Severe weather warnings for the Southern Alps has prompted Environment Canterbury to warn holidaymakers and locals to keep a close watch on river and lake levels.
Up to 400mm of rainfall is expected along the Alpine Divide today through until Wednesday evening; with the heaviest fall expected at the Canterbury headwaters from Tuesday afternoon.
This will cause the major alpine rivers of Canterbury to rise quickly to potentially dangerous levels.
People are strongly advised to stay well clear of the beds of these rivers until the weekend. Even with the rain predicted to fall mostly in the mountains, it is still vitally important that people on the plains also stay alert, even if the weather is fine, as the rivers can still become unsafe as flood waters travels rapidly downstream.
People should listen to local radio stations for updates, and if they have internet access visit Environment Canterbury’s website www.ecan.govt.nz for flood warning updates.
Environment Canterbury staff are monitoring river and lake levels and will continue to do so until the threat of flooding had passed. There will be an update on the situation at 10am Wednesday, 2 January 2013 at the latest.