Person missing in river
One person was missing in a West Coast river last night after a day of intense rain in parts of the South Island.
Police launched a search in the Haupiri River near Gloriavale after reports that a person was missing about 8pm.
The West Coast was lashed by rain for much of yesterday. A swollen creek destroyed a bridge, rapidly rising streams left high school students marooned in Mt Aspiring National Park, and floodwaters forced road and school closures.
Parts of a concrete bridge at Goat Creek on State Highway 73 washed away. Jess Dempsey, who lives at nearby Otira, said the weather there has been “absolutely terrible”.
About 25 Otago Boys’ High School Year 9 students were forced to spend an extra night in Mt Aspiring park when the wild weather intervened.
There was ample food in the hut in the Matukituki Valley, deputy rector Mark Hooper said.
Elsewhere, parts of the West Coast were inundated. Niwa said the Ivory Glacier had 391mm of rain from 12pm on Wednesday until 4pm yesterday — more than Clyde, Cromwell and Alexandra had in all of 2017. Mt Philistine had 294mm and Mt Cook 212mm.
Students on the West Coast had prepared for an overnight stay at school after they became stranded temporarily. But Westland Civil Defence and police joined forces to convoy the South Westland Area School students out of the floodstricken area.
Eight schools were closed on the West Coast due to the heavy rain and flooding, the Ministry of Education told the Herald.
State Highway 6 from Hokitika to Haast and SH73 between Arthurs Pass township and Jackson were expected to be closed overnight.
The MetService said a cold southerly change would bring a significant drop in temperatures.
A bridge at Goat Creek on SH73 was badly damaged, as was the Hokitika-Haast road (left).