21 Feb 2018

A state of emergency has been lifted for Christchurch City.

Wednesday, 2pm:

The Christchurch Emergency Operations Centre has been closed and weather conditions across the city and Banks Peninsula are improving. This will be the last update on ex Cyclone Gita.

Please continue to take care on the roads as there may still be some surface flooding in places.

Wednesday, 11am:

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has lifted the state of local emergency.

The decision was made at 11am after the morning high tide passed with no major flooding issues in the city.

However, water remains on several roads and motorists are advised to take care.

"I felt it was important to make the initial declaration because the worst of the storm was expected to hit overnight," the Mayor says.

"I was concerned that people could be struggling to deal with flooding in the dark. We were lucky this time."

Wednesday, 11am: One of the scaffold gantries on the New Brighton Pier has broken loose following the high tide and large waves.

Staff have removed scaffolding boards and wound down operations on the pier deck as a precaution

There is likely to be debris near the beach that poses a potential hazard to surfers.

A swell hits New Brighton Pier.

One of the scaffold gantries on the New Brighton Pier broke loose in the storm.

Wednesday, 9.10am:

Contractors continue to monitor New Brighton Road, with high tide due. Warning signs will be placed as needed.

A contractor is also dealing with a fallen tree in Gebbies Pass.

MetService has forecast that the rain and south-westerlies will ease this afternoon.

Wednesday, 8.15am:

The NZ Transport Agency urges everyone to take care around road crews today, expect delays, and avoid travel unless necessary on flooded roads with the clean-up under way.

Access to Kaikoura has been re-established with Route 70 via Waipara and Waiau reopening at 7am today. Drivers need to take care and expect a slow journey with crews working on the road.

 Wednesday, 7.40am:

Council staff and contractors continue to monitor the weather conditions and high tide, which is due at 9.30am and about an hour later in the Woolston Cut area.

Some flooding is expected on roads in New Brighton. Roading contractors will be regularly checking areas and putting up signs as required.

Motorists are reminded to take care on city and Banks Peninsula roads. There may have been slips and fallen trees overnight, particularly in rural areas. 

Wednesday, 6.30am:

Christchurch appears to have escaped the worst of ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita after the cyclone split and tracked further south than predicted.

The rainfall in the city was half the forecast figure. Fortunately, there was little wind.

Some of the eastern bays on Banks Peninsula did receive higher rainfall and wind.

The rain is expected to ease this morning.

There was flooding around the city and signage was placed at 28 sites.

Three roads remain closed – Clarendon Terrace, Owles Terrace and part of New Brighton Road (between Pages Road and Baker Street).

No houses were flooded overnight, but one business premises in Edgeware Road did have water lapping around its entrance.

There were no breaches along the rivers.

The Council identified vulnerable residents in known flood areas before the storm hit. These people were visited last night to check they were all right.

Council staff were in known flood areas overnight to act as liaisons for residents.

The situation will be revised this morning.

Wednesday, 6.05am:

There have been several wastewater overflows along the Heathcote and Avon rivers, as well as Akaroa. Please avoid contact with flood waters, and if you do come into contact with them make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, and change out of any wet clothes. 

The  Civil Defence Centre at the Pioneer Sport and Recreation Centre will be closed from 7am. 9 people stayed overnight.

Wednesday, 12.05am:

Christchurch received about 50 per cent less rain on Tuesday night than forecast and high tide has passed without any major incidents. There are no reports of any properties in Christchurch flooding above floor level.

Nine people are being looked after at the Civil Defence Centre at Pioneer.  All nine are tourists. The Civil Defence Centre will close by 9am Wednesday morning.

The city is expected to get steady rain over the next seven hours but it is not expected to cause any major problems.

The Council will be monitoring the situation overnight and will respond as necessary. High tide is due again about 9.30am.

Christchurch's wastewater system is likely to be under pressure during this morning's peak as everyone prepares for work and school. Please delay washing the dishes or clothes until Wednesday evening or Thursday morning and if you have to shower, keep the shower short.

There is likely to be some surface flooding on the roads in the morning so people heading into work should take care and keep their speeds down.

