27 Mar 2019

Live updates: West Coast flooding day 2

12:47 pm on 27 March 2019

Police have confirmed an elderly woman's body has been recovered from flood waters north of Hokitika.

Flood hit parts of Hokitika.

Flood hit parts of Hokitika. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

Police are at the scene at Arahura Valley, north of Hokitika. The woman's body was pulled from flood waters at about 9.19am.

Police said it appeared that the woman got out of the vehicle she was driving and tried to cross the flood waters on foot.

They said she was then swept away in the strong-flowing current of surface flooding on Arahura Valley Road.

Police are investigating and her death has been referred to the coroner.

"Significant rain" hit in the Westland District yesterday and a state of emergency was declared after the Waiho Bridge was completely destroyed last night.

Some parts of Westland had up to 800mm of rain during the downpour and the town of Haast is experiencing a one-in-100-year flood.

Seven people have been evacuated from their properties in Waiatoto and a welfare centre at Haast is opened.

The Waiho Bridge has been totally taken out by the weather hitting Westland.

The Waiho Bridge has been taken out by the weather hitting Westland. Photo: Civil Defence West Coast

State Highway 6 between Hokitika and Makarora has reopened, but a slip on SH73 on the Arthur's Pass/Otira route between the West Coast and Canterbury has closed the highway, and is unlikely to reopen today, the Transport Agency said.

Civil Defence West Coast's Facebook page has more information about local road closures and the Transport Agency about the state highway system.

Franz Josef and Haast schools are closed today.

Heavy rain is tracking north today away from the West Coast.

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