Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Buller Emergency Management update - 17th August, 2022

Buller’s emergency operations centre will be operating all night tonight, as civil defence monitors the impact of the forecast rain, swells and high tide in the district. 

Civil Defence Controller Douglas Marshall said about 160 households in low-lying parts of Westport had been encouraged to self-evacuate as a precaution this afternoon. This was to reduce the likelihood of urgent evacuations if the situation deteriorated overnight, putting both residents and emergency responders at risk. 

Most people have made their own arrangements and only a handful have needed assistance to find accommodation. 

Anyone in Westport needing assistance tonight can call 0800 234 533 and the Recovery Hub in Palmerston St will be open again from 8am. 

Local support arrangements are also in place in Seddonville and Mokihinui in case residents need to evacuate tonight. 

Mr Marshall said the “red” weather warning for Buller extended until 7pm on Thursday so the main impacts of the heavy rain on the district was probably yet to come.  

The Mokihinui River was rising fast tonight, while latest modelling suggested the Buller River at Westport would peak mid afternoon tomorrow. A period of intense rainfall is likely from 10pm tonight until and 2am, which will add to surface flooding already developing around the district. 

This evening, surface flooding is starting to build up in a relatively small area of Westport, bounded by Derby, Mill, Brougham and Domet Streets. Mr Marshall said the water was not from the Orowaiti River but was stormwater that could not drain into the Orowaiti. Operations staff are monitoring the situation and will use portable pumps where they will be effective. 

“I know people who have evacuated today will be keen to know when it’s safe to return home. All we can say tonight is that we will assess the situation in the morning and let people know how it’s looking as soon as we can,” he said.  

In the meantime, the Police will be carrying out reassurance patrols around the town, including the evacuated areas. 

Pigeon Post News

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