Manawatu Gorge surges with Cyclone Debbie

By Alecia Rousseau

Water levels are rising in the Manawatu as the remnants of Cyclone Debbie continue to hover over the region.

Horizons Regional Council activated the Moutoa Floodgates just after 2am this morning and expected the Whanganui River levels to peak at 11pm this evening.

Horizons controller Craig Grant said the weather pattern had continued to change and less rain than expected had fallen.

This had resulted in reduced and delayed river levels compared to last night's 10.30pm update.

However he said this was still a significant event but levels were not likely to reach those of the June 2015 floods.

Gate operations on the Makino spillway were also likely.

Water explodes through a gap in the Manawatu Gorge. Photo / Alecia Rousseau
Water explodes through a gap in the Manawatu Gorge. Photo / Alecia Rousseau

"The Makino is expected to peak 1.9m at noon today, and again 2.4m at 12.30am Thursday," he said.

The wild weather has also seen downed trees in Ashhurst and slips on the Manawatu Gorge and Pahiatua Track.

The biggest slip is located on the track, which is now closed for the next to three days as contractors work to clear the debris.

The Manawatu Gorge is also down to one lane after rockfalls last night during heavy rainfall.

State Highway 56 to Opiki is also closed due to flooding.

Power outages have been steadily reported across the region.

The first was yesterday morning when a tree fell onto powerlines on Valley Road in Ashhurst.

This affected more than 500 properties in the Ashhurst-Pohangina area.

This morning Linton and Colyton residents were also without power. A fallen tree means 48 Colyton properties will be without power until at least 4pm.

Powerco's website states they are investigating the cause of the Linton outage affecting 63 properties. Power is expected to be back on in this area by 1pm.

- Manawatu Guardian

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