Aerial image shows Nelson farmland underwater


What you need to know

  • A red heavy rain warning remains in place for Buller, Nelson and Westland
  • A state of emergency is in place for Nelson Tasman and the West Coast
  • Nelson’s mayor says the city has been hit by a one-in-100 year event
  • More than 200 homes in Nelson were evacuated after days of heavy rain
  • A number of weather watches and warnings are in place for other parts of the country

Live updates

5:35pm: The 5:20pm rain radar is looking much the same as this morning’s. Not good news for Nelson and Northland.

Rain radar at 5:20pm.
Rain radar at 5:20pm. (Source: MetService.)

5:15pm: MetService’s latest severe weather outlook shows it might not be until Sunday that hard hit regions get some relief.

4:55pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has posted pictures of flooding in Nelson alongside comment on her Instagram account.

“Just off the phone to our Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty. Kieran is on the ground in the Nelson Tasman area alongside the Mayor and MPs @rachelboyack and Damien O’Connor.

“You can see from the images he sent me the devastating impact of the severe weather – hundreds of homes evacuated and many that may be unsafe to return to. The immediate focus is of course on keeping people safe, but we’ve also moved quickly to stand up the mayoral relief fund so we can continue to work with local leaders to meet immediate needs.

“We are keeping a close eye on the developing situation in Nelson, Tasman but also the West Coast. We’re expecting more rough weather overnight so please continue to listen to the advice from Emergency Services and stay safe.”

Northland is under an orange rain warning as the wild weather continues. (Source: 1News)

It shows the challenge faced by emergency services in trying conditions. The woman is now safe at her neighbours property riding out the storm.

4:30pm: An aerial image taken by Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust shows the extent of flooding on Nelson farmland.

Nelson farmland flooding.
Nelson farmland flooding. (Source: Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust)

3:35pm: MetService’s rain radar images show most of the country has been affected by the “atmospheric river” of weather on Thursday.

The footage was taken by Nelson City Council members out delivering emergency food parcels. (Source: Supplied)

The footage was taken by Nelson City Council members out delivering emergency food parcels to people cutoff at Maitai Valley Motor Camp.

2:55pm: Kieran McAnulty has praised locals in Nelson for looking after each other and was happy people complied with evacuation orders when given.

He says Westland river levels are dropping and the Mayor of Northland is happy with where things are at for the moment.

There have been 308 homes evacuated in Nelson, with a number of homes being “yellow or red stickered”.

A $200,000 contribution to the mayoral relief fund to Nelson, Tasman has been made available.

Officials speak in Nelson after flooding.
Officials speak in Nelson after flooding. (Source: 1News)

2:50pm: Watch Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty speak live from Nelson.

Video taken by Nick Ferrier shows the damage on Stafford Rd. (Source: Other)

2pm: Jackie Galland, who runs a charity that helps homeless people in Nelson, is now temporarily homeless herself due to flooding.

“There is a river running down Nile St which has now run into my home,” she told 1News.

Galland is concerned for her elderly neighbours who she helped evacuate but has not heard from since.

1:15pm: This satellite image shows just how massive the weather system impacting New Zealand is.

1pm: Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty has visited Nelson’s Civil Defence Centre as he tours the flood hit region.

Kieran McAnulty visits the Civil Defence Centre in Nelson.
Kieran McAnulty visits the Civil Defence Centre in Nelson. (Source: 1News)

The minister is expected to address media around 2:30pm this afternoon.

12:50pm: Here’s a look at some of the impressive engineering work happening in Nelson to help divert floodwaters.

Vision filmed by Rob Hunter of Terra Firma Ltd show how badly affected some parts of Nelson are. (Source: Supplied)

Wild seas whip up sea foam in Doubtless Bay, Northland

A number of roads have also been closed in the region. (Source: 1News)

12:10pm: A woman house sitting for a friend in Nelson says the flood damage is “heart breaking”.

“There’s even mud in the bathtub,” she told 1News.

12pm: READ MORE: Yacht dashed against rocks on Auckland’s Tamaki Drive

11:50am: The latest rain radar image shows ongoing rain for already sodden Northland and Nelson.

Rain radar image at 11:35am August 18.
Rain radar image at 11:35am August 18. (Source: MetService)

11:25am: The wild weather up north is now affecting major roads and Northland residents are being warned to avoid travel if possible.

NZTA says closures are currently in place at:

• SH1 Hikurangi (trees down on road – detour via the Hikurangi Bypass)

• SH1 Rangiahua (flooding – the standard detour is via SH10 which is also closed at Kaeo, so there is limited road access to the Far North at the moment)

• SH10 Kaeo (flooding).

Restrictions, with one-lane open at:

• SH1 Mangamuka Gorge (slips and tree branches on road)

11:15am: Many Nelson residents will be facing a big cleanup job this weekend.

A slip on Coster St, Stoke.
A slip on Coster St, Stoke. (Source: 1News)

A full photo gallery of the damage can be viewed at the link below.

Photos: Flooding as wild weather lashes Nelson

11:10am: Better news out of Westport, with officials telling those who evacuated their homes last night they are able to return today during a “lull” in the weather.

However, they have been warned they may need to evacuate again should conditions worsen there.

11am: Wild seas have seen a boat smashed against the rocks on Auckland’s Tamaki Drive this morning.

Yacht on rocks on Tamaki Drive.
Yacht on rocks on Tamaki Drive. (Source: Supplied)

Vector has also given an update for Auckland power customers: “Heavy rain and strong winds struck Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland overnight causing a small number of outages, particularly in the city’s western fringes.

