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Emergency planning well under way for Westland weather event

The forecast heavy rainfall for Westland is still expected, with significant rainfall forecast in the ranges and localised areas of the region from now through to tonight.

West Coast Emergency Management Group Controller, Te Aroha Cook says residents and visitors to the Coast should not get complacent.

“South Westland is experiencing heavy falls now, and they will be moving up the West Coast this afternoon and this evening. We’re expecting at least another 350 – 550mm in the ranges over the next 24 hours, which will have an impact on roads and rivers.”

The Waiho River has reached its first alarm level – which is triggered at 8m – and is expected to rise steadily, peaking at around 2am Saturday morning. The Hokitika River is experiencing intense rainfall in the ranges and is expected to peak at 10am tomorrow morning.

“High tide in Hokitika is around 7am tomorrow, so our teams will be keeping an eye on river levels through the night,” Te Aroha says.

The Grey District is under an Orange weather watch with rainfall of around 25-30mm/hr expected to arrive in Grey later tonight. That watch has also extended into Buller tonight.

Te Aroha Cook says preparations are well under way to ensure any help needed will be on hand. Emergency Services have also bolstered their numbers in the region with additional staff in Franz Josef, Haast, Hokitika and Greymouth.

“We’ve got around 1500 people in Franz Josef at the moment, and there’s a lot of traffic on the road. We strongly advise people to take extra care on the roads and keep up to date with road conditions and weather conditions.”

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