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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Disaster unfolding in Lismore and beyond

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Wilsons River gauge at Lismore, 7.45am, 30 March 2022.

*UPDATE 10.35am: LEVEE OVERTOPPED AT LISMORE: John Walker GM of Lismore City Council just told ABC North Coast that as at 10.25am the water was just at the top of the levee in Lismore and was trickling over the top. At places in the CBD there are already 3m of water before the overtopping of the levee, and if the water level rises to 11m then most of the CBD will be inundated. Mr Walker said that he unfortunately lost his car after he drove through floodwaters that were over the road on his way to work, which turned out to be deeper than he thought.


Residents of Lismore who have managed to sleep have woken up to a nightmarish situation as floodwaters once again threaten to engulf their city.

The Wilsons River gauge reported 10.51 metres at 7.45am, with a 40cm margin of error and levee overtopping at 10.6 metres. Many areas of North and South Lismore are already underwater and there is also flash flooding on the other side of the river in many streets with water from intense local rain unable to escape.

Exact official figures are hard to come by with the Lismore weather station still out of order, but heavy rainfalls through the night have been reported by many locals, along with lightning and high winds, as an unusual low tracked inland, remaining over the region.

Many upstream villages are reporting unprecedented rainfall, even beyond the levels experienced a month ago.

In Goonellabah, former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell recently reported 336mm at Goonellabah in under 24 hours.

The local SES reinstated their evacuation warnings for the CBD and other low lying areas during the night, with an evacuation order coming into force at 3.30am, but there are fears some people may have missed these updates after an earlier announcement from the SES yesterday that the crisis had passed and it was safe to return to the CBD.

There are widespread reports of flooding across the region, including the Byron Bay CBD, Suffolk Park, Ballina, Lennox Head, Wardell and even localised flooding in some high areas of the plateau.

Rescuers of all kinds are preparing for the next stage of the emergency, with boatie volunteers in Lismore preparing since yesterday to repeat their heroics of a month ago, if necessary.

For emergency help in floods and storms, call NSW State Emergency Service on 131 500. In life threatening emergencies, please call 000.

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  1. I would have thought that Lismore GM would have had more sense than to attempt to drive through flood waters given the repeated advice from every quarter, Police, SES, Lismore council officers etc, etc not to do precisely that. A very poor example to set from one of our civic leaders

  2. Gee Michael, I’d say the guy was trying desperately to get to work ! You know? Help the people as public servants are supposed to? Keep your negative criticism for a more appropriate time !

  3. Gee people are so elatedly quick to declare someone “negative” nowdays.

    Michael’s point is valid, not “negative”

  4. Happens to us all, I recall stalling my old Holden half way across a crocodile inhabited river crossing in the NT Top End … stuuuupiiiid … poor guy, at least he admitted it.

  5. Farrrrk…
    I do wonder if the ses might take the precautionary approach next time, considering the weather station is out? Oh and the climate is becoming less predictable, presumably faster than the sophistication of modelling before long? Oh and Lismore is in a notorious bowl, far more ancient than the settlement within it.
    Not bagging anyone… Just the beauracry

  6. Bureaucracy
    I will try harder next time. Because we have these big words so we can demonstrate the kind of intelligence needed for political self consciousness, surely .

  7. Lismore’s GM drives through flood water this morning, has to be rescued and looses his car.
    Telling about the people who ( supposedly) leads us


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