Wild weather continues to batter Canterbury after residents woke up to a state of emergency on Monday morning.

An evacuation order was issued late on Sunday night for areas close to north Canterbury's Eyre River, which are expected to fail during high tides.

But they're not the only ones leaving home, with parts of the north Canterbury rural community of Fernside also forced to leave.

What you need to know:

  • MetService's rare 'red alert' heavy rain warning has been lifted

  • Multiple roads, including key State Highways, have been closed due to slips and flooding. Click here for the latest on road closures

  • Four bridges have been washed away in the Ashburton District so far and almost 20 roads are closed

  • Flooding has sparked evacuations in several parts of the region including areas of Ashburton, Selwyn, Timaru and Waimakariri, however some residents in the Waimakariri District are allowed to return to their homes 

  • More than 50 schools are closed across Canterbury on Monday

  • The entire Canterbury region is under a state of emergency.

  • The latest weather forecast from Metservice says the Christchurch region will continue to have heavy rain until 7pm Monday, before showers fall throughout the night

  • There is an "extreme" water conservation notice in place for residents on Canterbury's Te Moana and Peel Forest water schemes. Boil water notices are in place for: Geraldine Urban, Downlands, Te Moana. 

These live updates have finished.

8:15pm - The red alert for Canterbury has been lifted by MetService. The only warning in place for the region now is an orange heavy rain warning that will be in place until 12am on June 1.

8pm - The Ashburton District Council says NZTA will reopen the Selwyn River Bridge on SH1 from 8pm to 11pm tonight to allow traffic through.

7:15pm - Timaru's state of emergency continues this evening.

Timaru District Council says following a period of calmer weather today, water levels in the affected rivers have begun to slowly recede.

They are still recommending residents in the low lying areas Coopers Creek catchment north of the Orari River remain evacuated until further notice.

Receding floodwater is likely to have caused major scouring and holes in roads, they say, so they advise people don't travel unless it's necessary

7pm - Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown says it's "good news" tonight because the river is dropping and there is very little rain.

He also explained that while there are boil water notices in place for Methven and Mt Somers, there are tankers in the area where people can go and get some water.

6:50pm - The approach to Medbury Rd Bridge has flooded and is no longer suitable for cars, the Hurunui District Council says.

It is only suitable for tractors and big-wheeled trucks at this stage and it will remain as restricted access until further notice. 

Flooding signs are in place.

6:30pm - Residents of the low-lying The Pines Beach are advised to continue evacuating in advance of the 9pm high tide.

A flood gate is stuck open and low areas are likely to flood.

Emergency services will be door knocking residents this afternoon.

Residents on higher sections of The Pines Beach can stay if they wish, but may be isolated for some time if Beach Rd floods.

Waikuku and Saltwater Creek residents continue to be recommended to prepare to evacuate, however, this isn't mandatory yet.

A map of evacuation areas is available here.

6:15pm - Waka Kotahi NZTA says they aim to reopen SH1 south of Christchurch on Tuesday afternoon.

"There is still up to 500 mm of water over the highway at the Selwyn River/Waikirikiri bridge, but by Tuesday crews should be ready to clear debris and reopen the highway," says Tresca Forrester, NZTA's journey manager.

A summary of closed highways in Canterbury as at 5pm:

  • SH73 Springfield to Castle Hill: slips, flooding, bridge approaches washed out in three places, shingle coating the road for 100 metres and one metre thick between Lake Lyndon and Porter River
  • SH77 the inland route Darfield, Windwhistle to Mt Hutt/Winchmore: slips and flooding
  • SH75 Akaroa highway: closed from Barrys Bay to Birdlings Flat
  • SH1 south of Christchurch: closed at the Selwyn River/Waikirikiri, Dunsandel. Water 500 mm deep, should be opened Tuesday
  • SH1 remains closed several places through mid to south Canterbury, Hinds to Temuka: water 600 mm deep north of the Hinds River bridge
  • SH77 Methven to Windwhistle and Darfield: closed due to flooding several places
  • SH79 Rangitata to Geraldine: flooded in several places.

6pm - Gore Bay in the Hurunui district is currently isolated due to slips and flooding.

Gore Bay Rd is closed at the Cheviot end and Cathedral Rd is closed at Hurunui mouth end.

The Hurunui District Council says teams are looking at options to allow restricted access one way.  

5:55pm - The Timaru District Council says bin collections in the north zone will resume on Tuesday for most people.

Monday's cancelled services will be collected on June 7. Locals are asked to present all three bins next Monday except the rural CBD.

