ROLLING UPDATES: North Lismore given the all clear
UPDATE 9.10am: NORTH Lismore residents have been given the all clear to return to their homes.
The NSW SES said in a recent release that the Wilsons River is now receding and the NSW SES has issued an ALL CLEAR for the residents of North Lismore.
UPDATE TUESDAY 8.30am: CORAKI and Woodburn have survived the brunt of the storm as minor flooding continues to ease along the Wilsons River and Richmond River.
The Richmond River at Woodburn is expected to remain below the minor flood level, the NSW SES said in their latest flood report.
Latest river heights:
Eden Ck at Doubtful: 1.1m steady at 3:15am
Shannon Brook at Yorklea: 2.31m steady at 2am
Leycester Ck at Rock Valley: 1.32m steady at 4am
Goolmangar Ck at Nimbin: 1.42m steady at 3.48am
Back Ck at Bentley: 0.86m steady at 3:28am
Terania Ck at The Channon: 0.61m falling at 4:16am
Coopers Ck at Repentance: 1.1m steady at 4:12am
Wilsons R at Nashua: 0.91m steady at 3:30am
Coopers Ck at Corndale: 1.52m steady at 4:12am
Wilsons R at Eltham: 3.45m steady at 4:16am
Wilsons R at Woodlawn: 5.68m steady at 4:16am
Leycester Ck at Tuncester: 4.8m steady at 4:13am
Wilsons R at Lismore: 4.73m falling at 4:16am
Richmond R at Coraki: 3.52m falling at 3:15am
Myrtle Ck at Rappville: 2.05m steady at 3:30am
Richmond R at Bungawalbyn: 3.17m falling at 4am
Richmond R at Woodburn: 2.53m falling at 3:45am
The NSW SES recommends the following actions:
- Impacted residents should be aware of possible isolation that could affect their work, family and educational commitments.
- Keep in contact with your neighbours.
- Farmers on low lying land close to rivers and creeks are urged to monitor livestock, pumps and other equipment.
- If your property is at risk of inundation, please raise moveable items, such as furniture, as high as possible onto benches or tables, placing electrical items on top.
- If you are advised by an emergency services officer to evacuate, please do so.
- Secure outside belongings and before leaving; turn off the power, water and take essential medicines and clothes with you.
- Never drive ride or walk through floodwater
For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500
UPDATE MONDAY 6.55pm: RESIDENTS of South Lismore have been given the all clear by the SES to return home.
The Wilsons Rivers continues to recede meaning conditions have improved greatly on the ground.
UPDATE 3.15pm: THE Insurance Council of Australia has declared an "insurance catastrophe" following the weekend's wild weather.
As of 2pm today, insurers had received more than 11,150 claims across NSW and Queensland, with estimated insured losses of $38 million.
The council's acting chief executive, Karl Sullivan, said the catastrophe declaration enabled insurers to fully harness the industry's disaster response resources.
"The ICA and its members are liaising with state governments, agencies and the emergency services in response to the damage caused by these storms," he said.
Under the catastrophe declaration the ICA has:
- Established a taskforce of senior insurance industry figures to address and identify any issues that arise
- Activated its disaster hotline - 1800 734 621 - helping policyholders if they are uncertain which insurer they are with, or have general inquiries about the claims process
- Started preparing to send ICA staff to work directly with affected policyholders.
"So far most claims concern typical storm damage, such as roof and gutter damage, and damage due to fallen trees. There are also reports of cars being flooded in some locations," Mr Sullivan said.
"The ICA expects the number of claims will keep rising over coming days as evacuated residents return to their homes to assess the damage.
"Policyholders who have been affected should contact their insurance company as soon as possible so the claims process can commence.
"Insurers have electronic records and policyholders who can't find their paperwork need only provide their name and address."
UPDATE 12.15pm: DESPITE a long and exhausting weekend, 76 local SES volunteers will be responding to calls for assistance and helping with the clean-up in the Richmond Tweed area today.
That's from a pool of about 600 volunteers across the area in total.
Richmond Tweed SES media liaison Inspector Boyd Townsend said the community can help the volunteers by listening to the advice of the SES and other emergency services and staying up to date with any warnings.
"And if people have an interest in assisting their community perhaps they could join a volunteer organisation, whether it's the SES or Rural Fire Service, and consider perhaps joining and becoming part of that team that does help the community," he said.
"All volunteer organisation are always looking for volunteers and extra people to make it easier for people that are already there.
