Roxburgh residents who were evacuated from their homes due to flooding earlier this evening have all returned home as water is receding in the town.

The town is still cut off entirely from the South with slips on State Highway 8 and Teviot Rd.

Police are advising motorists to avoid the area.

The Central Otago District Council has issued a boil water notice for Roxburgh following a water pipe blow-out. They are also asking residents in the area to conserve their water use overnight.

Advertisement

Roxburgh main street. Please stay home and let the Highway people and Council work with our contractors to sort this...

Posted by Central Otago District Council on Saturday, 25 November 2017

Earlier tonight seven homes on Tweed Street were evacuated as a precaution.

Any residents in the area that have concerns for their safety are being advised to report to the evacuation area at Roxburgh Fire Station or to contact emergency services.

Police say motorists should avoid the area as multiple slips and flash flooding have blocked roads in and out of the small township, which is on the banks of the Clutha River.

People wishing to travel to Central Otago from the south will need to consider travelling via State Highway 87 and 85, or State Highway 6 from Southland.

The MetService earlier today warned of potentially severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and hail in inland areas of both islands after a two-week dry spell.

Heavy downpours caught Roxburgh locals by surprise this afternoon, as a MetService weather station recorded almost 30mm of rain in one hour and a temperature plummet of 5C.

The Fiordland Lakes, Central Otago and the MacKenzie Basin were in line for the worst weather, with rainfall intensities up to 40mm per hour risking surface and flash flooding and slips.

A severe thunderstorm watch also been issued for Taupo, Taihape, Hawke's Bay, Whanganui and the Manawatu.

Advertisement

The Gisborne ranges to inland Taranaki and across to the Tararua Range are also at a low risk of thunderstorms.

The MetService said a high had sat over the country for more than a fortnight, and the air was progressively picking up moisture and increasing humidity levels.

Yesterday afternoon thunderstorms hit central Otago and northern Southland regions, with Manapouri receiving 20.8mm of rain - the highest weekly rainfall of any New Zealand town.

The only larger centres to receive more than a millimetre of precipitation in all of the past seven days were Napier and Gisborne, which saw 14.2mm and 4.6mm at the start of the week.

The warm weather has brought water temperatures well above average for this time of year, Niwa says.

- with Otago Daily Times