Flood gates won't be opened
Wet blanket smothers ManawatuCHRIS HYDE AND SANDRA CROSBIE
LATEST: Properties in central Feilding are prone to flooding and the streamwater that submerged backyards in the town was "to be expected", Horizons Regional Council says.
Backyards on North St in particular were submerged in water from the Makino Stream as a result of the deluge of rain yesterday.
Group Manager Operations of Horizons Regional Council Allan Cook said people often had an expectation that water would not get onto low lying terraces in Feilding and this was not the case.
Reid's Line flood gates were closed for approximately 3.5 hours yesterday afternoon with 12.5 cubic metres of water per second being diverted from the Reid's Line floodway down to the Kiwitea Stream.
''There was a significant flow from the hill country and the channel was quite full. The water diverted would otherwise have gone into the township," Mr Cook said.
"The amount of water which flowed down to the Rata Street end of Makino Stream was what was to be expected.''
The Moutoa Flood gates will not be opened, despite the Manawatu River reaching levels higher than expected.
Horizons Regional Council incident controller Ged Shirley said the river peaked at 7.7 metres last night.
"This meant we had a gate opening crew there from 4am but a decision has been made not to open the gates and the crew will be stood down from 10am," Shirley said.
The Oroua River also peaked higher than expected overnight but had since gone down and the Makino and Mangaone Streams had also dropped.
The Rangitikei River was being held well within its stopbanks at Tangimoana and Scotts Ferry, Shirley said.
About 100 people in a tiny settlement south of Whanganui are cut off, with the only road out about 3 metres deep in water overflowing from the Turakina River.
"You can see the power poles sticking out of the water but you can't see the fences," resident Liz Hawes said.
She said the river on Turakina Beach Rd was at a similar level during 2004 Manawatu floods, which cut power and phone lines for several days and caused damage to Tini Waitara Marae.
With no shops or petrol stations, and no way for milk trucks to get in, it was possible the farming community would be living off "an enormous supply of milk" in the next few days, Hawes said.
"Like so many other isolated towns we're all pulling together and although it's not looking good at the moment, we'll get through it," she said.
State highways were closed this morning, power was knocked out, soldiers deployed and rivers swelled as a wet blanket smothered Manawatu and surrounding areas.
State Highway 56 at Opiki remained closed at 10.30am, with one lane on State Highway 3 at the Whangaehu Bridge now open.
Power remained out to about 200 homes this morning, including parts of Mangaweka, Taihape and Ruahine, many of who had been without power since the storm struck on Monday.
Powerco network operations manager Phil Marsh said most homes could expect to have power restored tonight.
''Many of the power cuts could have been avoided if people had contacted suitably qualified tree trimmers to have their trees cut or trimmed before they caused a problem.''
More than 40 millimetres of rain fell in Palmerston North from midnight to 6pm yesterday with 14.6mm falling in two hours during the afternoon.
The deluge saw State Highways 54 and 4 closed due to slips covering the road, while there was surface flooding in Feilding and Palmerston North.
The Turakina Valley Rd was also closed at times due to numerous slips.
About 21,000 properties across Wairarapa, Manawatu, Whanganui and South Taranaki lost power at some point in the past two days.
A local state of emergency was declared in Whanganui overnight as the river burst its banks.
About 110 homes and 50 businesses had been evacuated overnight amid rising water levels.Soldiers from Linton were sent to Whanganui to sandbag stopbanks overnight.
Horizons Regional Council staff were monitoring the Whanganui River and concerns remained this morning with another high tide due at 9am.
The Rangitikei and Manawatu rivers peaked earlier yesterday afternoon, while the spillway on the Makino Stream in Feilding was activated due to rising water levels.
There was surface flooding across Manawatu, with various roads closed.
Ohakune was badly affected, with 71mm of rain in the 24 hours from 8am yesterday causing flooding that damaged some roads in the area.
Severe weather warnings for the region were lifted, but more rain is expected throughout the next two days.
MetService has forecast showers to ease this evening, with light rain possible on Thursday and Friday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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