Torrential rain wreaks havoc in New Zealand, with hundreds displaced from their homes

Torrential rain wreaks havoc in New Zealand, with hundreds displaced from their homes

WELLINGTON, Aug 19 (Portal) – Torrential rains hit parts of New Zealand for a fourth day on Friday, forcing hundreds of people from their homes as rivers burst their banks and wet ground became unstable.

Nelson, on the north coast of the South Island, has been hardest hit, with more than 400 homes evacuated and some declared uninhabitable due to the rains.

“The damage I saw in Nelson was heartbreaking and I think we are years away from recovery,” Alec Louverdis, group controller for Nelson Tasman Civil Defense, said at a news conference.

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“When we were driving, there were slips everywhere,” he said, referring to landslides.

The Metservice weather forecaster said Nelson has had 172 mm (6.8 inches) of rain since Tuesday, which is more than double the average August rainfall. Another 190mm is expected to fall in the hills near Nelson the next day.

Due to problems with the city’s water system, Nelson residents are being advised to conserve water.

A state of emergency is declared as severe flooding affects Nelson, New Zealand on August 18, 2022. Portal/Tatsiana Chypsanava

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Civil Defense is also warning people to stay away from shore as 3-meter (9.8-foot) surf hits some beaches.

The New Zealand Defense Force has personnel to assist with evacuations and flood control work.

After weeks of rainy weather, recent rainstorms are washing even more water into New Zealand’s already soaked landscape. Experts have attributed the unseasonably wet weather to a narrow stream of water vapor, or “atmospheric flow,” across the country.

Heavy rains have also battered New Zealand’s North Island over the past 24 hours, with some towns cut off, roads and homes flooded and people evacuated.

Civil Defense Northland said in a Facebook post some flooding is expected to subside when the tide falls later Friday, but some roads remain cut off.

A heavy rain warning will remain in effect until midnight on Friday.

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Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Edited by Robert Birsel

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