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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ Aug.18, 2022 @acebreakingnews
#AceWeatherDesk – Hundreds of South Island residents have been evacuated and are waiting to learn the severity of flood damage to their homes as New Zealand’s big winter wet continues.
Rivers, houses and roads were flooded, forcing roughly 200 households to evacuate, local media are reporting.
An “atmospheric river” from the north — as described by forecasters MetService — has brought widespread rains to the country this week.
The worst-hit city so far is Nelson, where rainfall has destroyed roads and a state of emergency has been declared.
Authorities ordered 233 homes in Nelson East to evacuate overnight as the Maitai River swelled.
Media footage from the region showed flooded rivers, water washing over roads and teams using rescue boats to check on flooded areas.
Metservice said that mountain ranges in the west and north of the South Island could receive up to 500 mm of rain between Wednesday and Friday.
The latest storms follow weeks of unseasonably wet weather to hit New Zealand.
There are currently severe weather warnings in place for parts of the South Island, while the North Island is also experiencing bad weather.
Returning to inspect her property on Thursday afternoon, resident Maggie Grey told Radio NZ there was an inch-thick sludge in her home.
“I don’t know what to expect given the weather isn’t over yet,” she said, with other homes on her street appearing worse-off.
On Tuesday, MetService issued a rare red warning, saved for the most damaging weather events, for Buller and Westland on the west coast of the South Island.
They added the Nelson region to the list late on Wednesday, warning of worse rain to come.
Floods a ‘one-in-100-year event’, Nelson mayor says
Nelson is one of the sunniest regions of New Zealand, receiving an average of 960mm of rainfall each year.
It was soaked by 89mm on Wednesday alone, with predictions of 200mm more this week.
The city’s mayor, Rachel Reese, described the flash flooding as a “one-in-100-year event” as search and rescue teams, plus military personnel, helped people on submerged streets.
In the often-soaked Westport, which received 70mm on Wednesday, about 160 households were encouraged to “self-evacuate as a precaution” by the civil defence.
Another front is due to arrive on Friday.
“This is a chance to take a breath and set ourselves up for what comes next … don’t get rid of those sandbags yet!” Buller Emergency Management posted on Facebook.
The system has also brought heavy rain and savage winds to Northland, north of Auckland, where flooding has closed State Highway 1.
The regional capital of Whangarei, as well as Auckland, had their warmest August nights on record on Wednesday night.
Under La Niña conditions, climate agency NIWA said last month was New Zealand’s wettest July on record.
Christchurch suffered its wettest month on record, with three major downpours bringing floods and about six months’ average rainfall to the Garden City.
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