The council will collect the rural CBD run due today on Wednesday in the afternoon.

5:50pm - There are several bridges that are either damaged or completely impassable in the Ashburton district.

Four bridges confirmed to be damaged/completely unpassable:

  • Redcliffs Bridge - Double Hill Run Rd
  • Pudding Hill Bridge - Arundel Rakaia Gorge Rd
  • Ballentynes Bridge - Lowerdowns Rd
  • Stour River Bridge - Ashburton Gorge Rd

Three Sunshine Bridges all completely impassable:

  • Hackthorne Rd
  • Winslow Rd
  • Boundary Rd

5:35pm - The Christchurch City Council says they have been unable to complete their kerbside rubbish collections today.

Residents living on Clarendon Tce, Richardson Tce, Sheldon St from number 18 to Clarendon Tce, and Tavender St from number 10 to Clarendon Tce.

The council asks people living on these streets to put their bins out when roads reopen again and their contractor will empty them. 

If your bins are due to be emptied on Tuesday, the council asks you to put them out as usual, before 6am. If you are living on a road that is currently closed, still put your bins out for collection, if possible, as their contractors will empty them when the roads are reopened.

5:20pm - NZ Post has suspended its delivery and acceptance operations in areas that have a state of emergency in place.

This covers all regional towns and outlying centres around Christchurch, but doesn't include the Christchurch metropolitan area.

"The highway network south of Christchurch is expected to remain closed again tonight (Monday), however, staff remain on stand-by to commence operations if clearance is given," NZ Post says.

"All links from the lower South Island to Christchurch (and the rest of the country) are blocked - we're unable to clear perishable product beyond the Otago area, and customers should be advised to hold these until the links reopen."

NZ Post says they will continue operating transport services between Dunedin and Invercargill, and Dunedin to Central Otago, but all other transport services operating south of Christchurch will be suspended.

"Our planning over the next few days will focus on the staging and management of the freight backlog that will continue to build in Christchurch," they say.

"At this stage, it is expected the backlog will take the rest of the week to clear. As always with events like this, NZ Post's primary focus is on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our people."

5:05pm - Waka Kotahi NZTA has given an update on state highways closures in the area.

SH1 Temuka is open from Arowhenua Rd to Donald St, but remains closed from Donald St to Lynnford Rd in Hinds.

SH1 Burnham to Dunsandel, SH73 Springfield to Castle Hill, SH75 Little River, SH77 Darfield to Winchmore, and SH79 Fairlie to Rangitata remain closed.

4:50pm - DairyNZ is urging Canterbury farmers to look out for each other and seek support if needed.

"Good advance warning did enable many farmers to be prepared but we are working closely to monitor the situation and encourage farmers to keep farm teams and neighbours safe," head of the South Island Tony Finch says.

The flooding also comes amid Moving Day with many farmers attempting to shift properties and livestock.

"Farmers who haven't started shifting should only move stock if the roads are confirmed as open throughout the route and the destination farm can receive stock," Finch says.

"We encourage the farm owners, sharemilkers and graziers to discuss Moving Day plans and be flexible – as we know flooding has resulted in road closures and flooding on properties. Keep in close contact with transport providers."

People who need urgent support are asked to contact your local Civil Defence, or in an emergency situation dial 111.

Both DairyNZ (phone 0800 4 324 7969) and the Rural Support Trust can be contacted for recovery support and advice on 0800 787 254.

4:30pm - People affected by the flooding are urged to contact their insurers and record the damage before cleaning up.

"We've dealt with a number of insurance-related complaints over the years where people have rolled up their sleeves and got in straight away - cleaning up and throwing away items," Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO) Karen Stevens says.

"Later in the insurance claims process, this can lead to problems when proving damage. Being clear about things from the start can prevent angst later down the track."

She says for those who are unable to get back their homes, contact your insurer to ask about temporary accommodation cover, under either your house or contents policies.

4:10pm - The New Zealand Red Cross says its volunteers are "supporting people affected by the Canterbury flooding".

"They are visiting residents to check on their needs and advising them to be prepared to evacuate, should the situation worsen."

4pm - SH8 from Fairlie to Tekapo has been opened, according to the Mackenzie District Council.

"Surface flooding remains and caution is advised."

3:35pm - The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) says it's "poised and ready to assist" with the cleanup when the flooding subsides in Canterbury.

