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26 Mar, 2019 16:40

Onlookers watch in horror as NZ bridge BREAKS APART during intense flooding (VIDEOS)

Onlookers watch in horror as NZ bridge BREAKS APART during intense flooding (VIDEOS)

As torrential rain and strong winds continue to batter New Zealand’s South Island, local residents captured the moment that flood waters swept away a bridge, further compounding infrastructure chaos in the region.

The Waiho River Bridge, south of the Franz Josef township on New Zealand’s South Island, was swept away during the unprecedented rainfall, breaking apart piece by piece before being swept away downstream. Another bridge was also damaged during the downpour.

Rivers have burst their banks and over 300km of highway has been closed due to flooding caused by an “atmospheric river” of pressure from Australia’s recent cyclone, creating an “exceptional” amount of rain, according to the West Regional Council rescue coordination center. Some areas are expected to experience half a meter of rain.

“It’s been 20 years since we’ve seen the rain levels that we’re currently seeing at Milford sound, 430mm in the gauge already recorded there,” meteorologist Georgina Griffiths explained, Newshub reports.

Some 11 people had to be rescued after they became trapped by rising floodwaters while around 50 people, including many tourists, were placed in emergency accommodation in a local town hall to see out the storm.

Though there have been no reports of injuries throughout the extreme weather, local authorities have declared a state of emergency as a precaution.

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