Heavy rainfall to drench Buller district, residents warned of possible evacuations

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 11, 2024 |

Smithy’s  Creek and SH6 in the Fox Hills near Franz Josef earlier today

The Metservice has issued a heavy rain warning for the Buller District south of Seddonville and northwest of Reefton

On top of what has already fallen, expect 70 to 100 mm of rain, especially about the Paparoa Range.

Peak rates of 15 to 25 mm/h expected this afternoon and evening, thunderstorms possible.

West Coast Civil Defence said “evacuate immediately if told to do so by authorities. They will not ask you to leave unless they think your life may be in danger. Self-evacuate if you feel unsafe. Take your grab bag with you if possible, but do not travel into any evacuation zone to collect it if you do not have it with you.

“If it is too dangerous for you to leave your current location, you may need to take shelter wherever you are.

“ How and where to shelter in place depends on the emergency, so short-term in-place shelter is described in the sections dealing with specific hazards.”

Sustained heavy rain overnight in South Westland has seen further damage at Smithy’s Creek on SH6, between Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, according to the NZ Transport Agency.

 SH6 is closed from Franz Josef south to Haast today and overnight, with the section south of Fox Glacier to Haast being reviewed tomorrow morning at 10 am.

The section between the two glacier towns is  likely to remain closed through the weekend and will be reassessed Monday at midday.

NZTA Maintenance Contract Manager Moira Whinham said “creek flows have breached the southern approach at the Smithy’s Creek box culvert overnight Wednesday with the continuous heavy rain. Rain is forecast to continue all day today with periods of intense showers overnight again Thursday night.

“While the rain continues to fall, crews are limited to minimising further damage and a full assessment of the damage at Smithy’s Creek will occur tomorrow (Friday) morning. 

 The next update on the section of SH6 between Fox and Franz Josef will be midday Monday, 15 April.

Rain is forecast to ease over the weekend.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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