Earthquakes, rain, wind and fire – but no plague, poverty, pestilence or boy racer headlines

Hugh Grant...he cheered up Alf with his fashion advice.

It’s hard to find good news at Stuff – or anywhere else – this morning.

The poor buggers in Canterbury, already facing a massive cleanup from the quake, could still be hit by floods from rising rivers.

The Stuff reporters tell us emergency services, councils and other agencies were called yesterday to “numerous instances” of felled trees and power lines.

Some of these fallen trees and lines knocked out power and blocked roads, “as high winds hammered the region in the wake of Saturday’s pre-dawn magnitude 7.1 earthquake.”

It could have been worse.

The weather overnight was not as severe as authorities feared, but flooding could yet hit the region as stopbanks weakened by the quake may not be able to withstand rising waters.

Civil Defence said the Waimakariri River could burst its stopbanks today if it continued to rise at the expected rate.

Engineers would this morning inspect the stopbanks.

About 150 people were evacuated from a holiday park near Kaiapoi yesterday as a precaution.

Canterbury also continues to be rocked by aftershocks, with dozens of quakes of up to 4.8 magnitude striking ov

BAD NEWS ITEM 2:

The authorities in Lower Hutt are braced for flooding , too.

Concern over possible flooding of Wellington’s Hutt River has seen Civil Defence activate an emergency plan for the area this morning.

This follows exceptionally heavy rainfall in the Tararua Ranges.

Block Rd, Melling has been closed, and police say other roads will also be affected.

BAD NEWS ITEM 3

They’ve got flooding in the Horowhenua-Manawatu.

Motorists were being advised to take caution along State Highway 57 between Levin and Palmerston North after heavy overnight rain caused severe surface flooding and slips.

Emergency services and council workers were cleaning up slips and surface flooding along sections of the highway.

BAD NEWS ITEM 4

Over on Alf’s side of the Rimutakas and Tararuas, an ambulance blew over while attending a crash in which a van had been blown on its side in severe winds.

Police advised motorists to take extreme care as the Wellington region was lashed by gales yesterday.

But the warning came too late for the ambulance attending an accident near Cross Creek Rd, in Wairarapa, where a gust overturned a van, trapping the driver.

When the Wellington Free Ambulance reached the site, south of Featherston, just after 5pm, it too was blown over by a massive gust.

Two paramedics suffered minor to moderate injuries and were taken to Masterton Hospital by another vehicle sent to the site.

The driver of the van also suffered minor to moderate injuries and was taken to hospital.

BAD NEWS ITEM 5

Then there are reports of the crash of the sky-diving plane in Fox Glacier killing all aboard on Saturday.

Nine people – four of them tourists – were killed when a Skydive New Zealand plane piloted by Chaminda Senadhira, 33, crashed into a field and exploded just seconds after takeoff.

Transport accident investigators are reported to be confident they will find “most, if not all”, of the reasons for New Zealand’s worst air accident in 17 years, despite fire causing massive damage to the aircraft.

BAD NEWS ITEM 6

Down south, an Otatara couple received severe cuts after breaking a window in their bedroom to escape a fire in their home yesterday.

Invercargill senior station officer Alan Goldsworthy said it was “very close” to being a fatal fire.

He said a “saving grace” for the couple was that their bedroom door was closed, as this held the fire and a lot of the smoke back long enough to allow them to escape.

There did not appear to be a working smoke alarm in the house, he said.

The two were in a satisfactory condition in Southland Hospital yesterday.

At that point of his morning run through the Scoop headlines, Alf had become depressed and was struggling with his bacon and eggs..

BUT HERE COMES THE GOOD NEWS:

For starters, New Zealand scored a 13-10 win over England in this morning’s final of the women’s World Cup rugby tournament and secured their fourth title in London.

Good on ’em.

Oh, and then there’s an item in which Hugh Grant Hugh advises older blokes not to dress like bloody teenagers.

He says he finds it embarrassing when his peers try to look stylish. He prefers to dress his age, which is 49 (still a spring chicken alongside Alf).

“I think there is a tendency for all of us over 30 to dress too young.”

This was enormously cheering to Alf, who does not make the mistake of dressing too young.

Before signing off, dressing up in clobber befitting his years and wandering down to the Eketahuna Club to discuss things like the weather and the night’s heavy rainfall, Alf offers his own bit of good news.

It’s the absence of a certain genre of bad news.

Where are the headlines about Christchurch’s boy racers?

Hurrah. It seems the earthquake has done what new legislation and police crackdowns could not do.

It has immobilised the buggers.

Oh, and let the record show there have been no reports about plague, poverty or pestilence.

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