INDEPENDENT NEWS

Canty rivers rise fast: 4.45 pm update

Published: Tue 14 Nov 2006 05:03 PM
Civil Defence on alert as Canty rivers rise fast: 4.45 pm update
Canterbury civil defence and emergency management staff are on standby and in places like Selwyn District, Arthurs Pass, staff are monitoring rising rivers and ensuring households are safe.
Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management group staff at Environment Canterbury and local civil defence staff in the districts with rivers feeding off the Main Divide are monitoring the situation closely.
One household has been evacuated in Arthurs Pass as a precautionary measure, says Civil Defence and Emergency Management Selwyn District Council manager Wilson Brown.
The road from Otira to Arthurs Pass is now closed with flooding and slips closing the main highway from Springfield to Arthur's Pass soon after lunch today.
"Residents are on standby in Arthur's Pass village but so far no homes have been touched by the rising Bealey River. The Bealey runs parallel to Arthurs Pass village and it has breached its first bank. One household close to the secondary stopbank has been evacuated as a precautionary measure but so far no properties have been inundated," Mr Brown said. "People in Arthur's Pass township are on standby and Civil Defence staff are maintaining a close watch on the river."
River summaries (at 4.15 pm today):
The Waimakariri River is estimated to reach its peak at the State Highway Bridge north of Christchurch, near Kaiapoi, before 3 am Wednesday morning. Currently the river only measures 200 cumecs at that point (the mean is 120 cumecs), although it has been estimated at around 2,300 cumecs closer to the Waimakariri Gorge at the Esk measuring site.
Yesterday at 2.30 pm the Esk site measured one metre, today it is at 8 metres, potentially a flood greater than a one-in-ten event. Earlier today, rainfall near the Main Divide was falling at the rate of 25-30 mls per hour , but that rate had slowed, said Environment Canterbury Flood Controller Tony Boyle.
The Waiau in North Canterbury has also sounded its "alarm" ie the levels are rising fast and it was measuring 320 cumecs at Marble Pt, the south side of Hanmer at 4.15 pm thisafternoon.
The Hurunui in North Canterbury is also rising fast, measuring 590 cumecs at Mandamus at 4.15 pm today (the mean is 50 cumecs).
The Waiau and Hurunui Rivers were still rising at 4.15 pm.
The Rakaia River in mid/central Canterbury is also rising and with the Rakaia
huts closer to the mouth on the south side, Selwyn District Council's Civil Defence and Emergency Management staff will be keeping a close eye on any people in the area and advising them to get to safer ground.
Rangitata River, Mid Canterbury: In the 12 hours to midday today (Nov 14) 220 mm of rain was recorded in the headwaters of the Rangitata River. At 2.00pm 402 cumecs was recorded at the gorge and the river is rising and may rise to approximately 1200 to 1500 cubic metres per second. At these levels there will be flooding to low-lying areas adjacent to the main branch and there is also a possibility that a flow could enter the south branch. It is estimated that the peak flow will reach the gorge at 6.00pm tonight and the coast at approximately 4.00am to 6.00am tomorrow morning, November 15.
People using the river and riverbed areas, particularly in the lower reaches near the coast, should be careful they are not trapped on islands cut off by rising river levels.
For further information on rivers, contact your district council and ask to speak to the Civil Defence and Emergency Management staff.
ECan website - flood alert on front page www.ecan.govt.nz or look at cumecs measurement http://www.ecan.govt.nz/Our+Environment/Water/Rivers/RiverFlows/river-flow-table.htm
ENDS

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