Whanganui brace themselves for flood warning

Horizons Regional Council hydrology and emergency management staff are keeping an eye on river levels over the next 24 hours with further heavy rain forecast in the Manawatu, Taranaki and Whanganui areas. 

Residents of Te Tai Hauāuru are concerned as the Whanganui and Waitōtara Rivers rise rapidly.

Whanganui resident Jay Rerekura told Te Kāea, “I think 1st up people are worried about the houses that have already been damaged in 2015. Atm the awa is looking pretty sweet, doesn't look like there's too much action. At 4pm we're expecting high tide to come in and things might change from there."

The Pipiriki boat launch was underwater at 11am this morning with water levels expected to reach a 9m peak.

"We've had updates from Pipiriki to say that the river's higher than usual at this time. The rains been continuous since all of last night and doesn't look set to stop until sometime tomorrow afternoon."

Although the Whanganui River is not expected to flood, barrier operators are on standby just in case.

"At the moment things look ok but things looked ok in 2015 too. There are some concerned people the council is very concerned Red Cross is set up down at the river at the moment. Plans have been put into action to a certain degree but we haven't been given the flood warning at this stage."

Waitōtara Valley Rd is closed and Ngamatapouri School was evacuated with locals advised to have getaway kits on standby.

"At home we have our emergency kit. We've got water, batteries, torches, kai, canned kai, towels, a change of clothes, most people in Whanganui probably have something straight after the floods. I think we're pretty well prepared."

The Whangaehu and Turakina rivers are likely to cause flooding issues for surrounding farmland. Rain is expected to fall across the headwaters of the Whanganui and Manawatū catchments.