Torrent of water hits Bellingen

By KAT MULLARD

NORTH Bellingen residents woke up to a surprise yesterday morning - a flood!

Heavy rain in the Promised Land area over the previous 24 hours turned the Never Never River into a torrent pouring into the Bellinger River.

Promised Land resident Cliff Schofield took a 10-litre bucket to empty the rain gauge.

It half filled it and when I measured it over the sink it came to 388 mm.

"That's a lot of rain," Mr Schofield said.

"We've had no rain for six weeks and now it's come in abundance. It's a great start to Spring."

Meanwhile in town council workers were busy clearing debris from Lavenders Bridge, which was closed from midnight Monday night.

Water levels reached 5.5 metres, half a metre above bridge deck level.

The bridge re-opened to traffic, and Coffs commuters, at 8.45am.

Some however had already made alternative plans for the day.

With Hobart's Bridge, Thora, underwater and the Chrysalis School closed, Bellingen's Katey Cooke was looking forward to a day of mud and fun with her kids.

"Floods are a spontaneous opportunity to stop," Ms Cooke said.

"You can't make any plans or go about normal daily business."

For Thora resident Darcey Browning, being flooded in was nothing out of the ordinary.

"I've lived in the valley for 42 years, and I've been cut off many times. It's just a part of living here," he said.

"I'm a farmer, and the rain was badly needed. I'm grateful for it, but we don't need anymore!"

Mr Browning said, while he has been finding plenty to do, spending the time tinkering in his shed, not all Darkwood Road residents were happy with the wet weather.

"The cattle are pretty miserable with all this cold, wet weather. They're calving at the moment," he said.

The severe weather kept the Bellingen SES on their toes, with trees down on Brierfield Road and Kalang Road. A house in North Bank Road reported water damage from a leak in the ceiling, while SES workers battled with sandbags to prevent flooding to another dwelling.



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