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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Tweed & Byron residents return but North Lismore ordered to evacuate

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A North Lismore resident attempts to salvage his floating caravan. Photo Mijimberri
A North Lismore resident attempts to salvage his floating caravan. Photo Mijimberri

Updated 6.30pm Sunday: Residents of  Tweed and north Byron shires may return home after the SES issued an all clear for those areas.

The Lismore CBD is now also clear.

But an evacuation order is still in place for North Lismore, with South Lismore remaining on standby.

Wilsons & Richmond Rivers

The Wilsons River has now peaked below the anticipated 10 metres, meaning levees in the Lismore CBD will not be breached.

Residents of North Lismore were ordered to evacuate early on Sunday and should have done so by now.

An evacuation warning remains in place for South Lismore. Residents there should prepare to evacuate and keep monitoring the SES website for further advice.

Up to 464mm of rain had fallen in the Upper Wilsons River catchment to 9am Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon the SES had organised a flyover of the Wilsons River tributaries to assess the likelihood of the flood peak over-topping the Lismore levee. At 5.45pm Sunday the status remained at warning level and no evacuation order had been issued. It now appears that river will peak at around 9.1 metres, which is below the height of the levee.

Further south at Coraki and Woodburn the Richmond River is still rising and the SES are continuing to monitor the situation there.

Brunswick River

Send us your wet weather pictures. Email [email protected]

The Brunswick River is now receding, following falls of up to 432mm in the catchment in the 36 hours to 8am Sunday. While major flooding peaked at Billinudgel near 3.8 metres, waters are now falling and as a result the NSW SES has issued an all clear for the residents of the affected areas. This means that it is now safe to return to Billinudgel, South Golden Beach, New Brighton and Ocean Shores.

Floods threaten to engulf a vegetable patch in Lake Street, North Lismore. Photo Mijimberri
Floods threaten to engulf a vegetable patch in Lake Street, North Lismore. Photo Mijimberri

A minor flood warning is in place for the Tweed. Up to 373mm fell during 40 hours to 8am Sunday. The river peaked at Chinderah around 8am Sunday with moderate flooding. It is currently above minor flood levels 1.3m due to the high tide. At Murwillumbah, the river peaked near 3.4 metres around 1.30am Sunday, causing minor flooding, and is now falling.

Tweed River

The Tweed River is now receding, as a result the NSW SES has issued an all clear for the residents of the affected areas.

This means that it is now safe to return to Chinderah, Seagulls Estate and Fingal Head.

Readers are reminded never drive ride or walk through floodwater.

Flooded roads

Major roads affected by flooding include the Bruxner Highway, 1km west of the Pacific Highway, at Ballina and Bangalow Road, which is closed at Bexhill, Lagoon Grass, Howards Grass and Nashua. Bangalow Road is also covered by water but still operating under stop/slow conditions at Clunes.

For a full list of closed and flood affected roads go to the myroads.info website.

Power outages

Last night some 20,000 people were without power but according to Essential Energy this has been narrowed down to around 1,500 across the north and mid north coasts, including a small number of people at Yamba and Lennox Head.

10.55pm Saturday: Residents of Billinudgel and those living in low lying areas of Ocean Shores, New Brighton and South Golden Beach have been ordered to evacuate as the area experiences major flooding from Marshalls Creek.

People in the area have been advised to leave if safe to do so or seek higher ground. An evacuation centre has been set up by at Ocean Shores Country Club, 1 Orana Road, Ocean Shores.

Call SES on 132 500 should you require assistance. In case of emergency dial 000.

Flood evacuation warnings have also been issued for Chinderah, the Seagulls Estate, South Murwillumbah, the township of Tumbulgum and Fingal Point area, near Tweed, west of the single-lane temporary bridge.

As at 11.30pm they remain at warning stage only. The SES will continue to monitor the situation and issue an order should evacuation become necessary.

Tumbulgum: SES advises cars should be moved to high ground at the Seven Day Adventist Hall Dulguigan Road North Tumbulgum.

Chinderah: an evacuation centre been set up by Family and Community Services at Salvation Army North Point, Banora Point.

Seagulls Estate: an evacuation centre has been set up by Seagulls Football Club at Seagulls Football Club Gollan Drive.

An SES spokespserson told Echonetdaily that since 7pm  the service had received 504 calls for assistance across the sate and at 11.30pm 40 flood rescues were occurring .

The good news is that the east coast low is gradually contracting and at 10.30pm was already moving south of Brisbane.

That was then: in this photo taken back in February 2015, Billinudgel was submerged. Photo Jeff Dawson
That was then: in this photo taken back in February 2015, Billinudgel was submerged. On Saturday, residents were ordered to evacuate. Photo Jeff Dawson

Flood levels

Some 360mm has fallen in the Brunswick River catchment in the 27 hours to 10.30pm Saturday.

Major flooding is expected at Billinudgel and moderate flooding at Mullumbimby, with minor flooding elsewhere in the Brunswick Valley

The Tweed catchment has experienced similar falls but rain has eased in the upper parts of the catchment.

The river was expected to reach minor flood level at Murwillumbah by 8pm tonight and at Chinderah moderate flooding is expected with the combination of high tides and minor river flood levels by 9pm.

