3 Feb 2020

Wild weather on West Coast: Power still out, state highway 6 remains shut

1:15 pm on 3 February 2020

MetService says the West Coast should brace for more bad weather after heavy rain caused a highway to be shut and a power outage yesterday.

Flooding at the Milford Visitors' Terminal.

Flooding at the Milford Visitors' Terminal. Photo: Facebook / Civil Defence Southland

West Coast Civil Defence says at least 100 properties were without power this morning after heavy rain cut the supply to Fox Glacier and south to Paringa because of a fault on the line from Franz Josef.

However, Westpower says a break in the weather had allowed staff to get into the Fox Hills, where they have found the fault, and restoration was expected by mid-afternoon.

MetService meteorologist Melissa Oosterwijk said further heavy rain was forecast to fall on the West Coast until tomorrow night.

"Considering the amount of rain we've had so far it will just continue, we've also got a moderate risk for thunderstorms for Fiordland and South Westland ... which helps the rain to continue to be heavy."

Westpower said last night that due to the bad weather it couldn't get lines workers to the fault and it would be working on an alternative supply.

Civil Defence's public information manager, Erica Andrews, said the lack of power would be challenging for people in Fox Glacier, where a boil-water notice had been in force since late last week.

"It's very difficult for some of those customers to be able to boil water, but a lot consumers and residents will have gas supplies."

She told Morning Report she wasn't aware how many were impacted by the outage but it was "probably a couple of hundred" of households and businesses.

A slip near Thirsty Creek at State Highway 6 has also caused the road to be shut from Haast to Fox Glacier.

Andrews said they were not sure when the road would reopen but expected an update from NZTA this morning.

Fox Glacier to Haast section of State Highway 6 shut after washout.

Fox Glacier to Haast section of State Highway 6 shut after washout. Photo: Facebook / Civil Defence West Coast

The only road to Milford Sound has been closed and will not reopen until Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.

State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound, has been closed between Cascade Creek and the Chasm due to flooding.

More heavy rain is predicted in the area today and tomorrow.

NZTA said an update on the road reopening would be made at 1pm Tuesday.