“The majority of the outages are weather-related faults, such as trees falling on power lines, but the overall impact on the network has been minimal.

“While more rain is forecast, winds are expected to level off during the day, allowing our crews to restore power safely and as quickly as possible to those still impacted.”

10:30am: A reminder it isn’t just the top of the South Island and West Coast doing it tough.

10.18am: MetService has updated its severe weather warnings.

Red heavy rain warnings remain in place in Buller (12 hours from 9am Thursday), Nelson district (14 hours from 9am) and Westland (13 hours from 9am). In all three regions, rain is expected to return on Friday afternoon and ease Saturday afternoon.

There are orange heavy rain warnings in Northland, Auckland including Great Barrier Island, Bay of Plenty west of Edgecumbe, Waikato south of Raglan, Waitomo and Taumarunui, north Taranaki away from the mountain, Tongariro National Park, Mt Taranaki, Tasman west of Motueka, the Tararua Ranges, Marlborough Sounds, Rai Valley and Richmond Ranges.

There is an orange strong wind warning in Northland.

9.34am: Nelson Tasman Civil Defence says boil water notices are only in place for Eighty Eight Valley and Dovedale, not Nelson.

Nelson water is safe to drink.

Debris on street in Nelson after heavy rain.
Debris on street in Nelson after heavy rain. (Source: 1News)

9.13am: Buller Civil Defence says bunds, pumps and sandbags have so far helped to mitigate the impact of the severe weather.

Of the 160 Westport households encouraged to self-evacuate, most stayed with family and friends. Four people were placed in motels and another spent the night in an evacuation centre.

“It’s tempting to think that it’s all over but there is a second weather front due to affect Buller District tomorrow night and into Saturday, so we won’t be dismantling all our protective measures yet,” controller Al Lawn said.

Checks on critical infrastructure are underway and 5000 more sandbags will be arriving in Westport.

The West Coast remains under a state of emergency and a red weather warning is still in place.

8.50am: Buller Emergency Management says river levels are going down and surface flooding seems to have reduced.

“Te Kuha hit its first alarm in the early hours of the morning but we are watching it decrease. Karamea and Mokihinui levels are also dropping,” it said on Facebook.

It said high tide this afternoon is one of its considerations before it gives the message for anyone evacuated to return home.

8.40am: Nelson Tasman Civil Defence says the rain hasn’t stopped falling, which means there could be more slips, flooding and evacuations.

It said it’s unable to say at this stage when those evacuated can return home.

Water pools on driveway in Nelson.
Water pools on driveway in Nelson. (Source: 1News)

“This is not something we can answer right now – the properties need to be assessed for safety and we simply don’t know how badly affected they are.

“In these events there is potential for serious consequences and it may not be possible for people to return home right away.”

It said it’s working to set-up a “one-stop drop-in shop” for support for those affected.

“We will update you on that as soon as we can.”

8.25am: The NZTA says the most “significant network issues” are centred on Nelson, Marlborough and Takaka.

West Coast routes remain open.

State Highway 60 Takaka is closed between the Haldane Rd and Pupu Valley Rd intersection. There’s no detour available.

State Highway 6 Nelson, Rocks Rd, is closed due to the risk of a significant slip. It’s likely to be closed until 12pm on Friday and possibly longer. The detour route is via Haven Rd, Halifax St, Rutherford St and Waimea Rd.

State Highway 6 Marlborough is closed from Hira to Havelock due to flooding. A detour is available via SH63, St Arnaud.

7.50am: Speaking to Breakfast earlier this morning, Nelson resident Amy Chippendale said she couldn’t return to her Nile St home after work yesterday due to flooding.

Chippendale described the situation as a “bit of a shock”.

She said her mother had “frantically” packed her a bag during the day as the floodwaters rose.

“I’ve been lodging at my parents house for the night.”

She said she’ll find out today how badly her home has been affected.

“I don’t know what I’m going home to.”

7.40am: MetService says some places in the Tasman District recorded well over 300mm yesterday

7.30am: Speaking to Breakfast this morning, Westport resident Troy Scanlan says the town “may have dogged a bit of a bullet”.

He says it looks like the rain hasn’t been as bad as forecast.

He’s protected his home with sandbags, as have some other Westport residents.

He says some residents are frustrated with the current extreme weather following flooding in the town in July last year.

7.20am: Here’s a recap on the situation – Residents of 233 homes were asked to evacuated in Nelson following two days of heavy rain and after the Maitai River started to exceed its limits.

Ten more homes were evacuated last night in the suburb of Tahunanui, Nelson Tasman Civil Defence says.

Alec Louverdis from Civil Defence Nelson Tasman says the water could potentially be contaminated by sewage. (Source: Breakfast)

River levels lowered overnight, but plenty more rain is expected today, a Nelson Tasman Civil Defence spokesperson says.

A state of emergency was declared for Nelson Tasman and the West Coast yesterday and remains in place today.

A state of emergency has been declared after the Maitai River breached its banks. (Source: 1News)

6.30am: These are the weather watches and warnings issued by MetService for the South Island – A strong wind watch is in place for Nelson, Tasman and Buller.

There’s surface flooding in Westport, with 160 households in low-lying areas encouraged to self-evacuate.

A red heavy rain warning remains in place for Buller, Nelson and Westland. An orange heavy rain warning remains in place for the Tasman District, west of Motueka.

There are slips, road closures and further surface flooding across the northern and western South Island.

A heavy rain watch is in place for parts of Marlborough, the Tasman District from Motueka eastwards and the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers.

Motorists are urged to keep across updates from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for road closures.

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