New Zealanders are facing more frequent flooding in the coming weeks as a record number of rainfalls falls over the Canterbury region.
Water levels have already reached a record high for the month of October and experts are warning of more severe flooding in parts of the state.
The Canterbury region has already received an average of almost five inches of rain per day, more than double the average of 1.6 inches per day for October.
Water levels have reached a new record high in Canterbury for October 2017 – the first time this has happened in New Zealand.
In Canterbury, more people are expected to be affected by the rising water levels as water levels are forecast to rise by up to 20 per cent in parts.
New Zealand’s National Weather Service has also warned of a more intense cyclone system in the Canterbury area, which is forecast to bring heavy rain to the region.
The latest rainfall comes as the government has warned the Canterbury Region is now facing “significant flooding risks”.
The region’s population is expected to swell from around 9.6 million to over 14 million in the next year.
A flood warning is in place for parts of central and south Canterbury from Wednesday night until early Friday morning.
Tropical cyclone Debbie is expected on Thursday, and the latest forecast suggests it will arrive in the region at least as early as Thursday afternoon.
The National Weather Bureau says it is not yet clear whether Debbie will bring rainfall in the area, but the forecast for its arrival is expected for Friday morning at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is also warning of severe flooding for parts to come.
Heavy rain is expected in parts, with water levels rising up to 50 metres in parts on Wednesday, the NEOC warned.
Temperatures will be forecast to be over the upper 20s on Thursday and early Friday and a moderate to heavy rain is forecast for the area from Thursday evening until Friday morning, with the maximum expected on Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, the Government’s emergency preparedness plan will outline what it calls a “temporary and significant flood event”.
The flood mitigation plan says the region faces a “significant risk of flooding” if the rain is not stopped by Friday morning and the weather conditions deteriorate.
“Temporary and substantial flood risks” are described as “significant” in the flood mitigation plans, with heavy rain forecast for parts, including Canterbury, in the morning and evening.
Flooding will also be forecast for a number of coastal communities.
The National Emergency Planning Group (NEPG) says the area is currently experiencing moderate to high winds and flooding.
According to the NEPG, if the weather continues to deteriorate, the areas flood risk could be considered to be moderate or high.
With the risk of the rainfall intensifying, the area will likely see the following conditions as the flood warning applies: Heavy rain possible in areas south of the river, and heavy rain possible inland.
Heavy rain is possible in parts near the coast.
Extreme flooding is possible on parts of northern Canterbury, including south-west Canterbury, north-west and eastern parts.
The danger of flooding could increase in areas where heavy rainfall is forecast.