RAIN EVENT #5 Horizons activates flood defences

Horizons Regional Council activated the Moutoa floodgates at 2.15am this morning, and have deployed flood defences barriers at Whanganui Yacht Club, Kowhai Park and Balgownie due to high water levels in the Whanganui and Manawatu Rivers. Whangaehu and Turakina also remain on high alert.

Horizons controller Craig Grant says the weather patterns continue to change. Less rain that expected has fallen over the past few hours, resulting in reduced and delayed river levels compared to last night’s 10.30pm update.

 “While this still remains a significant event, it is now predicted to be on a smaller scale than that of the 2015 flood event,” says Mr Grant.

“We now expect Whanganui River to peak at Pipiriki at 13.8m around 11pm this evening. This will result in an 8.5m peak at Town Bridge at 6.45am Thursday morning.

 “Whanganui District Council declared a state of emergency yesterday and has been contacting people who live nearest the river via door knocking and phone trees. They were planning to evacuate people at 6am, however further assessment of expected weather and river level modelling may delay this urgency.”

The two Civil Defence Welfare Centres at Whanganui Girls’ College and St Paul’s Church will be open from 6am, and schools in the district are closed today.

Rangitikei District Council has also declared a state of emergency and advised residents of evacuations in the Marton area overnight. Their Whangaehu and Turakina community response plans have been activated.

“Whangaehu and Turakina property owners were contacted about the flooding of farmland, originally expected to occur this afternoon. This timeframe has now been changed to later this evening with Whangaehu expected to peak at 10m at 7.30am tomorrow morning,” says Mr Grant.

“Our Emergency Coordination Centre staff will continue to monitor as SH3 may potentially close tomorrow at approximately 10am.

“Farmers who use the Moutoa spillway were contacted prior to the floodgates opening this morning.

“The Makino is expected to peak 1.9m at 12noon today, and again 2.4m at 12.30am Thursday. Farmers who use the Makino spillway will be updated as gate operations are likely.

“We continue to be in constant contact with Whanganui and Rangitikei District Councils, as well as well as agencies including NZTA, NZ Police, NZ Defence Force and the Fire Service.”

The next update will be at approximately 10am. Our Manawatu Wanganui Civil Defence Facebook will continue to be updated https://www.facebook.com/civildefencemanawatuwanganui/

Members of the public are advised to take care while driving. As weather and road conditions can change rapidly, we advise people to check the status of roads before they start their journey. 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.

For weather forecasting information please see www.metservice.co.nz