A flash flood from a swollen creek rushed into a West Coast business “like a tsunami”.
Sue Roper, owner of Pink Possum Quilting shop on State Highway 6 between Runanga and Greymouth, said Coal Creek burst its banks and flooded the shop up to 500 millimeters.
MetService issued an amber warning for heavy rain for Tasman west of Motueka, Buller, Westland and Fiordland between Wednesday and Friday.
Roper said heavy rain overnight caused Coal Creek to swell to a level she had never seen before.
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Her husband arrived at the store at 9 a.m. on Thursday, but only 15 minutes later called her, concerned about the rising waters.
“He said the water was coming through the road he had never seen before. It started flowing down the road like a tsunami. He said ‘the water is coming, you better get your shop up’ .
She arrived at the store soon after, but it was too late to move her wares higher.
“At 9:30 a.m., he arrived in the store. Usually the creek rises slowly, but this time it poured out so fast,” Roper said.
“It came within half a yard. There is mud and water everywhere,” she said.
Power has been restored in Queenstown after a lightning strike caused widespread power outages.
MetService issued a heavy rain watch for Queenstown until 9 p.m. Thursday, with heavy rain and thunderstorms expected in the morning.
The weather was expected to clear for a while, but return later in the afternoon.
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Lines company Aurora Energy reported that a lightning strike knocked out power to customers in Queenstown, Frankton, Glenorchy and parts of Arrowtown just after 7am.
It included Queenstown Airport, the Lakes District Hospital, homes, Queenstown’s central business district and industrial areas, the Remarkables ski area and the Skyline gondola.
Aurora had successfully restored power to all affected homes and businesses by 10:30 a.m.
Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said Aurora handled it beautifully.
“A huge lightning struck the substation at 7am. I was just putting my toast in the toaster.
“Aurora was in constant contact until power was restored. Gas stations were having issues and traffic lights were out and so on, but we live in an alpine region and these things are going to happen from time to time. in time.
The rain also affected the district’s road network. The Queenstown Lakes District Council said Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd was closed at Boundary Creek due to a culvert washout.
“Council contractors are evaluating the best way to make it workable.
“Heavy rain could well cause further slips and hazards on the roads around the district. Please surrender to the conditions and expect the unexpected.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the South Island, Christchurch hit an ‘incredibly unusual’ high of 27C on Thursday – but still a few degrees away from beating its record set last year.
The city recorded an all-time high of 29.9C over Easter weekend last year – well above its April average of 17C.
Stop/go traffic management is also in place on SH94 at Lake Gunn, between Te Anau and Milford, due to a slide.
Waka Kotahi warned that strong winds could be expected on the east coast and across alpine passes as well, so high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists should take particular care.
Flooding had been reported on SH67 from Fairfown to Waimangaroa north of Westport, on SH6 south of Westport to Punakaiki and east of Westport to Inangahua. Road closures were possible for short periods or roads could be reduced to one lane in places until the water subsided.
Deep flooding was reported in Coal Creek, north of Greymouth, on Thursday morning, but the water level dropped rapidly.
SH7 near Dobson was reduced to one lane due to flooding, and some roads run by the local council were also affected by flooding east of Greymouth.
“There is a MetService amber warning for much of the west coast and around Nelson, so drivers should pay attention and be prepared for conditions,” said Waka Kotahi trip manager Tresca Forrester.
“Particularly with the Anzac Weekend ahead, we know a lot of people and families will be traveling, so check the Waka Kotahi traffic and travel page and the MetService warnings page before you go.
“Please be very careful, drive according to weather conditions and be aware that heavy rain can make driving very dangerous – stop for a break if in doubt.”
Gray District Council advised Taylorville Rd was closed between Taylorville and Blackball, near Greymouth, due to a landslide on Thursday morning, but reopened at 11.40am.
Residents of Stillwater and the Wallsend area were without water due to a slip on SH7 which broke a water main.
Gray District Mayor Tania Gibson said she hoped contractors could repair the water main in Stillwater on Friday morning. In the meantime, the council had sent a 30,000 liter water tanker to supply the affected residents.
Waka Kotahi’s senior network manager, Colin Hey, said the expressway was open to one lane.
It was likely to remain on one lane over the weekend while work on the slipway was underway.