One year since MetService's red weather warning for Canterbury, farmers still recovering

Today marks a year since MetService issued a rare red weather warning - the most severe of forecasts for Canterbury.

Five hundred and forty millimetres of rain fell during the three-day event. Several Ashburton farms bore the brunt, and many remain vulnerable today.

Steep banks of shingle show the path carved by floodwaters, holes gouged as rivers burst their banks.

"We've got water features like you wouldn't believe now," farmer Darryl Butterick told Newshub.

A lot has healed in the past year, but Butterick's dry stock farm will never look like it did before the flood.

"That's all shingle, it's all just covered in weeds."

Around 10 percent still resembles a riverbed, and 20 percent still needs fencing.

"This where we're stood here has only been stitched up in the last six weeks, we've basically had no river protection here for the last 10 months."

Leaving Butterick exposed and vulnerable.

"We've been pretty twitchy every time it rains."

The same feeling is felt at Chris Allen's farm, despite repairing 98 percent of on-farm damage.

"We are very vulnerable right now, it will be a nervous three or four years, five years until all the work has been done."

Environment Canterbury is yet to complete even half the flood repair work in public areas like rivers.

So far, repairs have topped $10 million, by the time the job is finished that's expected to double.

It costs $4 million to fix the roads that took a hammering, and it's estimated it'll cost another $40 million to ensure the town doesn't find itself cut in half again like it did when the Ashburton Bridge slumped.

"It's fit for purpose, it's been prepared, but you never know when the next event is that will take it out," Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown said.

The Ashburton District Council has been investigating a second bridge for more than a decade, and residents will have to keep waiting a bit longer.

The plan at this stage is to not even start building it for another four years.

MetService has issued a number of severe weather alerts in the last year, and if it's anything to go by the concerns of farmers like Butterick are justified.