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ORC staff on active alert for potential floods

14 August 2012, 1200 hours

ORC staff on active alert for potential floods

A potential flood risk still exists in coastal Otago due to persistent heavy rain.

Today’s MetService forecast for Dunedin and North Otago predicts 50-70mm of rain in the 21 hours from 9am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday. Rainfall rates of up to 5-7mm per hour are likely, although heavier intensities may occur in some localised areas.

ORC duty flood manager Mike Goldsmith said the Silver Stream has dropped to about 15 cumecs, after peaking at 51 cumecs overnight. This is well below the level at which it begins to spill over the Gordon Road spillway. However, council staff will monitor Silver Stream flows closely over the next few days.

The Taieri River at Outram was steady at just under 200 cumecs at 11am, and is expected to remain at a similar level for the next 12-15 hours as floodwaters continue to make their way down from the upper Taieri catchment.

It is not expected that water will spill into the upper Taieri ponding area, although council staff will continue to monitor flows in the Taieri River over the coming days.

In Dunedin, the Water of Leith was rising steadily and had reached 30 cumecs at 11:30am. The first flood warning level for the Leith is 55 cumecs, and there is potential for break-out from the main channel when flow exceeds around 100 cumecs.

Rivers in North Otago are also higher than normal due to the persistent rainfall over the last few days, although only the Shag River is currently above its first flood alarm of 30 cumecs. It is expected however, that the Shag, Kakanui and Waianakarua Rivers will rise further as additional rainfall occurs during today and Wednesday.

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ORC is continuing to advise those living in low-lying areas to keep a close watch on river flows and surface flooding.

“As the ground has been heavily saturated from the sustained rainfall over the past few days, river flows can change quite quickly, and everyone needs to be vigilant and keep a close eye on river levels,” Mr Goldsmith said.

River level and rainfall information can be checked on the ORC water info webpage www.orc.govt.nz/waterinfo or by phoning 0800 426 463

ENDS

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