Coffs Coast Advocate

1000 isolated, SES rescues 10

AS the rain continued to fall on Coffs Harbour last night, local emergency services were predicting the flooding will be worse than it was 13 years ago.

SES Coffs Harbour spokesman Bill Roffey said volunteers have been run off their feet dealing with flooding, evacuations and road crashes since yesterday afternoon.

“This is going to be bigger than 1996,” Mr Roffey said.

“We've got 30 to 40 people in, every man and his dog and it's lucky the dog can swim.”

The SES reports that more than 1000 people were isolated by floodwaters late yesterday, with the closure of Sunny Corner Bridge along the Kalang River and Hobarts Bridge at Thora leaving Darkwood residents stranded.

Flash flooding in Coffs Harbour saw the SES assist in the rescue of residents from 10 properties, including the rescue of a couple from their vehicle.

The Repton Caravan Park near the mouth of the Bellinger was evacuated yesterday and moderate flooding at Glenreagh left a number of properties isolated between Glenreagh and Bluffs Ridge.

Downstream the isolation of rural properties was likely to leave 50 families cut off.

The heavy rain left parts of the Coffs Coast under water and cut off late yesterday, with flooding likely to continue today following predictions that even more rain will fall in the next 24 hours.

The Bellinger River recorded 300mm and covered Lavenders Bridge, with predictions it would reach 8m by 9pm last night, Orara River recorded 195mm, Coffs Harbour recorded up to 250mm in the three hours to 5pm yesterday and Upper Orara reportedly received 225mm since 5pm Monday.

Although rainfall eased the level of Coffs Creek at the Grafton St Bridge with an expected rise to 4m, this level is already higher than the December 1991 flooding.

The Bureau predicts moderate to heavy rain to continue today, which is likely to produce renewed rises over the next 24 to 36 hours.

“At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall,” a Bureau spokesperson said.

The Bureau of Meteorology also warns that damaging winds are possible and may exceed 65 km/h with gusts in excess of 90 km/h, while waves were expected to exceed five metres in the surf zone and were also likely to produce significant beach erosion along the southern parts of the Mid North Coast.

  • AS many as 10,000 homes were left without power on Monday night as the storm first hit.

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