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Lakes And Rivers Weather Warning Issued

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 1 NZPA - Holidaymakers and campers need to be aware of the risk of rising rivers and lakes after the MetService today issued a severe weather warning of more rain falling in the Waitaki lakes and river catchment area.

Approximately 100 to 150mm of rain may fall into the catchment from midnight until midday tomorrow.

Environment Canterbury, the regional council, said Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau were full and recent heavy rain in the catchment had led to spills down the Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau Rivers.

"The predicted rain will add to the continuation of the spillage from these lakes into the Lower Waitaki River system. Flows in these rivers are likely to increase through the following days," the council said.

As a result of the earlier high inflows in the upper catchment lake levels at Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki had reached capacity. "Water is being discharged at Benmore and Aviemore Dams. Currently, the Waitaki Dam is discharging at rate of 1600 to 1700 cumecs into the Lower Waitaki River," the council said.

"Lower Waitaki River flows may increase over the next few days depending on how much rain does fall into the catchment.

"Farmers, landowners, holidaymakers and campers adjacent to the Lower Waitaki River and the lakes need to be aware of the risk of rising rivers and lakes," the council said.

The MetService said a front was expected to move on to Fiordland overnight, preceded by moist northwesterlies and a band of heavy rain. The front was forecast to become slow moving over northern Fiordland tomorrow, then slump southward a little before moving north through Westland on Monday.

The largest rainfall accumulations were expected in the ranges of northern Fiordland and South Westland where 200 to 300mm was expected.

Heavy rain was also likely to spill over into the headwaters of Otago and the MacKenzie Basin where lake and river levels were still elevated following recent heavy rain. In these eastern areas, more than 150mm of rain could be expected on the Divide with around 100mm spreading 10km to the east.

"People in these areas are advised that rivers and streams are likely to rise quickly, including those in the east that feed from the Alps, and that surface flooding and slips are also possible," the MetService said.

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