"When we do get major events like this, the more people that can help, is better."
UPDATE 11.30am: IN the 20 years to 2014, 81 people have died driving through floodwater in Australia.
The figures, published in a Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC report, show driving through floodwater accounts for almost half of all flood fatalities.
Richmond Tweed SES media liaison Inspector Boyd Townsend said people need to take heed of the power of moving water and stay clear of it during floods.
"People have died in those situations where cars have been washed off causeways," he said.
"It might not look to bad to the eye but if you put some reasonably moving water against the side of a car, it doesn't take much to actually lift the car.
"You don't know what damage has happened to the road surface underneath and because you don't know how deep it is, people will drive into those areas, find that it's too deep, the car will stall or they potentially fall into a wash away.
"They just simply don't know."
Inspector Townsend said despite the repeated warnings from SES not to drive through flood water, an alarming number of people still attempt it.
"As much as we reinforce for people not to drive through flood water, some people just do not listen," he said.
"That then requires emergency services who are otherwise engaged in other things, then have to go and unnecessarily rescue those people from those situations."
Inspector Townsend said anyone who lives or works near flood prone roads, needs to make alternative arrangements ahead of time.
"If there is only one road to get home, they do need to consider that well in advance," he said.
"With this event there was significant warning given in regard to the likely amount of rainfall.
"If people are new to the area, they really should be talking to their neighbours to get a better understand of what happens when we do get significant rain and plan for that.
"Know that the road is likely to go under and make arrangements for that before it happens."
In a list of number of deaths due to natural hazards such as cyclones, earthquakes and bushfires, floods ranks the second highest cause of death behind extreme heat.
Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC research has so far found 1874 flood fatalities between 1900 and 2015.
UPDATE 11am: MANY roads throughout the Northern Rivers are still closed or affected due to floodwaters.
My Road Info currently lists these roads and carparks as being closed:
- Alexandra Parade
- Bangalow Road
- Boatharbour Road
- Boyle Road, Goolmangar
- Bridge Street, North Lismore
- Brunswick Street
- Clothiers Creek Road
- Coraki Ellangowan Road
- Corndale Road
- Cross Road, Numulgi
- Durhiem Road, Monaltrie
- Hensley Carpark (Lower Level)
- Houghlahans Creek Road Causeways
- Kyogle Road, before Ruane Road, South Lismore
- Lake Street
- Lockton Road
- Numulgi Road
- Old Bangalow Road downstream from Tintenbar Road to Tamarind Drive
- Pelican Creek Road
- Pitt Lane
- Riverbank Road
- Ross Lane at Deadmans Creek
- Rowing Club Carpark
- Simes Bridge, Molesworth Street
- Snow Street
- Terania Street, North Lismore
- Eltham Rd to Shaws Lane
- Teven Road at B&B Timbers
- Upper Wilsons Creek Road
- Watson's Lane at Emigrant Creek
- Woodlawn Road
- Woodlawn Road
- Wyrallah Road
Please check myroadinfo.com.au before heading out.
UPDATE 10.30am: RICHMOND Tweed SES have responded to 519 requests for assistance since the weather event began on Saturday.
Thanks to the hard work of local SES and emergency services, that number is now down to 30 outstand requests, Richmond Tweed SES media liaison Inspector Boyd Townsend said.
He said these calls for assistance, which didn't include emergency 000 calls, ranged from trees down and blocking access to damaged homes, water in buildings and flood rescues.
Despite repeated warnings not to drive through flood waters, SES were called to 61 flood rescues, the most recent being this morning when a driver attempted to go through flood water.
Inspector Townsend said some of those calls were for people who had been isolated or stranded by rising waters but many were for vehicles that had attempted to drive through flood water.
UPDATE 10am: LISMORE City Council is offering free disposal of flood-damaged waste items today.
The council posted this message on their official Facebook page:
"Attention all flood-affected residents: Lismore City Council is offering free disposal of flood-damaged waste items at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre commencing from 12 noon on Monday, 6 June.
"Proof of residency for flood-affected areas will be required and waste items will be inspected for flood/water damage.
"The end date of the free disposal will be advised once the flood has receded."
Council also posted this message concerning regular waste collection services:
"Attention all residents: Due to floodwaters waste collection services may be disrupted.
"If your bin is not collected in an area affected by flooding please leave it out and we will be back as soon as possible to collect it.
"If your bin has not been collected after a few days please phone us on 1300 87 83 87."
