Torrential rain-hit New Zealand’s South Island suffers landslides, flooding

Nelson's streets were littered with debris and covered with mud in the wake of the rainstorm. Photo: Twitter/@rohanfornelson

New Zealand's South Island was slammed by torrential rains for a third straight day on Thursday, triggering landslides and flooding rivers.

“Well, I was just at work and my wife called me, she filmed it all coming down from the hill. Never seen anything like it before. It's quite amazing and it all happened in the course of a few minutes,” said Andrew Seccombe, a resident of Nelson – a city whose streets were littered with debris and covered with mud in the wake of the rainstorm.

“Very fast. Within two minutes we had a landslide sliding beneath our feet,” Annie Wall, another Nelson resident, told Reuters.

Boasting a population of more than 50,000, the city saw more than 230 of its homes evacuated. Many public facilities and roads were closed, authorities said.

As shown by weather forecaster Metservice's data, part of the north of the South Island had received well over 300 millimetres of rain in the past 24 hours. Heavy rain warnings have been put in place for parts of the west of the South Island and in the north of the North Island.

Another meteorological front is to arrive on Friday, authorities in Nelson city warned, adding that rain would continue. This could imply more landslides, flooding and evacuations.

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