As emergency services begin the daunting task of mopping up this morning, there is no sign of the wild winds that knocked down trees and power lines or the torrential rain that has caused widespread flooding across the north coast over the past two days.
At 10.50am yesterday Cape Byron copped gusts of wind up to 113kph.
The Wilsons River reached 9.4 metres at Eltham this morning, the Tweed reached 6.23m at Uki and the Brunswick reached 2.88m at Durrumbul.
At Grafton, the Clarence is expected to peak near or top the levy at midday and evacuation plans are in place. Ulmarra, Cowper and Brushgrove were evacuated yesterday; parts of Grafton and North Lismore are being prepared for evacuation today.
Evacuation centres were opened at Sacred Heart Catholic Church hall at South Murwillumbah and Salvation Army Tweed Centre, corner Woodlands and Leisure Drive, Banora Point.
At its peak some 23,000 people were without power in all four shires, some for more than 24 hours. An Essential Energy spokesperson said 12-13,000 are still without electricity and it will be lunchtime today before they can predict how long it will be before all residents are reconnected.
In the Tweed, Kingscliff and Chinderah were on evacuation alert yesterday, some towns were without water and sewage and part of the roof blew off the Tweed Hospital.
Power outages affected the operation of 40 per cent of the Tweed Shire’s sewer pump stations. The worst affected areas are Bilambil Heights, Tweed Heads West, parts of Tweed Heads South and Pottsville, Chinderah and Condong.
Residents in these areas have been asked to minimise the use of water which flows to the sewer, as the waste water in these areas cannot be pumped to a treatment plant.
At Uki, residents were left without power and cut off by floodwaters. To make matters worse, power outages at the local water pumping station left the reservoir with just 10 per cent of water supply for the village.
Murwillumbah resident Jan Whelan, who has evacuated for the third time in two years, told ABC radio last night she thought it was the worst flood in her area since 1974.
Tweed SES controller, Chris Chrisostomos, once again urged people not to try to drive through floodwaters.
‘They think they’re in a sealed box… but in fact that box will float into floodwaters,’ he told ABC’s PM program.
While the wild weather may have abated, flooding is expected to continue in low-lying and downstream areas, and dangerous surf conditions are predicted to continue for at least another 24