Here are two reports from local New Zealanders on the condition of things over in the Queenstown area…
civil defense has just declared a state of emergency in the Queenstown/invercargill area due to heavy rains (continuing as I
write) and flooding, cutting of access routes into the area. Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka are the main source of the problem,
spilling their banks and continuing to rise.
as a contrast, the north island (hamilton – where I am – anyway) is bright and sunny, with no rain expected.
ps. last night they were snandbagging the main street of
Queenstown due to the flooding.
17 November 1999 — 7pm (paraphrasing TV3’s evening news at 6pm)
Queenstown and Wanaka are essentially isolated — a lot of roads into and around them are closed — surface flooding, slips or some washed out bridges. (Not sure about the airports — they were not mentioned.) Lake Wakatipu has flooded central Queenstown; many shops flooded as well as some houses; some hotels evacuated. Lake Wanaka has flooded many of Wanaka’s shops. The lake levels are still rising. So too are the rivers. It is still raining (already had 60 hours of steady and heavy rain) and not expected to stop until probably about mid-day tomorrow. The flood levels are higher than those of 1878 (yes, last century). Settlements downstream, ie further south east, like Gore, Mataura and Invercargill now must wait for the river waters to reach them!
We haven’t heard any word on exactly how it’s affecting the film crew–if anybody hears anything through the grapevine, let me know!