Whanganui floods: Low-lying areas hit, worst for rowing club in three years

After heavy rain the Whanganui River has caused minor flooding around Whanganui City.

Recent rain has caused flooding in multiple locations along the Whanganui River.

Those areas include the Aramoho Rowing Club, over the boardwalk next to the town bridge, and Moutoa Quay, as well as the road at Kowhai Park nearest the river, which goes under the Dublin bridge.

Metservice meteorologist April Clark said central Whanganui had 10mm of rainfall between 9am Thursday and 9am Friday. Pipiriki got 20mm in that period.

Water levels for the Whanganui River at Pipiriki peaked at nearly 9.5m around 10.40pm on Thursday, and river levels at the Town Bridge peaked at almost 7.5m at midnight on Thursday.

Club secretary Grader Knowles said the club floods once every year on average, but this flood is the worst they’d had in the past three years.

Flooding at the Aramoho rowing club about midday on Friday.  Photo / Bevan Conley
Flooding at the Aramoho rowing club about midday on Friday. Photo / Bevan Conley

However, the club was well prepared.

“We got the word from Pipiriki, from Niwa, and they let us know how high the water is up there,” Knowles said.

From those water levels, the club knew the water was likely to reach their grounds and moved their boats off of the lower racks of the clubhouse and put barriers in place to attempt to stop the water from getting in.

Knowles said this was the first time the club had been able to use the barriers so he was unsure if they would work.

Despite the barriers, some water did make it inside the ground floor of the club, but Knowles was confident there would be no damage to the club or equipment.

The next job for the club would be to determine where the water got in from and to clean the river mud off the grounds once the water goes back down.

Knowles was hoping they would be able to start cleaning up on Sunday.

Whanganui residents were advised to avoid low-lying areas in town because of high river levels.

Civil Defense’s Tim Crowe said river levels were the highest he had seen in a while and advised people to be careful when near the river.

Whanganui people have been alerted to avoid the wooden river walkway.  Photo / Bevan Conley
Whanganui people have been alerted to avoid the wooden river walkway. Photo / Bevan Conley

Parts of the river boardwalk in Whanganui were submerged around 12pm on Friday as river levels peaked at the town bridge.

Papaiti Rd had been closed about 1km past Mosquito Point because of a slip, and road crews were on site to repair the road.

River levels compared to previous floods.  Photo / Bevan Conley
River levels compared to previous floods. Photo / Bevan Conley

There were also minor slips on the Whanganui River Rd, but it remained open.

Crowe said Civil Defense had kept in close communication with communities along the river road as the high river levels came close to breaching their stopbanks.

He did not expect any major flooding to occur in the Whanganui region, and river levels should slowly come back down over the next few days.

The road at Kowhai Park nearest the river, which goes under the Dublin St bridge.  Photo / Bevan Conley.
The road at Kowhai Park nearest the river, which goes under the Dublin St bridge. Photo / Bevan Conley.

“They’ll take a long time to go down, but they should all go down slowly,” he said.

Metservice’s Clark said Whanganui could expect a reprieve from the rain this weekend, as the low-pressure system causing the rain moved on to the east.

The paddle steamer Waimarie in the flooded river.  Photo / Bevan Conley
The paddle steamer Waimarie in the flooded river. Photo / Bevan Conley

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