Update, 04 February 2020:
More torrential rain has fallen in areas of Southland, causing further flooding in the region.
MetService New Zealand said over 1,000mm of rain fell in a 60 hour period in Milford Sound, with 600mm in 24 hours to early 04 February, 2020.
A state of emergency has now been declared for the Southland Region, including Gore, due to extensive flooding.
Police have evacuated around 15 homes in Gore. Emergency services and Council staff are at present going door-to-door to 280 households in East Gore asking them to prepare to evacuate at short notice. A boil water notice has been issued for Gore as a precaution as the Mataura River continues to rise and could contaminate drinking water. Several roads in Gore have been closed due to flooding.
Southland Emergency Management said the rain “has caused widespread flooding throughout the region with roads closed by slips and flooding in the Fiordland, northern and central Southland and Gore District areas. Milford Sound Piopiotahi is cut off by slips, and heavy rain is continuing with more damage and road closures expected.”
The Mataura and Oreti Rivers are rising and are being monitored closely.
A state of emergency has been declared for the Southland Region, including Gore, due to extensive flooding.
— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) February 4, 2020
Original Report, 03 February 2020:
Emergency Management in Southland, New Zealand, has declared a state of emergency for the Fiordland Community Board in response to the flooding emergency in Milford Sound.
Heavy rain combined with a high tide caused the Cleddau River to break its banks early on 03 February. Roads in the area are likely to remain closed for some time because of flood damage and landslips triggered by the rain.
Blocked roads have left hundreds of tourists stranded. Emergency Management Southland said 382 people (including tourists and staff) in the Milford area are all accounted for, have plenty of food and are safe and warm.
Emergency Management Southland said, “An evacuation plan for the 195 tourists in Milford Sound Piopiotahi is being worked out tonight and tomorrow morning, as Milford Road is likely to stay closed for several days because of slips and flooding damage.”
New Zeland’s MetService said a Heavy Rain Warning is in force for Fiordland, Westland, the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury Lakes and Rivers, Southland, Clutha, Central Otago, the Southern Lakes.
A state of emergency for the Fiordland Community Board area has been declared in Southland in response to the flooding emergency in Milford Sound.
— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) February 3, 2020