Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the Milford Road, SH94, could be closed all this week given the damage from torrential rain in the past 24 hours, forecast to continue today and tomorrow.
The road was closed earlier today between Cascade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm). A state of emergency for the Fiordland community board area was declared by Southland Civil Defence before 2 pm today.
A small number of tourists were earlier choppered out from Forks Bridge about 1.5 km from the Homer Tunnel, says Transport Agency Journey Manager Peter Brown.
A busload of 27 will be airlifted out in the next hour or so at Hollyford Road, he says.
“There is extensive damage from Lake Gunn to the Homer Tunnel which will delay us opening this road quickly and there is still a section we haven’t inspected due to bad weather preventing a fly-over.”
Southland Civil Defence declared a state of emergency for Fiordland community board area at 1.45 pm today. Please read their updates at this page:
State of emergency declared
This is an official message from Emergency Management Southland
A state of emergency for the Fiordland Community Board area has been declared in Southland to provide a coordinated response to the flooding emergency in Milford Sound Piopiotahi. This will allow agencies in the response to gather resources for the remote area.
Emergency Management Southland controller Angus McKay said Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong signed off on the declaration at 1.40pm this afternoon.
Everyone in the Milford township is accounted for and will be staying in Milford Sound Piopiotahi for at least the next day because of flooding in the sound and along Milford Road.
Controller Angus McKay said the 382 people in the Milford area are made up of staff and visitors and are either in Mitre Peak Lodge or on the tourist boats. They have plenty of food and are safe and warm.
The Cleddau River and high tides caused flooding this morning and staff will be monitoring the expected rainfall and tides throughout today and tomorrow.
Milford Road is likely to be closed for some days because of slips and flooding damage. Staff of the roading companies in the Milford Road Alliance are checking the road for vehicles.
The Invercargill emergency centre has been activated to monitor and respond as needed.
Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water.
Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.
For more information head to getready.govt.nz/emergency/floods(external link)
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