With heavy rain and snow forecast to continue falling over parts of Canterbury, parents are being advised to keep in touch with their local school or early learning services in case flooding or heavy snow forces schools or early learning centres to close.

Snow and flooding today closed five Canterbury schools - Windwhistle, Glentunnel, Southbridge, View Hill and Lauriston - while Oxford Area School and North Loburn School advised parents to pick their children up early.

Given the severe wet weather and snow is forecast to continue over night other closures are possible on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Education says the best information will come from schools and early learning services themselves as they make decisions in the morning.

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Parents are advised to check school or early childhood service websites or Facebook pages or contact them directly.

MetService says stations in Akaroa and Methven have seen over 100mm of rain in last 24 hours.

Torrential rain has forced the closure of the main route between Christchurch and Akaroa, which will remain cut off till tomorrow.

The Canterbury area has been saturated by heavy downpours today, with a month of rain falling in just 12 hours.

The drenching caused flooding, slips and closed schools, with army personnel put on alert to assist.

Due to flooding, State Highway 75 Little River to Tai Tapu has been closed overnight, and is expected to remain shut till at least tomorrow morning.