"After the earthquakes, farmers in the regions helped out Christchurch in a major way. After these floods, we're going to be focused on returning the favour. We encourage anyone who has the time and capacity to support the clean up efforts to join us - everyone is welcome to lend a helping hand," founder and chief executive Sam Johnson says.

Anyone wanting to assist is encouraged to download the SVA app and keep an eye on the group's social media.

If you need help, let SVA know by calling 0800 005 902 or emailing hello@sva.org.nz.

SVA operations manager Penny Roy says "for the moment, the focus is for everyone to act with extreme caution and to avoid any non-essential travel". 

"As it is appropriate, we'll update our volunteers about safely getting out to assist with the clean-up."

Children walk through the flood waters in Christchurch.
Children walk through the flood waters in Christchurch. Photo credit: Getty Images
Cars make their way through the flooded Brougham Street on May 31, 2021 in Christchurch.
Cars make their way through the flooded Brougham Street on May 31, 2021 in Christchurch. Photo credit: Getty Images
General view of the flooded Greendale Golf Club on May 31, 2021 in Greendale.
General view of the flooded Greendale Golf Club on May 31, 2021 in Greendale. Photo credit: Getty Images
General view of the flooded shingle pit where the Selwyn River usually flows underground on May 31, 2021 in Greendale.
General view of the flooded shingle pit where the Selwyn River usually flows underground on May 31, 2021 in Greendale. Photo credit: Getty Images

3:10pm - The Ashburton District Council has issued the below update:

Methven & Mt Somers water update: The water tankers in Methven and Mt Somers are being refilled this afternoon, and are scheduled to be refilled again from 7am tomorrow morning (1 June). In Methven, the water tanker is located near the public toilets on Main Street, while the Mt Somers tanker is located near the Fire Station/General Store.

Bring along containers to fill for your drinking water. If you are unable to get to the tankers to access the water, please call Ashburton Civil Defence on 03 307 7700.

Welfare information: There are currently NO evacuation orders in place for the Ashburton District. If you need to self-evacuate, consider if there are friends or family  that you can stay with. If you don't  have somewhere safe to go, please contact Ashburton Civil Defence on 03 307 7700.

Water contamination: Residents are reminded to continue avoiding floodwater, as wastewater from the Ashburton pond treatment facility on Wilkins Road, Tinwald has flooded. Potentially contaminated water is now mixing with floodwater downstream from Wilkins Road. This is a public health risk. Additionally, wastewater is flowing into Carters Creek which feeds Lake Hood. Residents should avoid the water and assume that it is contaminated. If you do come into contact with flood waters, change out of any wet clothes and shoes and put them aside to be washed later. Wash skin that has come into contact with flood waters, and wash your hands as soon as you reasonably can – or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

3:05pm - Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have advised Mackenzie District Council that they are expecting SH8 between Fairlie and Tekapo to open early Monday evening.

Motorists are warned there will still be surface flooding and possibly debris so they will be urged to take extreme cation.

SH79 from Fairlie - Geraldine remains closed. 

"There is significant work to do but NZTA are hopeful of getting it open tomorrow (Tuesday)."

The flooding in Selwyn at Chamberlains Ford bridge.
The flooding in Selwyn at Chamberlains Ford bridge. Photo credit: Brad Walls

2:45pm - River levels in Ashburton have been falling but it could take two or three more days to drain and people need to keep their bags packed in case stopbanks burst, Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown says.

Brown spoke alongside council chief executive Hamish Riach in the press conference.

He said while it had stopped raining the river was still full and there was still pressure on some spots.

Residents were still required to have a bag packed and be prepared to evacuate, he said. It could be another two or three days before the catchment dropped back to normal levels.

Riach said it may feel like it's "just a rainy day" but the pressure on the rural area was high with a lot of surface flooding. There were other issues including floodwaters getting into the wastewater system.

Four bridges were gone, and there were numerous roads where the seal had been lifted off the road, Brown said.

Seventeen roads were closed, including the Gorge Bridge and Rakaia Bridge - the roads to Christchurch.

Residents should avoid any unnecessary travel and remain at home, Brown said.

"There is a lot of damage, a lot of water has been swirling around, creating holes in the road, and if there's water still in them, you won't see them and your car will just drop into them."


2:35pm - There is an "extreme" water conservation notice in place for residents on Canterbury's Te Moana and Peel Forest water schemes.

The Timaru District Council is urging all residents to conserve water.

"We've had to turn off the water intakes for all our urban and rural schemes as it is too silty to treat. We need everyone to conserve water where possible.