A major flood warning is now in place for the Richmond and Wilsons Rivers with up to 370 millimetres of rain having fallen during the past 51 hours to 9pm today.

The Wilsons River at Lismore is expected to reach major flood levels tonight and the Richmond River at Coraki  tomorrow.

The intense low pressure system over north-eastern New South Wales is deepening and moving east. The low will move off the north coast later tonight and intensify further before moving south during Sunday and Monday.

Send us your wet weather pictures. Email [email protected]

Road closures

At 7pm Saturday the following roads were closed in the region: Boyle Road, Goolmangar; Brewster Street, Lismore (between Uralba and Magellan); Durhiem Road, Monaltrie; Friday Hut Road at Emigrant Crossing, Kirklands Crossing and Skinners Creek; Houghlahans Creek Road at Tooheys Mill Road and causeways; Lindendale Road at Marom Creek; Midgen Flat Road; Ross Lane at Deadmans Creek; Mooball-Pottsville Road; Nobbys Creek Road; Numinbah Road at Boat Harbour; Pearces Creek Hall Road at Pearces Creek; Plantation Road; Stokers Road; Stokers Road at Richards Deviation intersection; Tweed Coast Road, Cudgen; Tyalgum Road at Sharps Road and Swifts Road; Upper Wilsons Creek Road; Wanganui Road; Watson’s Lane at Emigrant Creek; Wooyung Road; Wyrallah Road, near East Lismore Treatment Works; Zara Road.

SES callouts

The NSW SES has now received over 2,000 calls for emergency assistance in the past 24 hours, most of these since 6am this morning.

The areas that have been worst affected are the north coast as well as around Sydney.  This includes areas such as Tweed Heads, Lismore, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, the Hunter and Central Coasts, the Sydney Metropolitan and the Illawarra.

Most of the requests for assistance that have been received are for sandbags, leaking roofs and trees and branches brought down by strong winds. Winds are gusting on the coast up to 117km/hr along the coast, and it is recommended that people delay non-essential travel.

Essential information

The Public Information and Inquiry Centre (PIIC), has been activated to support the severe weather operation.

The Public Information and Inquiry Centre can be contacted by calling 1800 227 228.

Members of the public can contact the Public Information and Inquiry Centre for information relating the severe weather and flooding.

Deputy State Emergency Operations Controller, Acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart, has appealed for the public to not become complacent as the current weather conditions are likely to deteriorate.

‘We are going to experience over the next 48 hours increased rainfall and heavy winds – the public needs to take care in these conditions,’ Acting Assistant Commissioner Stewart said.

‘I appeal to everyone to heed the warnings and advice of the NSW State Emergency Service and all emergency services.

‘Our message is clear – do not put your life or that of emergency service personnel in danger.

‘Floodwater is extremely dangerous as it can have fast moving undercurrents that can wash people and vehicles away. Everyone should always remember to never drive, ride or walk through floodwater,’ he said.

For the latest on road closures members of the community can visit the website www.livetraffic.com or contact their local councils.

Members of the public in flood affected areas should continue to listen to local radio stations, or check the websites listed below.

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.

Original report: Despite more than 100mm of rain overnight in many areas, most north coast rivers remain below their minor flood levels as at 10.15am Saturday, the Bureau of Meteorology reports.

But that could be set to change, with minor flooding predicted for the Tweed and Brunswick rivers and moderate flooding for the Wilsons River at Lismore.

Upper Main Arm has copped the highest 24-hour rainfall total in the region, on 212mm, closely followed by Main Arm on 207 and Lillian Rock on 202.

In the Tweed, 185mm fell at Brays Creek and 178 Bald Mountain and Tyalgum Bridge.

Tweed Shire Council reports that The Mooball-Pottsville Road is now closed, with water over the road.

In Byron Shire, Tyagarah Road and Upper Wilsons Creek Road are closed.

There are no other road closures at this stage, but caution is urged on a number of roads in the Byron, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle LGAs.

For up to date road closure information go to myroadinfo.com.au

A severe weather warning has been issued for damaging winds, heavy rainfall, abnormally high tides and damaging surf right along the NSW coast as an east coast low continues to form.

Send us your wet weather pictures. Email [email protected]

The BoM says a deepening low pressure trough over the northern inland of NSW will move eastwards across inland areas today, which is expected to be off the New South Wales coast tonight.

An east coast low is forecast to develop within this low-pressure trough off the southern Queensland or northern New South Wales coast tonight or early on Sunday. The east coast low is then expected to move southwards during Sunday and Monday.

There is a gale warning for Saturday for Byron coast with north-easterly winds from 30 to 45 knots and 3- to 5-metre waves.

Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock fishing.

Damaging winds from the north east are expected, averaging 60 to 65 kilometres per hour with peak gusts in excess of 90 kilometres per hour possible from Saturday afternoon through to Sunday along much of the NSW coast.

NSW State Emergency Services spokesman Phil Campbell said the SES has 366 calls since the heavy rain started yesterday, with around 150 of those within two hours this morning.

‘We are expecting the situation there to continue to deteriorate and then we’re expecting overnight heavy rains will move progressively further south to Sydney and the south coast,’ he said.

Maximum daytime temperature is expected to be in the low 20s.


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