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Rangitata River rises as heavy rain continues

January 1, 2013
MEDIA STATEMENT

Rangitata River rises as heavy rain continues

Persistent heavy rain in the Southern Alps is causing the Rangitata River to rise rapidly, prompting a warning for people near the river to take extreme care.

Environment Canterbury’s Timaru-based Flood Controller, Tony Henderson, said today (TUES) that flows in the Rangitata had begun to rise this afternoon and were predicted to continue to do so overnight. Rain had been falling since 9pm last night and was predicted to continue until tomorrow (WED) night.

“The Rangitata River normally runs at less than 100 cumecs at this time of year but by late this afternoon it was at 180 cumecs and still rising,” Mr Henderson said.

“We’ve been in contact with farmers near the river who have already, or are now moving stock to higher ground. But our special concern is for holidaymakers, especially those from outside our region. They may not realise that even though it is not raining on the plains or along the coast that the Rangitata can rise quickly because of the amount of rain falling in the headwaters.”

“We advise everyone to take extreme care and to stay away from the river bed as the Meteorological Service is predicting that a further 150mm-200mm will fall up until about 9pm Wednesday night. This will result is very strong flows in the river.”

Since about 9pm on Monday night until 4pm today (TUES)about 121mm of rain had fallen in the upper Rangitata River catchment. This follows 100mm of rain three days ago which saw the Rangitata peak at about 300cumecs before dropping back to about 160cumecs before the latest fall.

The Waitaki River, which was also being monitored by Environment Canterbury, is not currently causing concern as the Pukaki and Ohau lakes were absorbing the flow at present. However this catchment was also being monitored due to the continued predictions of heavy rain in the Southern Alps.

ENDS

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