Parents are advised to check with their school about whether they intend to be open.

Residents whose wheelie bins are normally emptied on a Wednesday should put their bins out as usual, before 6am in the morning.

Tuesday, 10.50pm:

Rainfall in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula tonight has been significantly lower than forecast. We are still monitoring the effects of the high tide and will bring you more information as it comes to hand.

Tuesday, 10pm:

The Civil Defence Centre set up at the Pioneer Sport and Recreation Centre is providing assistance to seven people, all of them tourists.

Tuesday, 8.20pm:

The Dudley Creek bypass is in operation and is helping to divert floodwaters away from Flockton properties.

Christchurch's wastewater system is coming under pressure due to infiltration and inflow from the rain during the storm. The system will be under the most pressure during tomorrow morning's peak as people prepare for work and school. Please delay washing the dishes or clothes until Wednesday evening or Thursday morning and if you have to shower, keep the shower short.

Tuesday, 7.10pm:

The Selwyn District Council has also declared a Local State of Emergency.

The Dudley Creek bypass.

The Dudley Creek bypass is helping divert floodwaters away from the Flockton area.

Tuesday, 6.45pm:

Very heavy rainfall is expected across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula between now and midnight. Forecasts suggest we could get as much rain over the next three to four hours as we have had all day. These heavy falls will coincide with the high tide and are likely to cause flooding.

Tuesday, 5.35pm:

People self-evacuating are encouraged to stay with friends and family if possible. A Civil Defence Centre will be open from 8pm at the Pioneer Sport and Recreation Centre for anyone who needs assistance. An animal welfare officer will be on hand to assist people with their pets if they need to bring them with them.

Tuesday, 5.25pm:

A number of the highways across the South Island are closed due to the storm. If you are planning on travelling, check the NZTA website(external link).

Whether schools in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula open tomorrow is up to the individual school. Please contact your school directly to find out if they will be open.

Tuesday, 5.20pm:

Environment Canterbury’s flood controllers are closely monitoring rainfall and changing river flow conditions. If the amount of forecast rainfall eventuates, this storm has the potential to affect many of Canterbury’s rivers with peak flows expected overnight Tuesday and Wednesday morning. You can find the latest information on river levels and flood warnings on ECan's website.(external link)

The following health advice has been provided from the Community and Public Health Division of Canterbury District Health Board.

Contaminated flood waters

  • Avoid contact with flood waters if you can and assume they will be contaminated by sewage.
  • There is also a danger of injury from floating objects and hazards hidden below the surface. If power lines are down there will be danger of electrocution.
  • If you do come into contact with flood waters, change out of any wet clothes and shoes and put them aside to be washed later. 
  • Wash skin that has come into contact with flood waters, and wash your hands as soon as you reasonably can - or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. 
  • Minimise the amount of water entering the wastewater system by avoiding high consumption activities such as taking baths or using washing machines. Don’t however, skimp on flushing toilets and washing hands.

Drinking water

  • If you are on mains water, check your District or City Council website for advice on water use. They will be the first to know if there are issues with the supply. 
  • If you don’t have mains water (ie water that comes from a spring, river, roof or well) and you think it has been affected by flood waters or heavier than usual rainfall, don’t use it for drinking purposes. If it appears clear but you are still unsure, it can be made safe by boiling or adding bleach as per advice below. 
  • Water tanks that were filled before the heavy rain and have not pumped new water from a ground supply (spring, stream/river or well) can be used as normal. 
  • If in any doubt about your water supply, boil or treat it before consumption. This includes all water to be used for drinking, brushing teeth or for use in food preparation (such as washing vegetables):
  • Bringing water to a rolling boil is sufficient to kill bugs.
  • If you cannot boil water, treat it by adding 1 teaspoon of household bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes.

Food

  • If you lose power at any stage, avoid opening your fridge and freezers unnecessarily. If frozen food has been defrosted but has been kept chilled, it should be used as soon as possible - as if it had been bought fresh.
  • Do not refreeze high risk items such as meat, fish and poultry. If you think these high risk items may have been at room temperature for two or more hours, do not eat them – if in doubt, throw it out.
  • Any foodstuffs which were not stored in a waterproof container and anything in bottles and jars with crown caps that ends up under flood water should be discarded.

