16 Feb 2020

Southland prepares for potential problems from ex-tropical cyclone Uesi

9:47 pm on 16 February 2020

Civil Defence authorities in Southland are relieved heavy rain has not hit flood-damaged parts of the Mataura River today.

Gorge Road - Fortrose road near Titiroa River Bridge

Widespread flooding in Southland last week had authorities bracing for ex-tropical cyclone Uesi. Photo: Heather Smith

They had sandbags ready in parts of the Mataura River catchment, in case of major problems caused by ex-tropical cyclone Uesi.

They are remaining on standby as the weather system moves to the west of the South Island and heavy rain warnings remain in force in some areas.

Emergency Management controller Bruce Halligan said they are feeling relieved after last week's widespread flooding in Southland, where a state of emergency is still in place.

He said Civil Defence will have people monitoring the weather system throughout the night and tomorrow.

Earlier today, the weather system was sitting to the south-west of the South Island.

Heavy rain warnings were in force for Fiordland and the headwaters of the Otago lakes and rivers.

Halligan said contingency plans were in place for in areas where stop banks were weakened in last week's major flooding.

He said that while it was wet, they were not expecting the rain to cause any extra significant problems for the already sodden region.

"We're erring on the side of caution there and just put some localised measures in place, if we require them," he said.

"But at this stage, the eastern part of Southland looks like it's not going to cop a whole lot of rain, but we certainly plan for a worst case scenario on that."

On Sunday morning, MetService said: "A deep low (former Tropical Cyclone UESI) is forecast to approach the South Island from the Tasman Sea today and to lie just to the west of Fiordland tonight. It should then move southwest and weaken on Monday.

"This system is expected to bring periods of heavy rain to the west of the South Island including Stewart Island during today and early Monday."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs