Last week's snow and rain left an unprecedented trail of destruction on roads across the Tararua District.

"We had 68 storm-related problems across the district, with 27 roads closed," Peter Wimsett, of the Tararua District Council, said.

And while Tararua's emergency operations centre was stood down, last Friday morning staff were in recovery mode, with roading crews out.

"We need the public to be patient. This has been a significant event for us to deal with," Mr Wimsett said.

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Dairy farm land on the outskirts of Woodville under water after the Manawatu River burst its banks. Photo / Christine McKay
Dairy farm land on the outskirts of Woodville under water after the Manawatu River burst its banks. Photo / Christine McKay

"Crews have to prioritise their work."

In the major storm of 2004, 74 roads were closed across the district.

"It's very wet and was already wet before the snow and then the rain hit," Mr Wimsett said.

"The volume of water is huge, with the Mangatinoka River [between Woodville and Pahiatua] at a 10-year high."

The Upper Manawatu River at Ferry Reserve in Woodville was flowing at 11.892m, with water encroaching on the reserve and popular camping ground.

"At its last peak in 2015, it was at 10.9m, so being a metre above this time is very significant," Mr Wimsett said.

"It's going to take quite some time to restore roads to where they were and we've got rain forecasted again this week."

At the peak of the storm last week, the river at Herbertville hit a peak of 6m.

Mr Wimsett said people possibly don't comprehend the extent of the damage to the district's roading infrastructure after a weather event like this.

"We can rotate work teams out in the field, but we only have a limited number to deal with the extent of the damage.

"We're doing our very best."

Surface flooding on several roads would disappear and they would be opened as this happened, but other major work would take time, Mr Wimsett said.

"And like many dairy farmers, the council's planning officer was up all night Thursday trying to convince her dairy herd to move to higher ground."