Weather: West Coast residents fed up with flooding as they evacuate again

On the West Coast, three residential areas of Westport are under voluntary evacuation tonight. 

Buller is bracing for heavy rain early Thursday morning and authorities are urging the rest of the town to be packed and ready to go.

"No, this is the fourth or fifth, it does your head in, definitely does your head in. It's been a shitter of a year you know," one resident told Newshub.

The call to begin the voluntary evacuation of 140 homes came late on Wednesday.

"We would rather take a precautionary approach and ask people to self-evacuate today in daylight hours as opposed to knocking on doors at 2 or 3am," Buller Civil Defence and Emergency Management manager Al Lawn said.

Others in low-lying areas didn't wait for the official word and left earlier in the day.

At the same time, an army of volunteers were packing as many sandbags as possible.  

Glen Heaphy's grandma's house was washed out in last year's July flood. This time they're blocking every leak they can find.

"You've got a little gap that helps the air the house breathe, and we're just putting sandbags in there to deter the water getting in that gap and flooding the house," Heaphy said.

Homes in the low-lying areas are easy to identify, with walls of sandbags stacked up ready to defend their property. 

"I feel like I've probably done about 40 so far, couple more to do," Heaphy said.

More than 20,000 sandbags have been packed over the past two days and army personnel from Burnham were doing the heavy lifting on the frontline.

A police patrol car was running deliveries too. 

Laurie and Paul traded day jobs to be couriers for those in Westport's most vulnerable neighbourhoods. 

"We're just on the tour of duties sort of thing, one of those things it's gotta be done, can't help it. You can't stop the weather," they said.

Dumping a dozen sandbags before moving on to the next house.

"We got really good mates, that's Westport, it's the people that make this place," local Ross Eddy said.

Eddy has had his bags packed all day and is now within the evacuation area.

"Our neighbours across the road and through this area are less fortunate, they've been flooded three times," Eddy said.

The Emergency Operations Centre is in full swing with enough supplies to weather the storm. 

The eye of that storm is now believed to be weaker than first thought.

"It is coming down so they were talking, 350 to 550mm. It sounds like that is coming down," Lawn said.

And while a hardy few hit the surf, most of Buller has battened down the hatches - waiting for what Mother Nature throws their way.