UPDATE 8am: POLICE and SES have said they are disappointed with the number of people continuing to drive through floodwaters.
About 6.30pm last night four vehicles with 10 occupants, including children, were stuck in rising flood waters on Tweed Valley Way, south of the Chinderah M1 intersection.
Tweed-Byron police said flood warning signs had been put in place by Tweed Shire Council, and water was clearly covering the roadway, but the people still attempted to cross.
"Fortunately police and SES volunteers responded quickly, and an SES rescue boat was able to safely remove all 10 people from the flood water," police said in a statement.
"Remember, if it's flooded, forget it."
UPDATE MONDAY 6am: AS the morning breaks, the Northern Rivers has not quite reached the calm after the storm.
While the Severe Weather Warning has been cancelled, flood warnings are still in places for the Wilsons and Richmond Rivers and the Tweed River and many roads are still closed.
Wilsons and Richmond Rivers
The Bureau of Meteorology have said moderate flooding is easing along the Wilsons River at Lismore where the river peaked around 9.1m on Sunday.
Minor flooding is rising along the Richmond River at Coraki where the river is expected to peak below the moderate flood level.
Minor flooding is also rising at Bungawalbin and minor flooding is expected at Woodburn Monday morning.
Predicted River Heights/Flows:
Coraki - peak near 4.6 metres around 8am Monday with minor flooding
Bungawalbin Junction - peak near 3.8 metres with minor flooding around 6am Monday
Woodburn - peak near the minor flood level (3.4 metres) 10am Monday with the high tide
The Tweed River at Chinderah was 1.05 metres at 12am Monday and has fallen below its minor flood level.
FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au
For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500.
For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.
Severe Weather Warning Cancelled
The immediate threat of damaging winds and heavy rain leading to flash flooding has passed, but the situation will continue to be monitered and further warnings issued if necessary, the BoM have said.
Many roads across the region are closed or otherwise affected by floodwaters today.
It is advised that you check myroadinfo.com.au before heading out.
Roads closed include:
- Bangalow Road at Howards Grass, Lagoons Grass, Bexhill, and Nashua
- Boatharbour Road in various locations
- Nimbin Road at Boorie Creek and the intersection of Rosehill Road
- Numulgi Road
- Corndale Road
- Riverbank Road
- Pelican Creek Road
- Boundary Road at Marom Creek
- Pearces Creek Hall Road at Pearces Creek
- Eltham Road
- Houghlahans Creek Road causeways
- Old Bangalow Road downstream from Tintenbar Rd to Tamarind Drv
- Tamarind Drive between North Ck Road and Cumbalum i/change
- Deadmans Creek at Cumbalum
- Teven Road at B&B Timbers
- Ross Lane at Deadman's Creek
- Watson's Lane at Emigrant Creek
Many other roads are affected, please check myroadinfo and exceed caution.
UPDATE SUNDAY 6PM: THE State Emergency Service says it is now safe to return to the Lismore CBD.
"The Wilson River is now receding, as a result the NSW SES has issued an all clear for the
residents of the affected areas," Incident Controller for the Richmond Tweed Region Andrew McPhee said. "This means that it is now safe to return to Lismore CBD. "Never drive ride or walk through floodwater."
UPDATE 5.30pm: STATE Emergency Services have responded to 505 calls for help after the East Coast Low hit the Northern Rivers on Friday.
Most of the calls were for patching roofs and clearing fallen and dangerous trees, SES community engagement officer Janet Pettit SES said.
The figure also included 54 flood rescues that occur when people get trapped in their cars trying to cross flood waters or are left isolated by flood waters, she said.
The flood evacuation order for North Lismore is still current, and the SES is waiting to see what happens when the water levels peak.
After that the SES will be looking at Coraki and Woodburn, where flooding is expected to continue into tomorrow, as the water moves down river.
UPDATE 2.15pm: Richmond Tweed SES region controller Andrew McPhee and Lismore Jenny Dowell have warned people not to be complacent about rising flood waters, as the predicted 10m peak this afternoon could threaten the Lismore CBD.
Speaking shortly after surveying the floodwaters from helicopter, Cr Dowell described the flood as "enormous".
She said homes were isolated in rural areas and two homes may have already been indundated.
Mr McPhee said levels of water in the Lismore catchment were "extreme" and described "significant infrastructure damage" across the LGA, including loss of livestock.
