The Waitotara Valley community were in a chipper mood on Wednesday morning after river levels dropped significantly overnight and the road reopened.

Valley residents were among the worst hit in the region during the 2015 June flood and the wounds were barely healed when this week's massive rainfall threatened to see them engulfed again. Nerves were on edge.

On Tuesday low-lying areas of Waitotara Valley Road were breached and the carriageway closed. Some women and children were evacuated and the Ngamatapouri School closed on Tuesday, while the menfolk kept a vigil with one eye on the rain clouds and the other on rising Waitotara River levels.

However, at mid-morning on Wednesday Melody Wallace, who lives on Taumatatahi Rd about 3km from the end of the valley, said residents were breathing easier today.


"River levels are way down and almost back to normal. The road has reopened and some have gone to town," Mrs Wallace said.

"We got 88mm rain yesterday and just 20mm overnight. Things don't look too bad at the moment."