Southland flooding: Clutha District Mayor praises community spirit

The Clutha District mayor is praising community spirit after the flooding in Southland this week.

Extreme rain battered the area causing a state of emergency from flooding and power cuts.

Mayor Brian Cadogan told Newshub it was the best response he's ever seen.

"Once we had that critical period, it was just phenomenal the effort that went in from the volunteers and the likes of the police and the ambo (sic) and all the professionals kicking in. It was a real cohesion."

Although he believes luck was on their side because it could've been much worse.

Nearly 6000 people were evacuated across Southland, but as people return home the damage is becoming clear.

Four houses in the area were inundated with water, but he hasn't heard of any businesses that have any issues.

"It could've been so so much worse with just a slight bit more rain or just a bit of luck one way or the other. But that aside we've still got some people with some damage to property, to their houses."

Although the heavy rain has passed, MetService forecasts light rain for the Clutha region throughout the week.

Driving conditions in Southland

Southland and Otago roads are tipped to be exceptionally busy this week, with a number of events coming on top of last week's floods.

Thousands of motorcyclists are heading home from the Burt Munro rally near Invercargill, music fans are heading to Dunedin for Sunday night's Queen and Adam Lambert concert and the Southern Fieldays begins midweek at Waimumu near Gore.

While highways and local roads outside Fiordland and around the Catlins have reopened, there is some damage, with reduced speed limits and some roads down to one lane while repairs are underway.

NZTA says drivers should expect journeys to be slower than usual.

"On top of the Field Days traffic, groups of people with machinery are helping with the clean-up after last week's floods across the regions, particularly around Gore and Mataura," NZTA journey manager Peter Brown said in a statement.

"The Transport Agency and the local councils will all have contractors out in force carrying out damage assessments and urgent repairs on their roading networks, which will make some normally quiet backroads much busier.

"People should expect to see more traffic at cross-road intersections - be ready for that. If you need to be somewhere on time, leave in plenty of time so you are not taking any risks or getting stressed."