SES ready for flash flooding as wild weather moves north
TUESDAY 4.02pm: IT APPEARS the Northern Rivers has dodged a bullet as the wild weather system clips our coastline and heads towards south-east Queensland.
Richmond Tweed SES regional controller, Andrew McPhee said the rain has eased past 12 hours, particularly around the Lismore area, as it migrates north of the boarder.
But the North Coast isn't in the clear just yet with emergency services keeping close watch on areas with minor flooding such as Coraki and New Italy.
"We urge people across the region now to remain alert because this weather system hasn't moved on yet," Mr McPhee said.
"There is always the possibility that we can get those unpredictable cells developing across our coastline."
Billinudgel, Ocean Shores, South Golden Beach and New Brighton are also expected to endure flash flooding in the next 12 hours.
Mr McPhee said a number of specialised SES volunteers remain spread throughout the region and remain ready to respond.
The SES have been door-knocking in flood affected areas in low-lying areas such as Lismore and in areas around the Byron Shire.
"It was very much about making people aware of what might happen to make sure the messaging around what the SES was saying was clear to them," Mr McPhee said.
"It's about re-building relationships in the community and making sure they understand when we deliver those messages we are acting in the interest of public safety."
Mr McPhee said "having a plan is critical" prior to unpredictable weather events.
He encouraged flood-prone communities to be aware about how heavy rain impacts their houses or businesses and formulate a strategy to protect property and quickly evacuate if needed.
"It's far better to move early and be proactive in terms of preparation," Mr McPhee said.
TUESDAY 12pm: POLICE have assisted State Emergency Service volunteers in door-knocking in low-lying areas of Lismore, including North and South Lismore.
Richmond Local Area Command's Commander Superintendent Greg Martin said officers have accompanied the SES and their effort to warn residents about expected heavy rainfalls and the risk of flash flooding.
Based on feedback he's received so far, Commander Supt Martin said residents have been less dismissive compared to the previous flood.
"People are much more prepared this time around," Commander Supt Martin said.
Police from both the Richmond and Tweed Local Area Commands continue to work closely with the SES, who are leading the effort to ready the community for the wild weather ahead.
Officers from both commands are stationed at the Richmond Tweed SES headquarters in Goonellabah.
He said unlike the March 31 floods, the rain was "coming through in waves" compared to non-stop rain for hours on what was an already saturated catchment.
"We are not getting that incessant rain that we got last time," Commander Supt Martin said.
At this stage, Commander Supt Martin said to stay up-to-date with messages from the Bureau of Meteorology, the SES as well as local media.
He also cautioned residents in flood-prone areas to be ready to move valuables such as whitegoods to higher ground.
MONDAY 4.39pm: BUSINESSES and residents in low-lying areas are being told to get ready as heavy rainfall threatens wide-spread flooding across the North Coast.
SES spokesman, Peter Rekers said two intense lows are heading towards the region off the coast.
Referring to the Bureau of Meteorology's Brisbane radar, he said red "blobs" within the weather system will bring rainfall of about 100mm per hour when it makes landfall.
Flood warnings escalated from minor to moderate this afternoon for the Wilsons, Richmond, Brunswick and Tweed catchments.
"The whole region is about to be hit and all four of our catchments could be at flood level," Mr Rekers said.
"This is unfolding so rapidly.
"It's not an evacuation yet but they really should be thinking about what they have to do to get those business ready."
SES FloodSafe plans: Key points
- Locate an area of high ground where it would be safe to move your vehicles and equipment.
- Plan which items to raise if water threatens your home
- Know where your main switches for water, gas and electricity are so that they can be switched off if necessary
- Make a list of dangerous items such as chemicals and poisons that you have which will need to be elevated or waterproofed
- Phone numbers:
Bureau of Meteorology - Extreme Weather & Flood Warning 1300 659 215
SES 24 hr Emergency 132 500
Council after-hours numbers
Lismore City Council: 1300 878 387
Ballina Shire Council: 6626 6954
Byron Shire Council: 6622 7022
Richmond Valley Council: 6660 0300
Kyogle Council: 6626 6800
- Your insurance company details
- Talk to your neighbours
- Kids essentials
- Waterproof bags
- List of key personal documents you will need including insurance details and personal identification
- Battery operated torch and radio
- Spare batteries
- Mobile phone
- First aid kit and blankets
- Canned food, can opener, fresh water and utensils
- Waterproof clothing (including rubber gloves, rubber boots)
For more information visit the SES FloodSafe page
MONDAY 10.46am: STATE Emergency Services are preparing for flash flooding across the North Coast with 150mm of rain expected to fall somewhere in the region late tonight.
Richmond/Tweed SES spokesman, Peter Rekers said the service will monitor the cell, which is predicted to form later today, and the direction its moving to prepare for the deluge.
"We have no idea of knowing where (the rain will fall) this stage but on an already soaked region it is almost certainly going to create some serious problems for which ever area cops that 150mm of rain," Mr Rekers said.
"The word we are putting out now is to get people to take that seriously and get ready for it late tonight."
About 24 SES volunteers and rescue technicians from out of area including Sydney and Nambucca are in the region to assist local services in preparing for the ferocious weather.
Minor flooding is already occurring in areas near Ballina, Teven and Bungawalbin.
Mr Rekeis warned of flash flooding to impact communities in Billinudgel, Tweed Coast, Mullumbimby, Brunswick region including South Golden Beach, New Brighton and Ocean Shores in the next 24 hours.
He said the high tide tonight may heighten the flood risk across the region.
But the rainfall isn't going to settle any time soon, Mr Rekers said as the SES keeps its eye on a low developing off the North Coast.
"Whatever happens to night, we are likely to be impacted by more ugliness in the next few days," he said.
"We really want people to take it seriously and take the right precautions."
At this stage, Mr Rekers "it really is the quiet before the storm" with about 50 call outs since Saturday.
The Richmond/Tweed SES has been liaising with the region's units as they prepare for the torrential rain to come.
Acting Ballina SES unit controller, Barry Green said his crews attend about 10 jobs yesterday.
The most severe of which was a tree falling on a house in Alstonville.
Earlier today, crews worked to remove a tree which had fallen on a house at Lennox Head about 8am.
Mr Green said sandbags have been placed at properties in Alstonville and Lennox Head.
Coraki SES deputy unit controller, Lyn Smart said their volunteers are preparing sandbags as the weather begins to intensify,
"As a precaution, we want to make sure we have (sandbags) ready for the safety of the town," Ms Smart said.
MONDAY 6.27am: TWO people and their dog have been rescued after they got caught driving in floodwaters at Bilinudgel.
Crews from the Mullumbimby State Emergency Service received a call for a car stranded on a causeway at yesterday afternoon.
Extra volunteers have been recruited this weekend, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a minor flood warning for the Richmond River at Coraki and Bungawalbyn and the Wilsons River at Lismore.