State of emergency on the South Island’s east coast

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 pm, July 21st, 2017 - 22 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Environment - Tags: , ,

Civil Defence have declared states of emergency in Dunedin, Otago, Waitaki and Timaru and evacuations are happening in some areas. Keep safe folks.

Advice from TS commenter Sabine,

essentially if you live in an area that you might have to evacuate, have your survival bag (papers, cash, bank cards, photos, stuff) ready, have a 5-10 gasoline tin to take, have torches, have your animals chipped and registered, find out your nearest evac centre (good luck with that in AKL – as the civil defense will let people know where to go in case of – yeah, not making that up) and have a plan ready with your whanau on how to meet up should you all be in different parts of town due to work/school etc.
Also find out if there are shelters that will take pets, as a lot of time that is not allowed.
If you worry that you might not be at home at time of an emergency set up a system with locals to check on pets, but also to check on people who might be housebound.

From Stuff (8.30pm Fri)

  • Dunedin and Timaru and the Waitaki region have all declared a state of emergency.
  • The NZ Army has been called in to assist Civil Defence in Timaru.
  • South Cantabrians living near flood-prone areas have been urged to prepare for evacuation.
  • Homes in Ashburton were flooded on Friday morning.
  • A home in Oamaru was evacuated after rising floodwaters submerged streets and bridges.
  • Drivers were trapped in their cars in floodwaters near Rakaia in Canterbury.
  • Sandbags were being prepared in Ashburton and Dunedin to combat flooding.
  • Nearly 1000 properties lost power across Mid Canterbury in the storm early this afternoon.
  • The storm is expected to create “widespread disruption”, with Canterbury and Otago to cop the brunt of it.
  • The heaviest rainfalls are expected in Dunedin – up to 200mm over a 27-hour period. Parts of Canterbury could receive up to 180mm of rain before noon Saturday.
  • The flooding closed roads throughout Canterbury. A full list of up-to-date information on road conditions is available HERE.
  •  The New Zealand Transport Agency has closed SH1 between Palmerston and Waitati. It is also closed between Pukeuri in North Otago and Redruth, South Canterbury, due to flooding.
  • SH82 remains closed between Waimate and Kurow. The only highway connecting the Canterbury and Otago regions is SH8 between Twizel and Omarama. Chains are now essential on Lindis Pass.

RNZ overview (9pm Fri) and live coverage.

Updates (midnight Friday)

The Herald

Dunedin Civil Defence Emergency Management controller Sue Bidrose has said in a media conference that based on information available indicates “this will be one of the biggest floods on record on the Taieri [River]”.

It’s currently flowing about 1200 cubic metres per second, 100 cubic metres per second more than the level at which authorities usually open the flood gates.

Emergency services have evacuated homes near the river’s upper ponding area. 

“They’re just evacuating the last of the cattle and as soon as those cows are moved then they will be opening those flood gates,” Bidrose said.

Residents on Gordon Rd spillway have also been told to leave their houses.

Taieri flooding area map.

The increase in flow (cumecs) on the Taieri River, compared to past 7 days and last 180 days,

22 comments on “State of emergency on the South Island’s east coast”

  1. Nòt good. Be safe.

    • Fustercluck 1.1

      “survival bag (papers, cash, bank cards, photos, stuff) ready, have a 5-10 gasoline tin”

      Sort of a limited list. I’d suggest: Prescription drugs, warm clothing and bedding, a day or two’s supply of water & food, rain gear, a radio, cell phone. Move vegicle out of flood zone BEFORE you need to.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        stuff my friend.
        and frankly if you are being evacuated chances are that you can’t take bedding and food and stuff, as shelters only have so much space.

        your list works if you self evacuate and have a place to go.

        I would consider myself as a prepper, we have a generator, gas cooking facilities n all sorts o shit should armageddon hit tomorrow.

        however, when my mother in law got flooded in the last floods the most important tool at our disposal was a borrowed canoe. With the help of that canoe we managed to paddle onto the paddock and get her, hubby and the kid living there out of the second floor window and to safety at least for the time of a shower, washing and feeding. She stayed cause of her pets which she could not take to a shelter. The bloke who got us the canoe also rescued the tied up dog that was left behind by the neighbourgh. (he never came back to claim the dog and the property is so stuffed it has to be demolished)

        It depends really how much time you have, how fast the waters come – they got flooded within less then half an hour – roadworks/bridgeworks literally build a damn and then the river burst. Now way you gonna pack two days of food, n shit, by the time you are done your car is underwater. Oh, that was already done when they woke up to see that the house was 2 meters underwater. But she had her handbag with all vital paperwork, she had the pictures of her family, her fathers medals from the war, and some of the smaller wood/greenstone carvings from her husbands family. She lost a lot of stuff. All three cars were the first thing to go.

        So you really need to be differentiating as being evacuated by emergency services, one bag and stop, or if you are self evacuating. Two different scenarios.

  2. Sabine 2

    it’s going to be a long and cold night for some.

  3. exkiwiforces 4

    Should have seen the ABC news tonight, NZ disappeared under a mass of that white Stuff. Early I got a SMS from my folks saying got to Nelson only just via the Lewis pass and brother at Mayfield got his duck feet on.

