Wet weekend for Southland

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Fire and Emergency crews were sent to pump water from a heavily flooded backyard on Marama Ave North, Otatara, last Sunday.

HEAVY rain caused surface flooding in parts of southern Southland on Sunday, particularly in Invercargill and Riverton, as paddocks were soaked and some roads closed.

However, the region was spared the much heavier impact of February’s river-related flooding, which hit northern Southland harder and was caused by heavy rain in the headwaters.

Emergency Management Southland group controller Angus McKay advised Southland residents to avoid unnecessary driving as it would push water from flooded streets into nearby houses.

The emergency co-ordination centre had been opened, and the rain had caused pooling at several properties in Invercargill and Riverton, and firefighters had pumped out water, Mr McKay said.

Several properties in Marama Ave North in Invercargill were affected by backyard flooding, and firefighters also pumped water from a property in Bainfield Rd.

Some coastal parts of Riverton, including Walker St, in Taramea Bay, where water reached knee height, were cordoned off yesterday.

Slips had occurred on Stewart Island and in the Catlins, and a ‘‘caution’’ warning and speed restrictions applied because of flooding on State Highway 1, between Edendale and Mataura, authorities said.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong, of Riverton, said the impact of yesterday’s surface flooding had been much less severe than during the February floods, but parts of Riverton had been significantly affected.

‘‘I went for a drive this morning— volunteer firefighters were out there and people are helping where they can,’’ he said.

The rain ‘‘fair came down’’ from about 9pm on Saturday.

He was hopeful the relatively warm conditions, lack of wind and the rain stopping would help with stock survival.

An agricultural consultant said some farm bridges had been washed out, and fencing damaged.

Federated Farmers Southland Provincial vice-president Bernadette Hunt said this flooding had been ‘‘totally different’’ from February’s.

Then the Mataura River had flooded, but in this case small streams and creeks had overflowed culverts, resulting in ‘‘much more localised’’ damage, Mrs Hunt said.

‘‘There’s definitely some impact south of Mataura,’’ she said.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said some roads had been affected and required caution but the kind of river-related flooding resulting from heavy rain in headwaters had not happened this time.

‘‘It’s more surface flooding.
‘‘Most of the rain has come from this local area.’’

‘‘That’s one thing about Southland — the sun always does shine eventually,’’ he said.

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