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Short sharp event caused rivers to rise rapidly

Short sharp event caused rivers to rise rapidly

With a particularly intense period of rainfall yesterday afternoon, the rain event of the last couple of days was short and sharp, causing most of the rivers in Otago to rise rapidly.

The Regional Council was well prepared for the weather event, with Operations and Engineering staff in the field in the 48 hours prior checking ORC pump stations, and ensuring flood and drainage scheme culverts and outfalls were clear. River mouths along the coast were checked and cleared where necessary.

In Dunedin, the Water of Leith and the Lindsay Creek peaked mid-afternoon yesterday. ORC Leith siteworks on University campus were well prepared for the high flows.

On the Taieri, the Silver Stream rose rapidly, peaking around 57pm last night, but didn’t reach the higher end of the predicted range; the Taieri River continued to rise overnight and peaked late morning today.

Elsewhere in Otago, the Pomahaka River reached flood warning levels, peaking around 9pm; a flood warning remains in place. The Kakanui River rose rapidly yesterday afternoon but didn’t cause any significant flooding.

As the surplus water makes its way down towards the sea, the Clutha River at Balclutha is likely to rise in the coming days, but flooding is not expected.

Gavin Palmer, Regional Council Director Engineering, Hazards and Science, said
“A short, sharp event like this can escalate rapidly. Fortunately, we’ve seen relatively minimal impacts overall. Our staff were well-prepared and our infrastructure functioned as expected, which is reassuring in terms of our preparedness levels”

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