    • Ad 4.1

      Great to hear those 300 Territorials in Dunedin getting in to it today.

      • exkiwiforces 4.1.1

        There would be a lot more Territorials called out if it wasn’t for pervious National, Labour and this current mob attitude towards the defence and rural NZ. For example the Nationals ECA of 1991 and the huge cuts to defence during that time almost wiped out the Territorials and since then a large number of TF Depots have close and units have merged or disbanded like NZ Scottish, 31 and 32 Battery all 3 were South Island TF units.
        Depots Closed under both National and Labour since 1991 in the South Island
        Central Battery in Dunedin across the Rd from the Beach Hotel and KAH is now the main depot in Dunedin
        Gore
        Balclutha
        Oamaru
        Ashburton
        Westport , note the Greymouth depot is open but for how long?
        And there is some doubt is to weather the Nelson depot will soon close as the land on which the Nelson depot sits on has been sold by the National government.

        The TF in rural NZ are the backbone for all rural townships Civil Defence emergency plans and the face of NZDF in rural NZ

  4. Carolyn_nth 5

    What can us northerners do to help?

  5. Jenny Kirk 6

    Climate change is here.

  6. Wow just watched a video of Taieri plains or series of lakes more like. Ive seen it bad down there and lived through it and this one is bad. Kia kaha.

  7. “Southland region appears to have escaped the heavy rain and flooding that has badly
    affected the Otago and Canterbury regions.

    Although the Mataura and Oreti Rivers reached broadcast levels during the night they
    have mostly peaked and the rain in the headwaters has eased. Environment Southland
    will continue to monitor the river levels in case of snow melt occurring.

    Emergency Management Otago have issued this update:

    4:50 am SATURDAY 22nd JULY 2017
    Update #5

    Over 200 properties have been evacuated across Otago overnight, with the majority
    being in the Dunedin City and its rural communities. All state highways across the
    region are closed and there are numerous local road closures. Steady rain is
    continuing to fall in Dunedin, where access to the Otago Peninsula is cut off by
    several major slips.

    Otago Group Controller Scott MacLean said conditions have eased in the Waitaki
    District, where four homes were evacuated in Oamaru last night and another four in
    Hilderthorpe.

    The major area of focus currently is Outram on the Taieri Plain near Dunedin, where
    around 100 homes have been evacuated and more householders have been warned to be
    prepared to evacuate if conditions change. Civil Defence teams are also going door
    to door in parts of Mosgiel to advise residents that surface flooding may cause more
    homes to be evacuated.

    Further south, the Clutha District Council activated its emergency operations centre
    last night after flooding affected a small number of properties in Milton, Lawrence
    and Waitahuna. Teams also sandbagged the shopping area in Lawrence and went door to
    door in low-lying parts of Milton, advising householders that they may need to
    evacuate if conditions worsen.

    Otago Regional Council flood managers are continuing to patrol and monitor rivers
    across the region. The biggest impact currently is on the Taieri River, where flood
    levels at Outram are at the second highest level ever recorded, at 1825 cumecs and
    the river was still rising at 4.30am.

    The Manuherikia River peaked at Ophir last night, at the fourth highest level on
    record. One property was evacuated from Oturehua.

    Other rivers which have stabilised and are now only rising slowly include the Silver
    Stream, Water of Leith and Lindsay Creek in Dunedin; and the Tokomairiro and
    Waitahuna Rivers in the Clutha District. The Waianakarua, Kakanui and Shag rivers in
    North Otago have peaked.

    Delta has advised that there are power outages in Berwick, Henley, Leith Valley, Mt
    Cargill, Swamp Summit, Maori Hill and Woodhaugh.”

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Wondered how you were getting on Robert. Now you are a councillor you can keep a close eye on all this with good info. I’m saying a prayer for you down there.
      If I have any influence it will help you all!

  8. Sabine 9

    gonna be a busy day for the volunteers.

    And don’t forget that while the volunteers come to help you their own house might be also under water.

    So if anything, people who want to do something, might go and join the voluntary forces of NZ?

  9. weka 10

    Not surprisingly there are multiple slips on the Otago Peninsula’s Bay Rd (Mac Bay, Broad Bay, Harwood, Harrington Pt).

    There’s also a slip at St Clair that’s led to some households being evacuated.

    Slips are going to be one of NZ’s bigger challenges going forward, from rain fall events (and quakes). Think of all the low lying coastal roads and rail lines as well as all the roads built through hillsides/cuttings or along steep slopes.

    The road at Mac Bay in Dunedin is underwater right now, which I’m guessing a combination of rain and tide. That’s what sea level rise looks like too, not in 30 years, but right now.

    • weka 10.1

      Dunedin Emergency‏ @DnEmergency 5h5 hours ago

      We’ve run out of flooded signs. Please drive with caution. Not every area with flooding is signposted. We are looking to source more signs.

    • marty mars 10.2

      Yep tomorrow is today. We are living in it now! It is happening now! Let’s hope enough people realise the truth of the situation.

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