The latest update from the Bureau predicts a 10m peak in Lismore at 4pm, slightly less than the earlier prediction of 10.2m.
Mr McPhee said the warning for the Lismore CBD was to give business owners the opportunity to be ready if the levee walls were breached this afternoon.
He said anything over 10m could breach the levee at the Browns Creek pumping station on Molesworth St, depending on the relative strength of the different feeder catchments.
Mr McPhee said people were still not heeding warnings not to drive through floodwaters even though this was one of the main causes of flood deaths.
Cr Dowell warned people not to go near floodwaters which appeared benign, due to snakes, spiders, pathogens, and currents.
Schools to be closed
Parents and students are advised to check with their schools before sending children tomorrow morning.
Richmond River High, Trinity Catholic College and Woodlawn have all confirmed their schools will be closed tomorrow.
UPDATE 12.45pm: AS A result of the flood level predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology for Wilsons River at 3pm, the NSW State Emergency Service is advised by the Bureau of Meteorology that CBD levee may be predicted to overtop between 10.2m and 10.6m.
Residents and businesses bounded by Molesworth, Woodlark Streets Keens Street and Leycester Street are directed should prepare to evacuate.
Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.
A Flood Evacuation Order will be issued by the NSW SES if evacuation is required.
For emergency assistance telephone the NSW SES on 132 500.
UPDATE 12.30pm: STUDENTS at The Rivers Secondary College Richmond River campus are being asked not to go to school tomorrow, with floodwaters affecting the school site.
"The predicted flood level for Sunday afternoon is 10.2 metres. As a result, the school will be closed on Monday 6th June," the school posted on its Facebook page.
"The Year 11 Music Practical Exam and Year 10 Exams scheduled for Monday are postponed.
"Under no circumstances is anyone to enter the school grounds until the school is reopened.
"Flood water is dangerous and can be deceptive. Please take care and do not cross any flood water if you are out and about. It's a good weekend for staying at home, reading a book, watching a movie or doing homework."
Are any other schools closed tomorrow? Let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 10.45am: WITH Lismore expected to reach major flood levels this afternoon, the Lismore SES has called for back up.
On their Facebook page this morning, the Lismore City SES posted: "A big welcome and thank you to members from Armidale SES who have come up to assist us."
"We still have a large volume of water moving through the rivers and the river is moving very fast with a lot of debris (including large branches).
"Please, restrict travel where possible and be extremely careful.
"To date we have attended five flood rescues, we really don't want anymore. Be careful, stay safe."
NORTHERN RIVERS FLOOD: Wrap-up of what we know so far:
- 200mm of rain has fallen in six hours in the Upper WIlsons River catchment
- Major flooding, similar to the June 2005 event, is expected in Lismore about 3pm today
- Lismore river height to reach 10.2m
- North Lismore ordered to evacuate by noon
- Evacuation warning for South Lismore
- Coraki to reach moderate flood level (5m) tomorrow
- Minor flooding at Bungawalbin and Woodburn tomorrow morning
UPDATE 10.20am: RESIDENTS within the area bounded by Slaters Creek near Bridge Street, McKenzie Park, Lake Street and Tweed Street intersection, just west of the railway line, have been ordered to evacuate by noon.
The SES says residents should not delay, and warns that "lives could be at risk".
Anyone needing assistance should call 132 500.
UPDATE SUNDAY 7.30am: DESPITE it having stopped raining, the SES has issued an evacuation notice for residents of North Lismore and a warning for South Lismore.
This notice was issued just before 7am this morning and the SES is urging residents to evacuate within the next five hours.
Residents are encouraged to act early to avoid traffic congestion on roads later.
If you cannot stay with family and friends an evacuation centre has been set up by Family and Community Services at the SCU bar in Military Rd, Lismore.
It is better news in the Brunswick Valley where receding floodwaters mean residents of Billinudgel, Golden Beach, New Brighton and Ocean Shores are being advised by the SES they can return home.
UPDATE SATURDAY 11pm: NSW SES has issued evacuation orders for Ocean Shores, South Golden Beach and New Brighton areas.
This also includes Billinudgel and low-lying areas of Coffs Creek.
If you don't have a car, special transport can also be provided on request if necessary,telephone 132500
As a result of major flooding predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology for the Brunswick River, the State Emergency Service is directing all residents in Ocean Shores North and South, on the East of the Pacific Highway to evacuate immediately.
