New Zealand issues thunderstorm warning for some parts after weekend wild weather

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MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - New Zealand's meteorological service issued severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of the country on Sunday (Dec 8) after wild weather over the weekend caused flooding, road closures and landslides.

The Timaru district in New Zealand's South Island has been in a state of emergency since last Saturday after heavy downpours caused widespread flooding.

The weather has also caused havoc around Wellington, New Zealand's capital, with roads closed and the public urged to avoid flood waters and the sea until further notice, according to information posted on some city councils' social media sites.

"Thunderstorms are expected to bring strong winds and squally conditions," MetService, New Zealand's meteorological service, said on Twitter.

Radio New Zealand reported on Sunday that there were several tourists stranded at a campground in Whataroa, a small township on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, which was cut off by slips and washouts.

The owner of a backpacker hostel and campground in Whataroa, Ms Madeleine Dennehy, said a few campervans had arrived at her hostel in early hours on Sunday seeking shelter.

"There are flooding signs there but people don't understand what happens to our rivers here, that they just go nuts," RNZ cited Ms Dennehy as saying.

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