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BBC Weather

Monday, 14 January, 2002, 07:03 GMT
Heavy floods in New Zealand
Wading through floodwater
Residents are clearing up after the floods
By Greg Ward in Auckland

New Zealand is mopping up after some of the country's worst summer flooding in 50 years.

Heavy rains and floods have struck several parts of the country, washing out bridges and roads, and flooding hundreds of homes and holiday campsites.

The overnight storms and flooding caused most damage on the east coast of New Zealand's scenic South Island.

Sign reading road ahead closed
More unsettled weather is on the way
Sudden heavy rain in the Canterbury region left a number of roads blocked by slips and landslides.

The waters rose so fast that roads and bridges were washed away - residents were left paddling in the streets.

In the seaside village of Akaroa near Christchurch a dozen homes were evacuated as overnight flooding swept through homes and cut off the town's water supply.

Emergency workers were kept busy clearing drains as the floodwaters poured through the community.


Staff at one motel faced a long cleanup. The sudden downpour caused havoc and despair at the height of New Zealand's summer holidays.

Further south in Dunedin City, three days of heavy rain caused more damage to roads and farmland.

The North Island did not escape the damage.

The Coromandel Ranges near Auckland is usually a picture postcard summer destination. But a swollen creek sent a torrent of mud, logs and water through the town, forcing dozens of evacuations.

A nearby camping ground was left stranded overnight.

New Zealand weather experts are predicting more extreme weather this year.

They say the El Nino weather pattern is expected to return within a few months, bringing more unsettled weather and colder temperatures.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
El Niņo 'could return in months'
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