STORM EVENT #1 - Manawatū-Whanganui Region on weather watch

Horizons Regional Council’s emergency management, river management and hydrology staff have been monitoring weather conditions and their effects on waterways across the Region overnight.

The Horizons Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) has not been activated, however staff are operating at a high level across the Region as snow and rain continues to cause river levels to rise and roads to be closed. 

Horizons controller Ramon Strong says heavy rain forecasted for the Horowhenua and Manawatū catchments are where the most caution is currently being placed.

“MetService’s severe weather warning this morning says heavy rain is expected at times until early Friday morning, with the heaviest falls during today. In the 22 hours from 9am Thursday to 7am Friday, the higher parts of Manawatu should expect about 120 to 170 mm to accumulate about the hills and ranges, “says Mr Strong. 

“River management staff have assessed the Makino Stream in Feilding this morning and a decision was made at 10.30am to close the Makino floodgates.

“With the heavy rain concentrated on the Tararua Ranges we’re also keeping a close eye on the rivers and stream in the Horowhenua District.

“There is likely to be a lot of water moving through the Manawatū River over the next few days, although how much rain we receive later today and overnight will dictate just how high the river rises. At this stage it is not anticipated that the Moutoa floodgates will be opened until sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning, if at all.

“In Palmerston North, the Mangaone is expected to reach its first peak today at about 2pm. Another band of rain is forecast for later this evening which may push that stream higher.”

Mr Strong says Horizons is working closely with all territorial authorities, with some towns and Palmerston North City experience drain issues.

“While heavy snow has fallen in areas such as the Ruapehu district and the Ruahine Range/Pohangina Valley, it is causing less of a concern at present. However it may become more of a concern if the weather system brings slightly warmer air and more rain.

“That being said, we are aware of areas that have been cut off and ask everyone to remain inside, avoid the roads and be cautious of falling trees and power outages.

“The Defence Force are also on standby, particularly for areas such as the Saddle Road.

“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 Manawatū-Whanganui 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 Enviromental Data page.

For weather forecasting information please see