"Boil water notices are in place for: Geraldine Urban, Downlands, Te Moana. Extreme Conservation Notice in place for: Te Moana, Peel Forest."

2:30pm -  Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown is holding a media briefing on the latest of the local floods.

Watch it below:

2:30pm - The Waimakariri River Bridge is now open. 

The Ashley River bridge on SH1 is also open, however there are temporary traffic lights in place to manage the traffic flow. There may be some delays.

Civil Defence says there is currently some misinformation out there so it is urging people to go to trusted sources for the latest.

"Please check this Facebook page and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency - South Island for the latest, accurate information."

2:20pm - Civil Defence Emergency Management Canterbury is asking people concerned about their pets to consider evacuating to pet-friendly accommodation. 

"If you are separated from your pets due to the weather and road closures and you are concerned about them please contact your local council and ask to speak to the Animal Control Team."

2:12pm - Milo the miniature horse has come in out of the rain in Little River (Christchurch) and has been warming up by the fire.

As it happened: Latest on Canterbury flooding - Monday, May 31
Photo credit: Holly Kerr-Logan

2:03pm - Mackenzie District Council has issued a precautionary boil water notice from 1:30pm on Monday. 

"A precautionary boil water notice is in place for users of the Albury water scheme (in addition to Fairlie and Allandale) as a result of increased turbidity due to the flooding. Please see the MDC website for further details."

As it happened: Latest on Canterbury flooding - Monday, May 31

2pm -  NZ Transport Agency is advising the Ashburton Bridge on SH1 is still open, however the walkway along the bridge is closed.

"Please avoid all non-essential travel."

1:50pm - The Christchurch City Council says it has recieved a new weather forecast which indicates the rain band over the region will continue to bring steady rain until around 7pm, before showers fall throughout the night.

1:45pm - The Waimakariri District Council has issued an update to its Fcebook page:

  • Mount Thomas Road, Mertons Road and Oxford Road residents can now return to their homes.
  • Residents no longer need to prepare to evacuate between Oxford Road through Southbrook and to State Highway One. This includes the area between Oxford Road, Fernside Road, Lineside Road, Marsh Road and Tuahiwi Road. Includes Southbrook industrial area.

1:30pm - A total of eight sections of State Highway remain closed in Canterbury.

South of Christchurch, State Highway 1 at Dunsandel is unlikely to open on Monday, the NZ Transport Agency says.

1:20pm - MetService says heavy rain is continuing to fall across Canterbury.

"The rain in Canterbury is expected to clear tomorrow but people still need to take care and follow the advice of local authorities as rivers will remain swollen for some time after the rain ceases, and floodwaters will also take time to recede."

1:10pm - A Christchurch Transport Operations Centre spokesperson says the Waimakariri Bridge is currently open.

"River levels are being actively monitored at both sites and both bridges remain safe to cross."

1pm - The worst of the weather on Monday is now expected to be north of the Rakaia River, with a 'red warning' in place until at least 7pm.

MetService says rain throughout Canterbury should clear on Tuesday and will be followed by several days of dry weather.

12:55pm - The deluge has left a gaping hole in a bridge on State Highway 72 in south Canterbury, between Winchester and Geraldine.

Fulton Hogan's Regan Stevenson says the bridge is a key route.

"It's opened up overnight - so we'll try build that up and get that safe over the next couple of days and hopefully have the road open for the public to use," he told Newshub.

12:50pm - It appears to be good news for Ashburton as District Mayor Neil Brown believes the wild weather is easing.

"I'm looking out the window and I can see some blue sky... which is a good sign so we're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel here now," he told Newshub. 

12:40pm - Canterbury is continuing to grapple with the widespread flooding, with officials urging people to treat flood water as if it is unsafe and contaminated.

"If you do come into contact with floodwater, change out of any wet gear and wash skin," Civil Defence says. "If you're concerned, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your local GP."

12:30pm - The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says State Highway 1 at Dunsandel south of Christchurch, currently closed due to flooding, is unlikely to reopen on Monday.

"In north Canterbury rain is continuing and we have a number of areas we need to assess, for example SH73, Porter's Pass to the West Coast , which will remain closed," Waka Kotahi NZTA journey manager Tresca Forrester said.

"The Selwyn River/ Waikirikiri deep flooding on SH1 at Dunsandel means this highway link south of Christchurch is unlikely to open today.

"Many local roads are also under water, so your local council's Facebook pages and emergency management pages are the best places to check."

12:22pm - Neil Brown, the Ashburton District Mayor, will hold a news briefing at 2pm. We'll try to bring you coverage of that as it happens.

