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Wanganui wakes to worst flood on record

Wanganui residents are waking up to the city’s biggest flood in recorded history.

About 200 people have been evacuated form 100 properties while a large number of residents have also self evacuated.

A state of emergency was declared in Wanganui late yesterday afternoon with Taranaki and Rangitikei following.

The Whanganui River spilled over into the city overnight and breached stop banks along Anzac Parade. 

The lower Wanganui CBD was flooded overnight. PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY The lower Wanganui CBD was flooded overnight. PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY

Horizons Regional Council recorded the Whanganui River reaching a peak of 9.1 metres at Town Bridge at 3am, with a flow rate of 4,690 cubic metres per second.

This morning water covered Taupo Quay and up to the lower part of Victoria Ave and parallel streets. CBD streets were blocked at Ridgeway St from Market Pl.

Members of the public have been coming in town to observe the damage but have been turned away from the water’s edge and extra cordon tape has been put up. 

Last night's flooding in Wanganui was the worst on record. PHOTO/ ZARYD WILSON Last night’s flooding in Wanganui was the worst on record. PHOTO/ ZARYD WILSON

Horizons incident controller Michael McCartney says it has been a challenging night in Wanganui as flood levels exceeded the flood protection standards for parts of Wanganui.

“Surface flooding is expected to recede as river levels drop. Thankfully the weather forecast is looking up but we’re aware as people return to their properties there is going to be a big clean-up to face,” Mr McCartney said.

Many properties will not be able to be accessed until Monday at the earliest and it is more likely to be Tuesday before people can return to their properties as they will need to be cleaned and limed due to sewage contamination.

Evacuated areas will continue to be cordoned off and the cordons will be manned.

In addition, Police mobile patrols are on duty throughout the community.

The Whanganui River level seems to have stabilised and no significant increase in flooding is expected. However, it is likely to take all day Sunday for the roads to clear of floodwater.

This morning Merservice lifted the heavy rain warnings for the central and lower North Island.

– NZME for more news, photos and video – visit 


Guest on 21/06/2015 2:24am

What did Philip say last week? Its just a little storm and nothing out of the ordinary??!!! Hokitika 200 plus mm, Palmy Nrth and Wanganui underwater, inland Canty a snowy state…omg hes an Aucklander and lost touch!!

WW Forecast Team on 21/06/2015 5:41am

We said the snow wasn’t going to be a major snow storm – and it wasn’t. Yes it reached lower levels in Canterbury than we forecast – but snow falling does not equal a storm no matter how much it’s in the news. The heavy stuff stayed where we said it would be and the serious amounts were at the heights we said.  We have to look at all weather systems from a nationwide approach – the majority of NZers were not adversly affected by this system – that’s about 4 million people saying “what storm?”.  We predicted “torrential” rain for the West Coast and heavy rain for the western side of the North Island. The flooding in Wanganui the only thing on your severe list we failed to forecast and was caused by a very narrow band of rain that stalled over the area.  There are only three of us at WeatherWatch providing a free service up against 70 forecasters at MetService with millions of tax funding a year. I’m proud of what we did this past week and I stand by our forecasts and my comments about this event.

– Philip Duncan

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