The MetService has issued a severe weather rain warning for the Westland, Nelson and Buller areas for the next 48 hours. The heaviest falls are expected over Fiordland and Westland, the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury rivers, the Buller ranges, and northwest Nelson.
In Westland, 150 to 200mm of rain is forecast in the ranges from tonight, Wednesday night, to Thursday night. Peak rainfall rates of 25 to 30mm are predicted per hour before dawn Thursday. Rainfall of this intensity is likely to cause rivers to rise rapidly, as well as slips and surface flooding.
Drivers are advised that the heavy rain is likely to cause challenging driving conditions across the West Coast (including the Lewis Pass, SH7), and Nelson, with reduced visibility as well as localised surface flooding.
NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager, Tresca Forrester says it is important for drivers to take extreme care and drive to the conditions.
“Wet roads can be very slippery, and visibility on the road across the alpine passes can be difficult in heavy rain. Drivers need to follow at a safe travelling distance because it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. In winter, especially in poor weather, double the two-second rule to ensure a safe distance between you and the car in front,” Ms Forrester says.
Drivers of high-sided vehicles, motorcyclists, or people towing caravans are advised to take extra care in windy conditions.