STORM EVENT #3 - Manawatu-Whanganui Region to continue monitoring weather affects overnight

Horizons Regional Council EOC controller Michael McCartney says today’s heavy rain is expected to turn to showers overnight, with another weather pattern looking to move over the Manawatu-Whanganui Region in the morning. 

“MetService says this may bring up to 100 millimetres of rain in the Tararuas on Friday, which is more than we saw today, as well as more snow in the northern part of the Region,” says Mr McCartney.

“We have teams monitoring all of our river management assets, including staff who are on standby at  the Moutoa floodgates in anticipation of opening them early tomorrow morning.

“Affected landowners have been rung to ensure stock are moved tonight.

“The Makino floodgates in Feilding were closed earlier today and will remained closed overnight.

“In Palmerston North, the Mangaone Steam is expected to activate the spillway tomorrow morning, which may affect some roads in the Milson Line area.

“Our EOC will be staffed overnight. Of the other EOCs activated in the Region, Ruapehu District Council’s EOC will also be staffed overnight, and Tararua District Council and Manawatu District Councils will continue to monitor the situation.

“All territorial authorities participated in a conference call at 4pm today, with road closures and power outages being the major issues across the Region.

Ruapehu has had significant snow fall, which left Ohakune, Whakapapa, and Raetihi without power, possibly overnight. A welfare centre was set up earlier today at Ruapehu District Council’s service centre in Ohakune.

Tourists have made use of this facility, and depending on whether the power comes back on, may remain open overnight for tourists and residents who are seeking support.

Power outages have affected water plants and pumps in the area and means there is a possibility of wastewater overflow into waterways.

Earlier reports of vehicles stranded on State Highway 4 in the Parapara Ranges are now confirmed to be safe, while localised flooding in the Tararua district is under control and no properties evacuated.

While Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is closed, the Pahiatua Track and Saddle Road are open. Further north, State Highway One from Hunterville through the Desert Road, as well as all roads surrounding the Central Plateau are closed.
 
“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,” says Mr McCartney.

“Many farmers will be concerned with their stock welfare. To ensure they are safe, move animals to sheltered areas. Shelter belts which are properly laid out and orientated, are better protection for stock than confining shelters, such as sheds. Make sure there is water supply available as most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration, and if there is no power, make sure your stock are secure.
 
“There is a great deal of water around, and for now we can’t say how the snow will contribute to this once it starts melting. However, we are pleased with how our river management assets are holding up.

“Any surface water and drainage overflow that the public may be witnessing is to be expected during this type of weather event.”

This will be the last media release tonight, unless the situation changes.

Further information will be shared via our Manawatu-Wanganui Civil Defence social media pages: https://www.facebook.com/civildefencemanawatuwanganui/
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

•             www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/8
•             www.facebook.com/nztacni
•             www.twitter.com/NZTACNI

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 www.metservice.co.nz