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Wild weather continues in Canterbury

Wednesday 5 Mar 2014 6:19 a.m.

Motorists are advised to drive with extreme care as flooding causes havoc in Christchurch.

A blanket warning has not been issued, but travel should be avoided on the city's roads if possible, Acting Canterbury Road Policing Manager Inspector Glenn Nalder says.

"People should check with their places of work and other commitments and if they do not need to travel then please - stay off the roads.

"If people are driving then extreme care is necessary."

Insp Nalder says drivers should slow down, increase following distances and be aware that "journeys will take a lot longer today in the current conditions".

Many schools in Christchurch are closed today, with others to open late, as the city continues to face wet and windy weather.

Thousands remain without power and the rough weather has forced some people from their homes due to flooding.

The conditions are also making it tough for lines company Orion to make repairs.

Southern fire commander Andrew Norris says the heavy rain has caused widespread problems.

"We've had issues with both the Avon and Heathcote rivers [and] we've had flooding around Hulverstone Drive last night, around the high tide period," he said.

"The fire service from New Brighton Station assisted with the evacuation of several properties, probably some of the few remaining occupied properties on Hulverstone Drive."

The fire service has had more than 300 callouts in the last 24 hours, mainly for flooding-related issues – but say there's not a lot they can do about the flooding, so they're concentrating on assisting the elderly.

Civil Defence has been sandbagging homes and securing roofs, and the council has been helping out in the lower-lying areas of the city.

Lyttelton resident Adrienne Thompson says her home is now surrounded by water and does not think she can make it out to her car.

"Water has come absolutely pouring in off the streets so everything is just mud and rocks."

Meteorologist Paul Mallinson says between 50mm and 100mm of rain was expected in some parts while winds were also very high. Winds in Lytellton and Kaikoura reached around 130km/h.

The wind isn't as strong today as it was yesterday, but the rain is continuing. It's expected to ease off later this morning, but there's no sign of that yet.

Police are urging motorists in the Christchurch to drive to the conditions and say there are several road closures, which are not to be ignored.

Severe weather or flooding in your area? Send your photos to noles@tv3.co.nz.

Christchurch school closures:

  • Avonside Girls' High School - closed 
  • Ferndale School - closed
  • Linwood College - closed
  • Mairehau High School - closed
  • Phillipstown School - opening at 11am
  • Riccarton High School - opening at 11am
  • Rudolph Steiner School - closed
  • Shirley Boys High School - closed
  • Shirley Intermediate - closed
  • Shirley Primary School - closed

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