General health and wellbeing

  • Continue to check on neighbours and vulnerable people near where you live as long as the disruption caused by the weather lasts. Check they have supplies, including their medications, and share with them the advice on water and food safety
  • If you need to see a GP and have trouble getting there, phone them for advice. Even if they are closed your call will be answered by a nurse who can advise you on what to do. 
  • In an emergency, always ring 111. 
  • If you require essential prescription medications and your supply is running low, call your normal GP number for advice.

Tuesday, 4.50pm:

If you are in a flood-prone area and are considering using sandbags to protect your property, please check here for information(external link).

Tuesday, 2.45pm:

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has declared a State of Emergency for Christchurch City, which includes Banks Peninsula, due to the impacts of ex-tropical Cyclone Gita.

Latest forecasts show the region is set for heavy rain and high winds, with potentially serious impacts. Banks Peninsula is expected to bear the brunt of the storm.

The declaration highlights the severity of the potential impacts of the weather, and gives people early warning to prepare.

“The full impact of the storm will be felt overnight and tomorrow morning. We are expecting homes to be flooded. If you are in a flood-prone area, particularly if your home was flooded, or close to flooding, in the July storm last year, you should consider evacuation before the worst of the storm hits tonight,” Mayor Dalziel says.

“We think it’s better people make preparations while it is still light, and ahead of road closures, to allow them to get out if they wish.

“Part of Clarendon Terrace has been closed already, and we expect further streets to close over the course of the afternoon and evening. These will not reopen until the risk of flooding has gone.”

Given the storm could cause flooding, slips and fallen trees on Banks Peninsula, the Council is urging people in rural areas to stay off the road, particularly after dark. Farmers should move stock from low-lying areas and creeks prone to flooding. Peninsula residents working in the city should consider going home early.

People in low-lying areas should move valuable possessions up high, and move cars to higher ground.

“This is an unpredictable weather event. We want people to be as prepared as they can be,” the Mayor says.

Rolling updates including the latest road closures can be found at www.ccc.govt.nz/newsline(external link) and the Council’s Facebook page. Check out MetService(external link) for the latest forecasts.

Anyone concerned should call the Customer Contact Centre on 03 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.

Tuesday, 12.35:

People who live in low-lying areas whose homes have flooded in the past should be prepared to self-evacuate this afternoon.

If there is an evacuation, the Council will open up Pioneer Stadium for people leaving their homes. If your street is prone to flooding, please make a decision on whether you want to leave before the water gets too high.

Tuesday, 12.30:

Kerbside collection will proceed as normal.

However, don't put your bins out the night before as high winds can blow bins over and spread rubbish. Put your bins out in the morning by 6am.

If your street is closed because of flooding, it is unlikely your bin will be emptied until the trucks can gain access. If you feel it is unsafe to leave your bin at the kerbside, please do not put your bin out.

You can later contact the Council and advise that you have been unable to leave your bin at the kerb. 

Tuesday, 12.05pm:

Air New Zealand has cancelled flights in and out of Wellington from 2pm. Additional services will be available tomorrow.

There will also be disruptions to Hokitika, Nelson, New Plymouth and Queenstown services today.

Tuesday, 11.15am:

The Christchurch City Council has deployed temporary pumps, including a new site on the south-east side of Sparks Road, which should reduce the risk of flooding in the Marion Street area.

Contractors continue to check the storm water network and stopbanks across the city.

Clarendon Tce, Opawa today.

Clarendon Tce, Opawa today.

Civil Defence staff yesterday visited homes along the Heathcote River to help people prepare for the storm, and identify vulnerable residents who might need help in the event of an evacuation.

Information leaflets were also delivered to the riverside homes that might be affected.

The Council reminds motorists not to drive through floodwaters and to avoid any flooded areas so that water is not pushed onto residents' properties.

With the worst of the weather impact due just on nightfall, people area advised to avoid unnecessary travel after dark, particularly on Banks Peninsula.

