Wet and wild ? just ask the SES

By MEL MARTIN

COFFS Coast police and State Emergency Services officers were kept busy yesterday, with heavy rain and strong winds wreaking havoc in the region.

In less than 24 hours, 134mm of rain pelted down on Coffs Harbour, more than the monthly June average of 113.6mm.

"It's been a busy day," Coffs Harbour SES local controller Bob White said.

"We've been called to 16 jobs, mostly roof jobs and sandbagging, and we completed all of them.

"We were also called out to a motor vehicle accident and had to administer CPR to a man who had collapsed on Harbour Drive. So it was pretty eventful."

Unfortunately, an SES officer was injured while attending to a large tree which had crashed onto a Comara Close home.

"The officer was working on the roof, wearing her safety harness and slipped on a loose tile," Mr White said.

"She dislocated her ankle and had to undergo surgery."

The tree caused extensive damage to the house, but although the family was home when if fell, no one in the house was hurt.

The Pacific Highway at Blackadder Creek near the Red Rock turnoff was blocked off from mid-morning, and with flood waters over the Orara Valley Way at Lanitza for part of the day, motorists had no choice but to wait it out.

The highway was later partially re-opened, enabling traffic to get through slowly.

Nambucca SES officers rescued four students and their bus driver when they found themselves stranded on the wrong side of the river due to floodwaters and unable to cross.

And near Thora, Darkwood Road residents were unable to cross the bridge which was closed for most of the day.

But further west, the rain, which cleared at Dorrigo around lunchtime, was welcome.

"It's been wonderful for the farmers," Dorrigo resident Rod Holmes said.

"Our dams are all full. It was just enough to soak the ground nicely, and not heavy enough to wash anything away."

This latest bout of rain brought the rainfall for June to 198mm, still a long way from the record for June.

It fell right up the coast, causing widespread flooding and damage further north. Thousands of Lismore residents were evacuated, and many had to be rescued.



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