey said.

"Do not move back into a damp house, particularly if you have young children/babies."

The Christchurch City Council said the following city roads are currently closed:

• Norwood St from Sandwich Rd to Eastern Tce
• Connal St from Garlands Rd to Barton St
• Opawa Rd from Ensors Rd to Clarendon Tce
• Opawa Rd from Clarendon Tce to Brougham St
• Avonside Dr from Gayhurst Rd to Wainoni Rd
• Retreat Rd from Avonside Dr to Gayhurst Rd
• Avonside Dr from Woodham Rd to Retreat Rd
• Gainsborough St from Sparks Rd to Wyn St
• Fairfield Tce from Ensors Rd to the no exit end
• Hendersons Rd from Cashmere Rd to Sparks Rd roundabout
• Cashmere Rd from Penruddock Rise to outside Oderings Garden Centre
Gilbert Place
• Ashgrove Tce
• Centaurus Rd from Whaka Tce to St Martins/Gamblins Rd
• Earnlea Tce from Colombo St to the end of the road.
• Cunmor Tce from Garlands Rd to Marshall St
• Clarendon Tce from Opawa Rd to Marshall St
• Richardson Tce from Wildberry St to Opawa Rd
• Ford Rd from Opawa Rd to Louisson Pl
• Avonside Dr from Torlesse Rd to Wainoni Rd
• Aynsley Tce from Centaurus Rd to Opawa Rd
• Fifield Tce from St Martins Rd to the end of the street.
• Waimea Tce from Colombo St to Birdwood Ave
• Hunter Tce from Malcolm Ave to the no exit sign
• Palatine Tce from Burnbrae St to Buxton Tce
• Eastern Tce from Waltham Rd to Birdwood Ave
• New Brighton Rd from Cresswell Ave to Lake Terrace Rd
• Riverlaw Tce from Ensors Rd to the no exit at the end of the road
• Dyers Pass Rd from the Sign of the Takahe to Governors Bay

The MetService recorded the following amounts of rainfall:
Christchurch
• 50mm on Friday
• 38.4mm on Saturday

Dunedin
• 66.2mm on Friday
• 61.8mm on Saturday

Timaru
• 35.8mm on Friday
• 1.2mm on Saturday


Rain has reportedly stopped in Christchurch but authorities are continuing to monitor flood-affected areas, with warnings still in place.

In the Christchurch council update at 5am residents were advised that the Heathcote River level remained high and would likely do so for some time.

"Significant amounts of rainfall in the hill catchments above the Heathcote River have led to Hendersons basin, Hoon Hay Valley basin, and Cashmere-Worsley Valley basin filling up," the council said.

"These storage areas will take several days to drain through the Heathcote River as they hold so much water."

Flooding may not drain as quickly due to high tides restricting water outflow, the council said.

"This means that roads along the Heathcote River are likely to remain flooded throughout Sunday. Water levels may rise and fall throughout the day as influenced by the tide."

A New Zealand Army truck drives through a flooded street in Christchurch. Photo / AP
A New Zealand Army truck drives through a flooded street in Christchurch. Photo / AP
Residents are rescued from their flooded homes in Christchurch after the Heathcote River broke its banks. Photo / AP
Residents are rescued from their flooded homes in Christchurch after the Heathcote River broke its banks. Photo / AP

In Southshore, the morning's high tide at 3.42am was lower than the previous three high tides.

Contractors in Southshore were monitoring tide levels but have not yet been required to operate emergency pumps. The next high tide is at 4.15pm.

The Christchurch Council also said residents were able to drink tap water, with the city's supply declared safe, but people were urged to limit their use. In Banks Peninsula communities, security of supply was being maintained by tankers where no bore supply is available.

"We are continuing to ask people to limit water use that produces wastewater, like flushing, washing and showering, while our wastewater pumps handle the increase in inflow. This applies to everyone in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula," the council said.

Two cars photographed deep in floodwater from the swollen Heathcote River near Eastern Terrace, Christchurch. Photo / AP
Two cars photographed deep in floodwater from the swollen Heathcote River near Eastern Terrace, Christchurch. Photo / AP

There were no new road closures overnight, but people are able to check Newsline for the latest road closures.

Motorists have been urged to stay well away from flooded roads.

"If it is essential for you to travel through water on the road, please drive carefully and slowly. Surges from cars into properties is a real concern," the council added.

The New Zealand Defence Force, police, fire crews, St John, Canterbury DHB, Ngai Tahu, the Red Cross and Civil Defence have all been deployed.

Those concerned or need help to evacuate can call the Council Call Centre on 0800 800 169.