RAIN EVENT #7 - Region well prepared for the night

Horizons Regional Council staff will be on standby to respond to any changing river situations overnight even though the worst of the weather should pass through.

Horizons controller Craig Grant says an updated MetService forecast predicts 50-80 millimetres of rain for the Ruapehu, upper Rangitikei and Whanganui catchments over the next eight hours, although little has arrived yet.

“We are expecting this rain band to move on from about 11pm and showers to continue until early Thursday morning,” he says.
“At this stage, updated river models suggest this extra rain won’t negatively impact previous water level predictions. However, as these catchments are already relatively saturated we will remain on alert through the night.
“We are aware the Ongarue River has overtopped its channel in the upper Ruapehu District and understand locals are coping with the overflow. This may impact SH4 and suggest people travelling in the area check in with the NZ Transport Agency.
“We have staff on standby to operate the Makino floodgates and Mangone spillway, however at this stage do not believe these will be required. If the Mangone spillway does operate floodwaters may have an impact on SH3, Rangitikei Line. The NZ Transport Agency will monitor the situation and if necessary will lower the speed limit to keep motorists safe and traffic flowing.

“The Moutoa floodgates have been in operation since 2.15am this morning, and flood defence barriers at Whanganui Yacht Club, Kowhai Park and Balgownie were deployed by 3am. These will remain in place until further notice.”

Mr Grant says due to less rainfall the river level predictions are lowering and taking longer to reach their peak.

“The main river systems we are keeping an eye on are the Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina. We are now expecting Whanganui River at Pipiriki to reach a 11.2m peak at 3am which will result in a 7.7m peak at Town Bridge at 8am.

“The Whangaehu is expected to reach a peak of 8.3m at 8.30am and the Turakina is expected to peak at 6.8m at 1.30pm. Whanganui District Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre will remain operational overnight as well.” 
Other rivers across the Region remain full but are staying within their channels and aren’t expected to cause any issues. Mr Grant says Horizons will continue to monitor these also.  
“At this stage we have no reported damage to flood protection structures. However, a NZ Defence Force Orion will undertake a comprehensive damage assessment reconnaissance flight tomorrow morning on our behalf. Provided there are no further developments over night, information gathered during this flight will help inform decisions as we transition to recovery.”

The next update will be tomorrow morning at approximately 9am. Our Manawatu Wanganui Civil Defence Facebook will continue to be updated https://www.facebook.com/civildefencemanawatuwanganui/ however staff will be taking a well deserved rest between 10pm Wednesday and 5.30am Thursday.

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