6 Jul 2015

Whanganui braces for more heavy rain

7:54 pm on 6 July 2015

Whanganui is bracing itself for another round of heavy rain, just weeks after the region experienced its biggest flood in recorded history.

Whanganui resident Jimmy helps clear away mud from the back of his neighbour's property.

Whanganui resident Jimmy helps clear away mud from the back of his neighbour's property after June's flooding. Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

The MetService has issued a severe weather watch for the region, with downpours expected to hit the area tonight and tomorrow morning.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said heavy rain in parts of Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu could cause flooding and slips.

The Whanganui District Council also warned people to take extra care on the roads. A spokesperson said many rural roads remained partially closed, as the region is still recovering from the floods that damaged homes, closed roads and caused slips late last month.

The council urged residents to avoid even some of the roads that were open.

It said in a statement that the use of rural roads should be limited to emergency vehicles, and those who did have to travel should use four-wheel-drive vehicles.

"We request the general public to keep off the rural roads and refrain from sightseeing. Please do not move road signs or barricades. If there is a 'road closed' sign in place, it means there is no access to that road," a spokesperson said.

The council said there was now access to Ranana on the Whanganui River Road, but that it was marginal.

All urban roads are open.

The council said it would still go ahead with its welfare food drop on Thursday, which would provide food to some of the homes that had been cut off.

A severe weather warning is also in place for Fiordland, Southland and Clutha.

Whanganui flooding

Flooding on a rural road in Whanganui in June. Photo: Supplied/ Wanganui.com

The small Māori settlement of Pipiriki was stranded after massive slips washed out the road to Raetihi (pictured) and the road that connects it to the city of Whanganui.

Massive slips washed out the road to Raetihi - about 85 kilometres from Whanganui - in June. Photo: SUPPLIED / Ruapehu District Council