RAIN EVENT #3 - Significant flood levels for Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina Rivers

Significant rainfall in the upper catchments of the Region is expected to result in increased flood levels on the Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina Rivers.

Horizons controller Ged Shirley says this afternoon’s rainfall, combined with an updated Metservice forecast of 150-250 millimetres of rain for the next 36 hours, has impacted previous river level predictions.

“We are now expecting Whanganui at Pipiriki to peak at 17.7m at 1pm tomorrow. This will result in an approximate 9.3m peak at Town Bridge at 8pm tomorrow which is similar to 2015 levels.

“The Whangaehu is expected to peak at 15.3m at 3pm, which is 4m higher than 2004, and is likely to close SH3 at approximately 11am. The Turakina is expected to peak at 11.6m at 6.45pm.”

Mr Shirley says Whanganui District Council have declared a state of local emergency this evening and are planning for evacuations as required.

“Horizons are currently calling landowners in the Whangaehu and Turakina areas to advise moving stock and possessions. We are also contacting landowners who use the Moutoa and Makino spillways as floodgate operations are likely tomorrow morning.”

Rivers across the rest of the Region are still responding to today’s rainfall, and while they are coping so far, Horizons will also be keeping a close eye on these.

“Metservice is predicting approximately 150 millimetres of rain for the Tararua and Ruahine ranges over the next 24 hours which could impact the likes of the Ohau and Waikawa catchments in Horowhenua.

Mr Shirley said Horizons had a conference call with all city/district councils and supporting agencies this afternoon to ensure they were fully briefed on the situation.

“Support agencies such as Police, NZ Defence Force, NZ Transport Agency and Red Cross are on alert and getting prepared to help as required. City and district councils are dealing with requests for sandbags, local road closures and will lead evacuations as they become necessary. 

“We’d like to remind people to look out for their friends, family and neighbours, watch out for surface flooding or slips and take care when driving. High winds may also cause power outages and bring trees down in areas.”

The next update will be provided tonight, following a 7.30pm meeting.

Members of the public are advised to take care while driving and check the AA’s website, http://maps.aa.co.nz for information on road conditions.

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