Severe weather hits southern New Zealand

Wellington: Another wave of severe weather has hit southern New Zealand and trapped athletes of an ongoing seven-day ultramarathon, as North Island residents are cleaning the mud left by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Six athletes have been airlifted to the Queenstown Lakes Hospital after 110 athletes were trapped by severe storms and flooding near Arrowtown in New Zealand’s South Island, local media reported on Wednesday.

The athletes suffered from symptoms of mild hypothermia after being rescued from rising floodwaters, and were in stable condition in the hospital, organizers said.

Several athletes have been evacuated by helicopter, and another 90 people remained in the area on Wednesday to prepare for the resumption of the ultramarathon event on Thursday.

The Southern Lakes Ultra Marathon, a 250 km annual race, began on Friday and will last for a week.

MetService, the weather forecast agency, issued a heavy rain warning for the Otago region on Wednesday.

Cyclone Gabrielle, which has lashed the North Island over the past week, left 11 people dead, followed by widespread power outages, flight cancellations and school closures.


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