19 Jan 2024

Westland declares state of emergency, Coast prepares for deluge

10:02 pm on 19 January 2024

Westland's mayor says there will be no mandatory evacuations across the district tonight, with officials confident rivers are handling the deluge well.

Helen Lash says with State Highway six now closed from Ross to Makarora, police are out ensuring the road is clear before the second belt of rain makes its way up the coast later tonight.

The Waiho River in Franz Josef is expected to peak about 2am, with the Hokitika River expected to follow around 10am

The rivers are being closely monitored overnight and Helen Lash says if there is any risk to people, they will be advised to move accordingly.

Earlier this afternoon, a local State of Emergency was declared for Westland and State Highway 6 between Hokitika and Haast is now closed.

The heaviest rain to hit Westland is now expected to arrive on Friday evening.

A heavy rain red warning is in place for the region, until Saturday morning, with 500 to 700 mm of rain expected to accumulate about the ranges, and 100 to 200 mm about the coast.

The worst of it is expected between 10pm Friday and 6am Saturday.

Read back on Friday's weather updates from RNZ below:

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