NSW State Emergency Service is directing residents within the nominated low lying areas of Golden Beach, including the low lying areas of Berrimbilla Court, Barkala Court, Rangal Road, Konda Court, Redgate Road, Canowindra Court to evacuate immediately
NSW State Emergency Service is directing residents within the nominated low lying areas around the corner of River and Ocean Avenue, Pacific Street, The Esplanade, Casons Lane and River Street areas to evacuate immediately.Do not delay your evacuation. Roads will be congested or closed. You could become trapped.
UPDATE 10pm: As a result of the flood level of 2.5m predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology for Marshalls Creek at the Billinudgel gauge, the NSW State Emergency Service is directing residents within low lying areas to evacuate.
There is water over the road at the intersection of Wilfred Street and the Stock Route.
Cars are stopped at the corner of Wilfred Street and Spencer Road but 4WD vehicles can still proceed to Billinudgel.
SES incident controller Andrew McPhee said residents should not delay their evacuation.
"Roads will be congested or closed. You could become trapped and need rescue," he said.
"Remaining in flooded areas is dangerous and may place your life at risk.
"Wherever possible, people should go and stay with family or friends, or make other accommodation arrangements.
"For people who need assistance an evacuation centre has been set up by at Ocean Shores Country Club, 1 Orana Road, Ocean Shores."
UPDATE 6.55pm: WITH flooding predicted for the Brunswick River at Billinudgel, the NSW State Emergency Service has advised residents in low lying areas in and around Billinudgel to evacuate within the next two hours.
Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so, the SES says.
A Flood Evacuation Order will be issued by the SES if evacuation is required.
An evacuation centre has been set up by Ocean Shores Country Club at 1 Orana Road, Ocean Shores.
As you prepare for evacuation you should:
- Raise belongings by placing them on tables, beds and benches. Put electrical items on top. You may be able to place light weight items in the roof space.
- Collect together medicines, personal and financial documents, mementos and photos
- If possible, check to see if your neighbours need help.
- Make arrangements for care of pets or other animals, or take your pets with you when you evacuate.
- Take three days' supply of clothing, medicines and personal hygiene products.
- If you are planning to go to the evacuation centre, take blankets/sleeping bags, pillows and sleeping mats.
- Find out where to turn off the electricity and gas.
For emergency assistance telephone the NSW SES on 132 500
UPDATE 4.40PM: THE Wilson River in Lismore is to exceed minor flood level (4.2mAHD) around 11pm Saturday.
With forecast rainfall it may reach moderate flood level (7.2mAHD) midday Sunday
River levels at Coraki are to exceed minor flood level (3.4m) around 6am Sunday
With forecast rainfall it may reach moderate flood level (5.0m) Sunday afternoon
Source: Bureau of Meteorology 4.03pm
SATURDAY: FLOOD warnings for four rivers in the Northern Rivers have been issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.
We are updating the warnings as they come in.
The warning issued at 2.11pm was for a moderate flood warning.
Up to 310 millimetres of rain has fallen during the past 24 hours to 2 pm today [04/06/16].
Further heavy rain is forecast today.
This forecast rain is expected to cause moderate flooding at Murwillumbah and Chinderah today.
It's predicted Murwillumbah will exceed minor flood level (3.0 m) around 4 pm today.
With rainfall forecast it may reach moderate flood level (4.0 m) around 7 pm.
At Chinderah it's expected to exceed minor flood level (1.3 m) around 7 pm.
With forecast rainfall and high tide levels may reach moderate (1.7 m) around 9 pm.
At 12.29pm up to 226 millimetres of rain has fallen during the last 24 hours to 12pm today [04/06/16].
As a result of this rain, minor flooding is expected at Billinudgel and Mullumbimby later this afternoon and into the evening.
At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.
At Billinudgel it's expected to reach minor flood level (2.5metres) around 7pm tonight.
At Mullumbimby with forecast rain, it will reach minor flood level (2.5 metres) around 9pm.
Richmond and Wilson Rivers
Up to 240 millimetres of rain has fallen during the past 24 hours to 12pm today.
Further heavy rain is forecast for the next 24 hours. This forecast rainfall is expected to cause moderate flooding at Lismore on Sunday.
Richmond River at Kyogle is 0.41m and rising
Richmond River at Casino is 0.87m and steady
Wilson River at Lismore is 1.23m and steady
Richmond River at Coraki is 1.46m and falling
Richmond River at Woodburn is 1.29m and falling