Mass evacuations as northern NSW floodwaters rise

It comes after a man went missing in floodwaters in Lismore on Sunday.An SES emergency warning at 3am told locals to evacuate Lismore as floodwaters continued to rise. “Due to significant additional heavy rainfall, we have seen very rapid river rises. Major flooding is expected at Lismore early Monday morning,” the message read. “The Lismore levee is expected to be overtopped around 5.00am Monday. River rises around the levels of March 1974 (12.15 meters) are possible Monday morning, which is above the March 2017 peak (11.59 meters).”North Lismore, South Lismore, Lismore CBD, East Lismore and Girards Hill residents are included in the order to either evacuate or bunker down.NED-5192-DT-App-BannerThe SES warned residents that if they did not leave, conditions could be too dangerous for volunteers to respond to any calls for help.“Once flood water begins inundating the area road access, water, sewage, power, phones and internet may be lost. If you remain in the area you will be trapped and it may be too dangerous for SES to rescue you,” the statement read.Volunteers had been traveling around the area to sound sirens and wake up residents and get them to evacuate but the levee has since burst and SES crews have been ordered to return to their base.Residents have been told to evacuate to higher ground via the Lismore Heights Bowling Club, with Southern Cross University’s basketball stadium being used as an evacuation center.People who choose to stay or missed their chance to evacuate have been told to seek shelter on their roof if their house is inundated with water.Nearby residents in Coraki, Marshalls Creek and Bilinudgel have been ordered to leave by 6am or risk being trapped, while Woodburn and Swan Bay locals were asked to evacuate by 5am.South Murwillumbah and Condong residents were told to evacuate on Sunday evening.NSW Police made an order for pedestrians and motorists to stay out of the Lismore CBD.“Due to heavy f leading the Lismore CBD is inundated with water and is now off limits to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” Richmond Police District wrote online.“Motorists are reminded NOT to drive through flood waters … for the safety of YOU and your FAMILY please evacuate the township now.”Floodwaters in Lismore on the Wilsons River reached 12.26m at 5am Monday.A severe thunderstorm warning for the Northern Rivers was issued at 3am, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting “life threatening” flood levels and “very dangerous” rainfall.A severe weather warning has also been issued for damaging winds and heavy rainfall in the area and on the Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands. Major flood warnings are also in place for the Clarence River at Grafton, Ulmarra and Maclean, with water levels expected to be similar to last year’s large flooding event.A major flood warning is also in place for the Brunswick River and Marshalls Creek and a moderate to major warning is in place for the Orara, Nambucca and Richmond Rivers.A moderate flood warning is in place for Macintyre, Weir and Bellinger Rivers, while minor flooding is expected on the Deua, Lachlan, Paroo and Snowy Rivers.Since 9am Sunday, the BOM reported the highest falls in the Northern Rivers include a whopping 582mm has fallen in Dunoon, 552mm at The Channon and 530mm in Goonengerry.Lismore has had 406mm, 315mm has fallen in Murwillumbah and 246mm has fallen in Yamba. BOM Senior Meteorologist Jackson Browne said Northern Rivers residents should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.“The advice is to stay off the roads, stay in place so you’re not putting undue stress on stretched emergency services … but monitor the situation, if you are given a warning to evacuate, heed that,” Mr Brown said.“In essence residents need to be prepared and stay across the situation.”Mr Browne said the weather system causing the torrential rain would move out to sea from the Northern Rivers this afternoon. “The system is going offshore from the area this afternoon, the Mid North Coast will still experience periods of heavy rainfall,” Mr Browne said “There is also rainfall in store for Sydney, but not until midweek Wednesday and Thursday.”It comes as heavy rainfall has caused flooding in southeast Queensland and Brisbane, with seven people dead and the Brisbane River set to burst its banks. NED-5192-DT-App-Banner

Leave a Comment