There has been extensive flooding throughout Byron Bay and Suffolk Park with the road to Ballina on the Broken Head/Coast Road cut and Shirley Street and Ewingsdale Road both flooded. There is also flooding at Brunswick Heads while Mullumbimby appears to have escaped the worst of the flooding this time.
Overnight the town of Byron Bay was flooded with some shops being inundated with flood water while some people in Suffolk Park evacuating.
‘At the moment all around Byron Public it is full of water and both the primary and high schools are closed today,’ said Byron Shire Councillor Cate Coorey who is on the ground in Byron Bay.
‘The southern end of Jonson Street is clear but when you get to Railway Park it is knee deep and gets deeper in Byron Street. The water is about two thirds of the way up the steps to Aldi.
‘Everything is closed on main drag and most of the shops would have about a foot of water in them and in Byron Street I’d say there is at least a metre of water in some parts.
‘The word unprecedented has been used many times but I don’t think anyone has seen Byron flooded like this is living memory. I urge people to be safe. Everybody keep an eye out for each other and check on your neighbours.
‘Even though the flood water is not always deep please be careful as there is rubbish floating in it and other things that may be dangerous.’
Bodes badly for developments on floodplains like West Byron
Byron weather watcher with Masters in Climate Adaptation Robin Buckley who lives in Byron told The Echo that ‘This is almost cyclonic, the intense low is lurking around here.
‘The local sea surface temperature although still high remains below the 26 degree that is required to call it a cyclone in this part of the world.
‘If you look at the 128 km Brisbane (Mt Stapylton) Radar at this moment you can see rainfall band expanding with the centre of it just near Murwillumbah and it is expanding north and out to sea. It is very unusual to have such a low pressure centre here for so long.
‘Atmospheric pressure has dropped 12.2 hPa in the last 24 hours at Byron and this is associated with severe storms such we have just experienced.’
Describing his morning loop walk through Arakwal NP starting on the ‘pipeline track’ from Paterson Street to Cosy Corner, Robin explained that ‘most of this walk is on sand and so reasonably dry but after heading south on Tallows Beach, exiting at the Beachcomber South track I was surprised to find this normally dry sandy track was waist-deep in water – this indicates a very substantial accumulated rainfall over the last one to two weeks and bodes badly for anything already built or planned to be built on floodplains such as West Byron.
‘Drainage after storm events is going to be a massive headache for all of the Northern Rivers region with increasing climate warming since even slightly elevated average temperatures allow much more moisture to be retained in the atmosphere often resulting in heavy localised downpours like the ones we have been experiencing.’
Brunswick Heads has seen the Brunswick ERiver break its banks and come over the road at the Ferry Street caravan park.
‘It came over on the west side of the caravan park just after high tide at 9.23am,’ said local Daya Pepper.
‘As far as I’m aware it hasn’t come into any of the houses so far but it has been close. I have been told that all the cabins at the front of the caravan park are currently empty as they were damaged in the last flood.’