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Main bridge into Gore closed, power cut as flooding prompts evacuations in Southland


People in the Southland towns of Gore, Mataura and Wyndham have been ordered to evacuate this morning as officials close the main bridge into Gore, amid poor weather and flooding.

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An onslaught of rain has caused the Mataura river to rise significantly. Source: 1 NEWS

An onslaught of rain has caused the Mataura River to rise significantly, with Emergency Management Southland ordering people in low-lying areas of the towns to evacuate immediately. 

Power has also been cut this morning to the eastern Gore flooding area and will soon be cut to the other areas identified as evacuation zones.

If you are safe and have taken video or photos of the flooding, please send them to news@tvnz.co.nz, or the 1 NEWS Facebook page

Several homes have already been flooded with concerns more will flood throughout the day, with the river set to reach its peak at around midday.

If they can, people are asked to check on their neighbours and make sure they know to leave too.

"If you don’t have a place to go, please evacuate to either the Calvin Community Hub on Robertson Street, or the Croydon Lodge," a spokesperson says.

"In Mataura, transport will be available from the Presbyterian Church to the Edendale Presbyterian Church and the Christian Activity Centre."

The New Zealand Red Cross has activated its disaster response teams in Te Anau and Gore, providing bedding at the evacuation centre and psychosocial support.

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Mayor Tracy Hicks told TVNZ1’s Breakfast it’s a beautiful, clear day but the deluge of the last three days is being felt. Source: Breakfast

Gore mayor Tracey Hicks says some areas at risk have been door-knocked last night and this morning.

"We've just had deluge for the past three days in a row, so it has been quite stressful," he told Breakfast this morning.

"We've got quite a pile of water coming towards us in a reasonably short time.

"If [people] need help there will be people on the street, and if they can't get onto the street, call 111."

People are advised to evacuate with a grab bag of clothing, medication and personal items such as documents, with pets securely leashed or caged and with plenty of food.

Multiple roads in the affected areas have been closed due to the flooding and people are asked to stay off the road unless they need to travel.

"Stay away from flooded areas until Civil Defence gives the all clear," Emergency Management Southland says.

"Do not drive or walk through flood waters. The water may have washed away parts of the road and may contain debris."

All flood water should be treated as contaminated and unsafe, Emergency Management Southland says.

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Roads are closed after being flooded by murky brown water. Source: 1 NEWS

MetService says 108.8mm of rain has fallen in Gore over the last 48 hours, but this morning has dawned clear and bright so far.

More showers are expected for Southland this afternoon. 

Nearby Southland towns Dipton and Lumsden have received 107mm and 127mm of rain in the last 48 hours each.

Go to the Southland Emergency Management Facebook page for more information.