STORM EVENT #2 - Horizons Regional Council activates Emergency Operations Centre

The Horizons Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated at 12 noon today following continued weather patterns causing significant disruption across the Region. In accordance with this activation a number of Horizons teams are now operating out of the Council’s boardroom at Regional House in Palmerston North and across districts throughout the Manawatu-Whanganui Region. 

Other EOCs that have been activated across the Region include Ruapehu District Council, Tararua District Council, and Manawatu District Council, as well as the NZ Transport Agency. 

Horizons controller Michael McCartney says the heavy rain forecasted for the Horowhenua and Manawatu catchments has been steadily falling at low levels since early this morning, resulting in river levels continuing to rise. “River management staff closed the Makino floodgates at 10.30am this morning, which will likely remain closed for another 3-4 hours depending on stormwater levels.

“We’re also closely monitoring rivers and streams in Horowhenua with concentrated rain falling in the Tararua Ranges. We are liaising with the district council about potential flooding of properties in the Waikawa area as well as the possibility of flood water crossing the State Highway near Manakau.

“In Palmerston North, the Mangaone Steam is expected to reach its first peak today at about 3pm. Another band of rain is forecast for tonight, with a second peak predicted for tomorrow morning. Either of these peaks may mean the spillway will self-activate. Staff will be contacting affected landowners.

“While there is an expected break in the rain this afternoon, another heavy bout is predicted for early tomorrow morning. The Manawatu River will continue to rise over this period, with our staff on standby for activating the Moutoa floodgates sometime tomorrow.

Mr McCartney says Horizons is working closely with all territorial authorities, many of which are experiencing localised flooding issues. In the Tararua district, residents in Pahiatua may be evacuated.

“Road closures are isolating some of our communities such as Ohakune and Raetihi, where over half a metre of snow has fallen. This has resulted in power outages, affecting water plants and pumps and the possibility of wastewater overflow into waterways.

“Some parts of our communities are cut off, with snow causing power outages and interrupting travel plans. We encourage people to check on their friends, families, and neighbours and share resources wherever possible. 

The Pahiatua Track is down to one lane, Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is closed, and the Saddle Road is to be used with caution. Further north, State Highway One from Hunterville through the Desert Road, as well as all roads surrounding the Central Plateau are closed.

“Our hydrologists will continue to work closely with Metservice to keep up-to-date with weather predictions.”

The next update will be provided later today, following a 4pm meeting.

Further information will be shared via our Manawatu-Wanganui Civil Defence social media pages:
Twitter: @MW_CivilDefence

Members of the public are advised to check the status of roads before they start their journey, as some are closed. People can call 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) or visit or


Up-to-date information on river heights and rainfall is available via Horizons 24 hour toll-free Waterline 0508 4 FLOOD or via our Environmental Data page.

For weather forecasting information please see