The severe weather system impacting the north-east of NSW is moving south, bringing heightened flood risk to the Mid North Coast.
- The flood threat heightens for Mid North Coast as the weather system tracks south
- An evacuation warning is issued for low lying areas of East Bellingen and a major road is cut in both directions between Thora and Dorrigo Mountain
- The flood peak for Lismore is revised down to more than 2 meters below the town’s levee
The SES says major flooding is likely at Thora and Bellingen early Wednesday morning.
Major flooding is possible at Repton and moderate flooding is also possible at Urunga at high tide on Wednesday morning.
An evacuation warning has been issued for low lying areas in East Bellingen.
The SES is advising residents to act now to prepare for the impacts of possible flooding, particularly in Deopel Street, Cahill Street, and Mill Street.
Residents there have been told to monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.
Waterfall Way, a major road linking the Coffs Coast to Armidale, has been closed in both directions between Thora and Dorrigo Mountain after a landslide occurred during heavy rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting rainfall overnight and tomorrow could bring flash flooding, riverine flooding, and strong winds to communities including Coffs Harbour, Urunga, Macksville, Bellingen, Thora, and towns along the lower Macleay River.
Hugh McDowell from the BOM said falls may increase across the Coffs Coast and further south to the Port Macquarie area tomorrow.
Earlier on Tuesday the State Emergency Service (SES) issued a flood evacuation warning for communities along the Lower Macleay River.
Dave Rankin of the SES said residents who regularly became isolated by flooding should stock up on supplies or consider relocating to a safer place.
“If you were flooded in the most recent deluges at the end of February, then there is every chance of isolation and flooding again.
“Stock up on provisions and medicines and all the sorts of things you might need for a few days’ isolation.”
Mid North Coast braces for heavy rainfall
Minor flooding is occurring at Glenreagh and Coutts Crossing on the banks of the Orara River.
The BOM predicts moderate flooding is likely in those areas on Wednesday.
Locals in Glenreagh are concerned the town will be cut off by floodwaters and experience power outages.
The co-owner of the town’s bakery, Lee Goldsmith, said she kept her children at home from daycare on Tuesday due to fears they would be separated.
“If I took them to daycare, I can’t guarantee I’d pick them up tonight. I could get cut off from Coramba where they go,” she said.
Ms Goldsmith said she expected the bakery to sell out given the concerns of the community regarding isolation.
“If the floods three weeks ago were anything to go by, we sold out of everything by 9 o’clock,” she said.
Lismore CBD evacuation order lifted
Earlier, people in several Northern Rivers towns were told to evacuate amid a renewed flood threat, but there has been some good news for Lismore with the expected flood peak now lower than initially predicted.
The Wilsons River broke its banks on Tuesday morning, with the BOM predicting the river would reach a peak of 8.4m at Lismore (revised down from 10.6m) at 8pm, below the town’s 10.6m levee.
While the levee is designed to protect the town’s CBD, north and south Lismore will remain unprotected.
The SES said people could now return with caution to Lismore’s CBD, Lismore Basin and low-lying areas of east Lismore and Girards Hill, but an evacuation order remained for north and south Lismore.
Evacuation orders have also lifted in Mullumbimby and Bullinudgel in the state’s far north, but remain for residents in Kyogle and Tumbulgum.
A major flood warning remains for the Richmond River at Coraki and Bungawalbyn on Wednesday.
North of the border with Queensland, the Gold Coast contended with flash flooding as heavy rain battered the region.
Defense force ready to help
The SES said it was working with the Australian Defense Force (ADF) to combat the latest flood crisis, and was ready to support flood rescues if it was safe to do so.
SES deputy commissioner Daniel Austin said ADF aircraft had been positioned along the east coast for rescue and supply missions.
“We need to be aware though, those aircraft are sometimes subject to significant weather conditions, which has at times seen them unable to fly and unable to operate,” he said.
“So that highlights to the community how dangerous some of these conditions can be.”