Any roads closed tonight will likely remain closed tomorrow morning ahead of the second hit of weather and high tide, and to allow for a debris clean-up. Please adhere to all road closure signage.

Council contractors may not be able to check every grate in the city so residents are asked to monitor the grates outside their property to ensure they are clear of leaves and other debris.

Waste water overflows are likely, so treat all floodwater as contaminated.

Remember to check that outside items and furniture are secure or stored, and check-in on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

Kerbside collections will continue as normal this week.

However, the Council urges residents to check that the bin lids are closed flat to avoid rubbish being spread around the area.

If your collection day is Wednesday, please wait until the morning to put out your bin and do not leave it out the previous night. All bins must be out by 6am.

To free up the Council’s Contact Centre to respond to weather-related queries, please hold off sending through forms and emails about non-urgent Council matters until the weather situation has improved.

Tuesday, 11.10am:

At this stage, the Council expects flooding at low points and around low-lying river areas, and flooding where any blockages occur.

It expects that streets around low-lying river areas will need to be closed later today. There is also a risk that low-lying homes along the Heathcote River could flood.

Wind gusts could reach 90kmh in Christchurch City, and more than 120kmh on Banks Peninsula.

In combination, the forecast wind and rainfall brings a risk of slips in hill areas, and fallen trees.

The high tides are not King Tides. At this stage, the Council is not expecting any inundation in Southshore, particularly with the temporary stopbanks in place. However, the situation will be monitored.

Heavy rainfall is forecast for just before the high tide tonight, due in Sumner at 9pm and the Heathcote River an hour later.

Staff continue to monitor the Heathcote River areas, with high tide due in Sumner at 9.30pm and the Heathcote River about an hour later, coinciding with peak flows from the upstream catchment.

The ground is relatively dry on the Port Hills, with plenty of capacity to soak up moisture, reducing run-off issues.

Tuesday, 11am:

Christchurch may receive up to 80mm of rain in the next 24 hours, the latest forecast shows.

However, the forecast is constantly changing because of the dynamic nature of the ex-tropical cyclone.

Banks Peninsula may receive significant rainfall of 100mm to 150mm in the next 24 hours.

Heavy rainfall is expected between 4pm and 5pm today, through until 2am tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10.05am:

The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that State Highway 1 has been closed north and south of Kaikoura because of heavy rain and the risk of slips and rockfalls.

Route 70, the inland road via Waiau, remains open for road access to Kaikoura. While crews will aim to keep it open as long as possible, drivers are urged to delay all but essential trips in the area until the severe weather has passed.

All drivers travelling from Picton to Christchurch are advised to take the Lewis Pass route via Waipara and St Arnaud.

Tuesday, 10am:

The Canterbury DHB says outpatient and other scheduled, hospital-based appointments are operating as normal.

Providing it’s safe to go out and the roads are clear, people should attend scheduled appointments.

If you need to access unplanned, non-urgent care (for sudden illness or injury), call your usual GP number first for advice 24/7.

The DHB also reminds residents to check home emergency kits, and emergency plans. Make sure that family members know what to do if they are stranded at school or work.

Residents also need to ensure they have an emergency supply of water (3ltrs/person/day) and food supplies, along with an alternative means of cooking and for boiling water in case of power outages.

It's important to check you have essential medication and standard first aid items.

Remember to tidy up loose material on your section, tie down the trampoline and store outdoor furniture, and check-in on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

Tuesday, 9.20:

Kerbside collections will continue as normal this week.

However, the Council urges residents to check that the bin lids are closed flat to avoid the lids blowing open and rubbish being spread around the area. If your collection day is Wednesday, please wait until the morning to put out your bin and not leave it out the previous night.

Tuesday, 9am:

MetService reports that Cyclone Gita is forecast to bring damaging winds and heavy rain to central New Zealand today and early on Wednesday

Cyclone Gita is expected to track southeastwards and cross central New Zealand late today.

For the South Island, the risk of coastal inundation is greatest for areas from Buller and North Canterbury northwards. 

Tuesday, 8.50am:

The Council weather response team is meeting this morning as staff continue to monitor conditions in the city.

A further update will be provided following the meeting. 