12:20pm - Ashburton residents remain on high alert as water levels rise. Newshub's Emily O'Connell is in the area and says there are still concerns.

She says up to 4000 would be forced to evacuate should the Ashburton River burst its banks.

12:15pm - Roads are blocked on State Highway 1 north of Timaru due to flooding. One truck driver told Newshub he's been stranded since Sunday night.

12:10pm - The Waimakariri District Council is urging anyone moving stock to check for accessible routes.

"Stay safe if you need to be on the roads and look out for surface flooding," the council said in a statement.

12:05pm - Newshub reporter Holly Henry has been out and about speaking with locals in north Canterbury. She says part of the Ashley River has burst its banks, prompting locals to spring into action.

"We actually spoke to a man who has taken it upon himself to get a whole lot of grit and put that in place, to build up a bit of resistance." 

12pm - Speaking from Canterbury's Selwyn District, Newshub's Mel Logan says rain is continuing to pour.

"Akaroa has severe flooding in areas with possible contamination - residents there asked to conserve water.

"A new 'red warning' is out until 7pm - the worst [weather] expected from Rakaia north, to Amberley."

11:45am - The Christchurch City council says there are some issues with wastewater in two suburbs.

"We are currently having some issues with the waste water system in St Heliers Cres in Aranui, and on the following streets in Shirley: Warden St, Cargill Pl, North Pde, Hope St, Hercules St.

"The council currently has sucker trucks out in Shirley to help with the situation, but for the next 24 hours residents in the area are asked to avoid doing washing, and to flush toilets only when absolutely necessary."

11:35am - A 'red' warning for heavy rain is still in place in Canterbury, MetService says.

High tide has also caused flooding in Banks Peninsula's Akaroa township.

'Conserve water' notices are in place in Akaroa and further south in Timaru, with a 'boil water' notice in Geraldine.  

11:30am - The Timaru District Council says residents at Coopers Creek north of the Orari River must leave immediately.

"We are about to send out an emergency alert to residents in the Coopers Creek catchment north of the Orari River to evacuate immediately due to flooding," the council said in a statement.

"If you are in a low-lying area near Coopers Creek and it is safe to do so, you MUST LEAVE NOW.

"Go to higher ground and stay with family or friends. Check on neighbours and share this information if this won't delay you."

11:20am - Civil Defence (CDEM) says there's still ongoing dangerous conditons throughout the Canterbury region.

"Slips and floodwaters will continue to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities," CDEM Canterbury said in a statement.

"If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.

"Never try to walk, swim or drive through flood water."

11:05am - Speaking from State Highway 1 south of Christchurch, where a section between Burnham and Dunsandel is currently closed due to flooding, Newshub's Mel Logan says truckies are parked up waiting it to reopen - one since 4am

But she says reopening could be hours away with the Selwyn River needing to recede first.

The NZ Transport Agency is due to provide an update at midday.

11am - There's no signs of respite from the wild weather in Canterbury as the region remains under a state of emergency.

Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon says it's a fast-moving situation and people need to keep up to date.

"It's really important that people make as least trips as possible, and stay home and keep safe." 

10:51am - MetService has updated its severe weather warnings, with a 'red' alert remaining in place for parts of Canterbury.

"The main focus of heavy rain will be north of the Rakaia River and about the inland hills and ranges, where 50 to 90mm could accumulate untill 7pm this evening," the forecaster says.

"Away from the ranges 10 to 40mm is possible in most places, apart from Banks Peninsula where 40 to 60mm is likely. While for the area about and south of the Rakaia River and north of Geraldine, 30 to 50mm is possible about the foothills until 3pm this afternoon. 

"This rain is in addition to the large amount of which has already accumulated for this event, where rainfall totals have exceeded 400mm in some areas."

10:30am - South Canterbury's Mackenzie District Council is urging residents to be be vigilant despite water levels starting to drop.

"Please be aware that although water levels are beginning to fall rivers and streams will start to drop gravel and debris which can impact bridge abutments causing further damage," the council said in a statement.

"Fencing may have been washed away and while farmers will be working to address this, stock may not be contained and wander onto roads.

"The situation remains of concern and there is significant risk - please don't be complacent and take extreme care if venturing out."

10:20am - Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg is urging the Government to activate as many funding streams as possible to support Canterbury's flood-affected farmers.

"I've written to the Primary Industries Minister Damien O'Connor today asking him to declare an 'adverse event' for the Canterbury region. I have also asked Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni to activate Enhanced Taskforce Green as they did after the Southland floods in early 2020."

