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Heavy rain causes flash flooding in Central Otago

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Flash flooding has completely knocked out the water supply to Roxburgh, with the district’s mayor unable to say whether the supply will be restored today.

The town was hit by heavy rain and thunder late yesterday afternoon and early evening, forcing civil defence to evacuate seven houses as a precaution. Those residents were allowed to return late last night after the flood peaked.

The small Otago town remains cut off this morning after silt-laden floodwaters surged through streets, forcing the evacuation of homes and sending large boulders spilling across roads. Up to 50mm of rain fell in just 30 minutes in a deluge that forced people from their homes – and trapped others – as the heavens opened above the southern fruit bowl.

This morning State Highway 8 between Millers Flat and Alexandra remained closed with no detour possible. Sections of the road remain underwater, with significant damage from slips and debris including a major wash out at Black Jacks Creek.

About 600 people are still without water and power. Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said the biggest concern was getting water to the township after the reservoir pipe was damaged.

Portaloos were being brought down to service the 600 people without toilets and a larger tanker was set up at the local fire station to provide drinking water. Cadogan said it was unclear when water or power services would be working again.

MetService has warned a further round of thunderstorms packed with hail and torrential rain expected across inland parts of the South Island – including Central Otago – and bottom half of the North Island later this afternoon.

MetService said a large swathe of the South Island from the Nelson Ranges down to Central Otago and the Southern Lakes could expect more thunderstorms laced with hail and torrential downpours this afternoon.

A severe thunderstorm threat also loomed for the bottom half of the North Island.

If your establishment is affected by the flooding, Restaurant Association has an Emergency Response Information Resource to help members make good, safe, sensible and practical decisions in the event of an emergency situation such as this.
View the document here.

We’ll keep you updated as more information comes to us.

27 November, latest news update here.

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