9 Jan 2013

Water levels holding at Lake Wakatipu

10:11 pm on 9 January 2013

Water levels at Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu have held on Wednesday evening but the threat of flooding is only centimetres away.

MetService issued heavy rain and wind warning for parts of Fiordland earlier in the day, but it said those conditions should ease as an intense front lying over the area is expected to weaken as it moves across the South Island overnight.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is advising residents to keep an eye on the Otago Regional Council's flood website to check the levels of the lake.

On Wednesday night lake was at 310.524 metres high, less than a metre off what would be called a flood alert.

MetService warnings are still in place for much of Westland, Fiordland, Southland, Otago and Canterbury as an intense front makes its way up the South Island.

The Department of Conservation says all trampers are accounted for and are sheltering in huts, where they will remain until the weather subsides.

Canterbury and the Wellington region are bracing for strong winds, with gusts up to 150 kilometres an hour possible until the early hours of Thursday morning.

The front will weaken as it travels up the North Island.