10:15am - Here's a summary of the conditions from throughout the region from Environment Canterbury: 

  • Ashburton: There is extensive surface flooding across the district and numerous road closures. No current concern at Jessops Bend on the Ashburton River which is the main breakout point that could affect the township
  • Selwyn: The Selwyn River is running in high flood. Flows have peaked at the top of the catchment and are still rising at the bottom (Coes Ford). SH1 is closed north of Dunsandel because of overflows
  • Waimakariri: Low lying areas of The Pines Beach, particularly around Dunns Ave have been advised to evacuate. Residents in the Eyre River evacuation area are now able to return to their homes.The Ashley River is starting to drop at the gorge, and is still running high through the lower reaches. Eyre and Cust river levels have started to drop.
  • Hurunui: High flows in most Hurunui District rivers, and may be some flooding along river margins
  • Kaikoura: No known issues of concern.
  • South Canterbury: Most of the rivers are now falling from peak flows but will remain high through Monday. Those living near affected rivers need to be wary of changes in river flow patterns and the potential for erosion within the riverbed as flows drop away and gravel is redistributed. New problems can arise as flows recede back to normal and adjacent landowners should monitor their own situations. Numerous road closures have occurred and are expected to remain into Monday.

10:10am - Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton says 300 people have already been evacuated across the district so far and more are on the move.

"The levels are still rising at Coes Ford and, at the moment, we're working with New Zealand Defence Force to move the last of the people that had stayed there overnight," he told Newshub. 

10am - Fresh evacuations are underway in The Pines Beach community, east of Kaiapoi in north Canterbury.

Further south, the Selwyn River has breached its banks and roads are treacherous.

Heavy rain and wind is currently showing no signs of letting up.

9:55am - A NIWA spokesperson says the wettest locations in Canterbury in the past 48 hours are approaching 400mm.

"Akaroa on Banks Peninsula had more rain in the last two days than it had the entire year to May 28."

9:50am - Local forecaster Canterbury Weather Updates says rain is inensifying on Monday morning.

"We have high intensity rainfall moving in - rates could exceed 15mm/hr in some areas," says a post on the forecaster's Facebook page.

"Please take extreme care - flooding is likely to get worse in many areas, before we see improvements."

9:40am - Christchurch's North South Holiday Park is offering free rooms to anyone affected by the evacuations.

9:30am - A wastewater facility has flooded in Ashburton, prompting a warning to avoid all contact with floodwaters.

"Avoid contact with flood waters if you can and assume they will be contaminated by sewage," the Canterbury District Health Board said in a statement.

"There is also a danger of injury from floating objects and hazards hidden below the surface. If there are power outages in your area, be wary of power lines that might be down and be even more hazardous in wet conditions.

"If you do come into contact with flood waters, change out of any wet clothes and shoes and put them aside to be washed later. Wash skin that has come into contact with flood waters, and wash your hands as soon as you reasonably can - or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser."

9:25am - Residents throughout the Timaru District are being asked to conserve water.

"This applies to all of our district water supplies," the local council says. "Our team are continuing to monitor and will provide further updates when the situation changes."

9:15am - Civil Defence is asking low-lying Pines Beach residents to evacuate immediately.

"A flood gate is stuck open and areas of The Pines Beach may be flooded," the Waimakariri District Council said in a statement.

"The Civil Defence Centre at Rangiora Baptist Church is open for people who need somewhere to stay.

"Residents on the higher sections of The Pines Beach can stay if they wish but may be isolated for some time if Beach Rd floods."

9:10am - Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown told Newshub teams are out at the moment assessing damage to infrastructure.

9:05am - Canterbury Civil Defence controller Neville Riley earlier told The AM Show many of the region's roads remain closed with a number submerged under water.

"There is surface water in many places that really is just causing problems. We don't quite know what the rain's going to do but we're keeping our fingers crossed." 

9:02am - Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown says it's been a crazy night in the district with hugely significant rainfall.

"The amount of rainfall we've had in some places is a third of our annual rainfall in 48 hours," he told Newshub. "We've had a lot of rain and our rivers are pretty full."

As it happened: Latest on Canterbury flooding - Monday, May 31
Photo credit: Jo Walker/Supplied

9am - Worsening weather is continuing to batter Canterbury and the region remains under a state of emergency.

Rain isn't letting up and winds are also in the mix.

More than 52 schools are closed across Canterbury.

