Filming of 'The Hobbit' has been affected by widespread flooding on New Zealand's South Island [Al Jazeera]

Torrential rain has caused havoc in New Zealand, resulting in widespread flooding in the South Island, along with more than 50 mudslides. The army was called in to help with evacuations and the clearing of fallen trees.

The heavy downpours also caused filming of 'The Hobbit' to be cut short by a couple of days.

A state of emergency was declared in the Nelson region due to the severity of the floods. Here we had almost two months worth of rain in only 24 hours. Nelson had 148mm of rain on Wednesday alone. Meanwhile, Brook recorded 329 mm with 368 mm of rain in Anatoki. Takaka had even more in the same period notching up a staggering 423mm.

The Civil Defence said the totals were “well in excess” of a one-in-100 year event. Many people were forced from their homes and in Golden Bay a dam collapsed on Wednesday evening.

Roads and footpaths near the Matai River, which runs through Nelson were eroded away as the river breached its banks in several places. At least 50 houses have been damaged by the flooding and landslides as mud and debris forced occupants to flee their homes.

It is possible that many dairy farmers will have to dump several days worth of milk because of the blocked or washed away roads that are now preventing tankers from making their collections.

The storm clouds are currently moving across the North Island, and although the rain here may not be quite as heavy, flooding is expected here too, albeit relatively minor by comparison. Around 100 mm of rain was reported in Auckland on Wednesday and another 60 mm is forecast in the next 24 hours.

Source: Al Jazeera