Weather: Heavy rain triggers state of emergency in Westland District

Heavy rain in the Westland District has promoted the declaration of a state of emergency.

The Westland District Council declared the state of emergency on Friday afternoon as the South Island's West Coast braced for more wild weather.

MetService has multiple severe weather warnings in place, including a red heavy rain alert in Westland - valid until at least 9am on Saturday.

"On top of what has already fallen, expect 350 to 550mm of rain to accumulate about the ranges and possibly more in localised areas, and 50 to 150mm about the coast," the forecaster said on Friday.

State Highway 6 between Hokitika and Haast was also closed, the Westland District Council said on Friday afternoon.

"We're under a severe weather event at the moment," Westland District Mayor Helen Lash told Newshub. "We're well aware that we're also in peak tourism season... and we've got communities that have the potential to be isolated with the rainfall.

"It's about safety, it's about being cautious and we've taken the best step that we can mitigate the risk," she said of the state of emergency.

Lash said the main concerns for officials were getting people off the roads.

That would eliminate one of the major risks during the storm, she said.

Lash said she didn't want people putting themselves at risk.

"From an emergency response perspective... what we are encouraging is that people not travel," added Te Aroha Cook, the group controller of West Coast Civil Defence. "Even in terms of locals, we're wanting them to stay at home - essential travel only.

"In terms of the [state of emergency] declaration, that enables us to have control over the roads for essential services and essential travel."

Cook told Newshub supermarkets were also well-stocked.

She added there was no need for residents to rush to the shops to stock up.

"There is enough supply in the district."

Evacuations had so far not been necessary and the measures put in place were largely precautionary, Cook said.