Weather causes havoc in South Island
Sat, 13 Oct 2012 6:00p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
The heavy rain and snow forecast for the South Island arrived later than expected today, but packed a punch when it hit, causing slips, flooding and road closures.
A landslide has blocked the Milford Rd, while on State Highway 6 between Hokitika and Hari Hari, the strong winds left the occupants of a campervan fearing for their lives. The wind was so strong, it blew their campervan just off the road. Its occupants were shaken, but managed to escape without injury after gusts of 120km/h whipped through the West Coast.
More than 150mm of rain has drenched the West Coast in the past 24 hours.
The heavy rain in Hokitika caused surface flooding and dramas for local farmers as creeks burst their banks, flooding more paddocks and access roads. But it provided a dramatic sight as Dorothy Falls flowed at full capacity.
Drenched livestock looked on in Murchinson as swollen creeks rushed past.
The Maitai River threatened to burst its banks in Nelson, which got surface flooding and more than 140mm of rain in just 12 hours.
In the Pelorus Valley, rivers burst their banks, flooding paddocks and a rugby field in Canvastown.
Further south, Milford Rd will be closed for several days after heavy rain caused a landslide, with some boulders weighing up to 200 tonnes damaging the tarseal.
Heavy snow fall at Porters Pass meant road-clearing graders were necessary for safe passage.
Even those tasked with clearing the roads needed chains when temperatures dropped below 2degC and snowfall built up to 10cm.
Drivers waiting further down the road were eventually told they weren't getting through without chains.
“Hopefully we don't need them too long when we get to the other side!” said Hokitika local Graham Bill.
Tourists made the most of an unfamiliar sight on Queenstown's Crown Range, but locals knew better than to make any further travel plans.
But tonight all of the snow-covered roads are open and traffic is beginning to move again.
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