8:45am - It's been confirmed the Selwyn River has breached its banks below State Highway 1.

"We are strongly urging people to stay off the roads and avoid unnecessary travel," the Selwyn District Council says.

"Please for your own safety obey all road blocks and directions by police and Civil Defence staff.

"If you have any issues please contact us on 0800 SELWYN or for any emergencies please call 111."

8:35am - The Timaru District Council says there were a small number of evacuations in the south Canterbury town of Geraldine overnight

"Local areas most affected are the Geraldine Foothills, Geraldine, Winchester and Temuka areas, as well as areas to the north of our district," the council said in a statement.

"Most river flows are steadily dropping with the exception of the Temuka and Opihi River which is still fluctuating.

"Due to surface flooding only emergency travel should be undertaken district wide."

8:25am - Canterbury Civil Defence controller Neville Riley earlier told The AM Show it's hoped the weather will settle down soon.

"[Rivers] haven't fallen far enough to say we're out of the woods of this... there are lots of road closures all around." 

8:20am - A precuationary boil water notice has been issued for the south Canterbury town of Geraldine.

"Due to high levels of turbidity (silt) at our water intakes caused by the rainfall, we have to put a precautionary boil water notice in place for the Geraldine urban supply until further notice," the Timaru District Council said in a statement.

"Please boil all water for drinking, cooking and personal uses such as toothbrushing for at least one minute."

8:15am - The Government has contributed $100,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support Canterbury communities. Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi earlier told The AM Show people need to be patient as officials work to get things back to normal.

8:05am - Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi says the siutation is a nervous wait for officials and it's going to take a while to calm down.

"It's going to be some time before, I think, the authorities give an all-clear in terms of them being confident of what the rivers are going to do," he told The AM Show earlier.

8am - Authorities are on high alert in Ashburton, with thousands of homes at risk of flooding if the river breaches its banks. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier told The AM Show the Defence Force is on the ground and the next 24 hours will be critical.

"Stop banks have help but it will be really important that we really maintain that vigilance over the next day."

7:55am - An Ashburton family that lives in the flood plains have their bags packed and are ready to leave if the river breaches its banks.

Aaron Hunt says his 80 year old father in law who is on oxygen also lives with his family.

Hunt says their plan is to go to the local marae if they need to.

"It's been a big weather bomb - it's one of the worst ones they've seen around here and definitely the worst that I've seen since I've been here," he told Newshub.

7:49am - Local forecaster Canterbury Weather Updates says there's been another spike in rainfall totals in northern parts of the region.

"While the more heavier & sustained rain has eased in southern parts of the region, for many northern areas, it's just getting started again this morning," a post on the forecaster's Facebook page said.

"Areas in Culverden, Hanmer Springs and the Kaikoura District will be more exposed to the heavier rain 'feeds' where flooding risk does increase, especially from evening.

"Our heavy rain warning remains in place for areas between Geraldine and Oxford until this evening and north of Oxford until 10pm tonight."

7:45am - A Christchurch Transport Operations Centre spokesperson says many of the city's roads have been impacted by flooding.

"There may also be a number of roads where lane restrictions have been put in place."

7:40am - Speaking to The AM Show, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there are Defence Force crews on the ground in Ashburton if they are needed to assist.

"The next 24 hours will be really critical," she told host Duncan Garner.

7:25am - Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Fafoi is on The AM Show now. He says the emergency situation remains much the same on Monday morning with more rainfall forecast until the afternoon.

He says there's likely to be "significant damage" - particularly to farmland.

7:20am - The Timaru District Council says it's slightly drier in the area on Monday morning.

"We're currently changing shift at the emergency operationscCentre and we'll have an update for you as soon as we've gathered all the information from around the district at first light," the council said in a statement.

"There's no change to our current advice not to travel as receding waters are likely to cause further roading issues."

7:10am - Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown earlier described the Canterbury state of emergency as a once in 200 year weather event.

Brown told The AM Show there was a dramatic rescue by helicopter overnight. He's pleading with people to stay home to save lives.

7:05am - Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faa'foi will join The AM Show in a few minutes. You can watch that live here.

7am - Speaking from Ashburton, The AM Show's Emily O'Connell says rain is continuing to fall in the region.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown says residents need to stay off the road.

He earlier told The AM Show thousands of people will need to evacuate if the river breaches its banks.

6:57am - Another day of heavy rain is forecast for Canterbury and rivers in the region are dangerously high. Environment Canterbury (ECAN) said on Sunday night there had been extensive breakouts on the Ashburton River.