Monday, 3.10pm:

The NZ Transport Agency is urging people to plan ahead and consider delaying road travel in areas likely be most impacted by Cyclone Gita until the predicted severe weather has passed.

NZ Transport Agency Senior Journey Manager Neil Walker says driving conditions are likely to be treacherous in many affected areas, with heavy rain and very strong winds. Driving in these conditions will be extremely difficult and roads may be closed at short notice for safety reasons, with the possibility of slips, rockfalls, flooding and coastal inundation.

“This is a major weather event and the combination of rain, wind and storm surges could cause flooding, slips and coastal inundation, resulting in very difficult driving conditions. Very strong winds are predicted for several parts of the country, making conditions particularly hazardous for motorcyclists, campervans and other high-sided vehicles.”

While it is too early to say where or when all affected roads could be closed during the storm, the West Coast and Nelson would be particularly vulnerable to disruption given several roads are still being repaired after the significant damage sustained during ex-cyclone Fehi, and SH1 north and south of Kaikoura could also be closed.

Drivers are urged to keep a close eye on the latest road conditions and MetService(external link) forecasts before travelling.

“We’re working closely with MetService, local authorities, and the Civil Defence network in preparation for any impacts on the transport network and we’re planning for the likelihood of road closures.”

If delaying travel is not an option, it’s important that motorists to drive to the conditions during severe weather:

  • Reduce driving speeds
  • Increase following distances
  • Be alert to the possibility of surface flooding, fallen trees and debris

Monday 1.15pm:

Kerbside collections will continue as normal this week, although we do ask that people make sure bin lids are closed flat to avoid the bins blowing open and rubbish being spread around the neighbourhood.

If your bin is collected on Wednesday, we'd ask that you not leave the bin out overnight. Please wait until Wednesday morning to put out your bin. Also, try to collect it again as soon as you are able after it has been emptied.

Civil Defence response teams will head out late this afternoon door knocking people in homes that we know have previously flooded in recent weather events, to make people aware of the storm, and enable them to take precautions now.

Monday, 11.20am:

The worst of the weather is likely to hit Christchurch between 5pm Tuesday and 3am Wednesday.

Forecasts are suggesting Christchurch could get more than 70mm of rain in 24 hours, which is significant enough to cause street flooding.

Even higher rainfall is expected in Banks Peninsula.

A flooding sign.

Cyclone Gita is likely to cause some flooding in Christchurch.

The effects of the cyclone could be intensified or lessened depending on which way the storm tracks once it hits the West Coast.

There will be strong winds on Banks Peninsula, with gusts of 70km an hour or greater expected. This, combined with the heavy rain heightens the risk of slips and trees falling.

High tide on Tuesday night is due about 9pm and will coincide with the heavy rain, increasing the risk of flooding.

This has the potential to cause a similar level of flooding as the storm event last July.

At this stage it is unclear what impact the wind will have on the off-shore wave current and whether there will be an associated storm surge.

People living in areas prone to flooding are encouraged to lift valuable possessions off low-lying floors and to park their cars on higher ground.

People are also advised to secure, or move inside, anything that could cause damage in strong winds.

Christchurch City Council are readying temporary pumps for deployment as needed and has contractors going around the city checking the stormwater network and stopbanks to ensure they are functioning as they should.

Council contractors may not be able to get to every grate in the city so residents are asked to check the grate outside their property to ensure they are clear of leaves and other debris that might block them.

If you have an elderly or vulnerable neighour, please also check the grate outside their property.

The Council will be checking the city’s water supply wellheads before, during and after the storm and isolating any that are vulnerable to flooding.

Communities in Takamatua, Duvauchelle and Akaroa who rely on stream-fed water are being asked to limit their water use during the storm as the streams are likely to become too dirty to use.

Contractors will be on standby to close roads and respond to any flooding issues until the cyclone has passed. Some roads which frequently flood may be closed as a precaution if it appears they are likely to flood.

Civil Defence are closely monitoring the situation and will consider whether it is necessary to activate an Emergency Operations Centre once it becomes clearer which way the storm is tracking.

People should avoid non-essential travel during the height of the storm. If you have to travel around the South Island over the next few days, check the