"Environment Canterbury and Civil Defence are monitoring the event," ECAN said in a statement. "Several flow recorders in the upper Ashburton and Ashley catchments have been damaged and are not functioning."

6:50am - Anyone in Canterbury with animal welfare concerns as a result of the flooding is urged to contact the SPCA.

"MPI is also contactable on 0800 008 333 regarding any animal welfare concerns," the SPCA said in a statement.

6:45am - The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says there are 10 State Highway closures throughout Canterbury on Monday morning.

"Weather conditions could continue to worsen and water levels will remain high," Waka Kotahi NZTA South Island said in a statement.

"Canterbury residents can text the name of most local rivers to 3730 to receive free and official flood updates, including evacuation notices, from Environment Canterbury.

"You can keep up to date with State Highway conditions by checking our interactive traffic map."

6:40am -  NIWA forecaster Seth Carrier explains the intense flooding is occurring because vegetation on the East Coast isn't used to such severe weather.

"Coming into this event, the soils in Canterbury were very dry," he told Newshub. "That's only making things worse." 

6:38am - Livestock are bearing the brunt of the storm with farmers risking life and limb to protect their animals from surging waters. Deer Industry chief exeuctive Innes Moffat told Newshub on Sunday many hope their efforts will pay off.

"For those farmers who have got livestock on flat ground on the areas which are flooded, it'll have a very serious impact."

6:34am - Officials across Canterbury's Selwyn District are also on alert with a 'do not consume' notice on the Springfield water supply.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton says the district isn't out of the woods yet.

"There's going to be a lot more rain and flooding," he told Newshub on Sunday. "It depends on where that rain falls - whether it hits a particular valley or misses a particular valley... that changes where the flooding will occur."

6:30am - Three bridges have collapsed or washed away in Ashburton and officials are closely monitoring rising river levels, as the rain continues to fall.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown told The AM Show 60 people were evacuated in the town on Sunday and there was a dramatic helicopter resuce overnight. 

6:20am - MetService is warning Cantabrians to brace for more rain throughout the day.

6:14am - The Ashburton District Council says 19 roads have been closed but many more could be underwater.

Three bridges have collapsed or washed away. The council is urging people to stay home and wants residents to assume the worst if they do venture out.

Further south, the Timaru District Council is working with the Defence Force to assist vulnerable communities. They have been out in Geraldine, Winchester and Temuka.

Anyone who needs emergency assistance should call 111.

6:10am - Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown is on The AM Show now. He says there's been more heavy rain overnight but no further evacuations are needed at this stage. 

Brown says additional police and Fire and Emergency New Zealand crews have come from outside the district to assist.

He urges people to stay at home with roading conditions yet to be assessed on Monday morning. 

6:05am - The long term impacts on farmers as a result of the flooding is expected to last months. Deer Industry chief executive Innes Moffatt says the aftermath will be challenging.

"We've been looking at the rising rivers with a great deal of concern," he told Newshub on Sunday. "Fences will be damaged - they won't be able to graze that pasture for a significant amount of time."

6:03am - Canterbury residents are being reminded to cancel non-essential travel. Civil Defence said there were multiple road closures throughout the region on Sunday.

"There still could be more overnight, so please do not risk a car trip," the authority said in a statement.

6am - Speaking from Ashburton, The AM Show's Emily O'Connell says the 4000 homes on standby overnight in the mid Canterbury town overnight didn't have to evacuate.

5:50am - South Island communities are coming together to support those in need while the Canterbury state of emergency is in place, with Hakatere marae opening its doors to the many families evacuated from Ashburton.

5:45am - Multiple rescue efforts in the wake of the downpour took place on Sunday. Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers president David Clark was in the right place at the right time when he risked his life to free trapped motorists in a submerged vehicle.

"I ended up having to cut the fence into the paddock and then took a tractor out through deep and swift floodwaters to get to the car, and parked in behind the car to stop it floating off down the water any further."

5:30am - MetService said on Sunday the sudden deluge was a big concern.

"The other impact here is [the] falling over the Canterbury plains which have been so dry for so long," forecaster Sonja Farmer told Newshub. "It's not healthy to have that much rain in such a short time, in such a dry area."

5:15am - Speaking to Newshub on Sunday night, Selwyn District Mayor Sam Broughton said many residents had been urged to find higher ground.

"All of the [Selwyn] Huts have been evacuated - so there are 100 homes there - and then another 30 homes in Springfield due to the road being cut off by water."