Bad news as wild weather on the move
An expert has warned the wild weather that has savaged northern New South Wales and southern Queensland is on the move as the threat of flooding looms over already drenched towns.
The Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) flood manager Justin Robertson said that gale force winds, torrential rain and rough seas that have lashed the coastline causing erosion are now moving south.
Meanwhile further flood warnings were also shared on Tuesday night with the situation in northern NSW becoming increasingly concerning with the BOM warning that despite easing rainfall, the threat of flooding remains high.
"One thing I'd really like to emphasise, even though the rainfall has started to ease, it doesn't mean the flood situation is easing," Mr Robertson said.
"We still have flood water coming down through those river systems."
Multiple rivers are continuing to rise across parts of northern #NSW tonight. Even though #rain is easing in many areas, what has already fallen will drive some floods higher tonight & tomorrow. There are also some #storms around https://t.co/VA7BQOQ6iv @NSWSES @nswpolice @FRNSW pic.twitter.com/WpP0nJzShO— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 15, 2020
The warnings follow a fourth day of wild weather that saw the evacuation issued for the Tweed River at Condong, Tumbulgum and surrounding areas in northern NSW.
The BOM said multiple rivers continue to rise on NSW's mid north coast and northern rivers catchments, affecting Tweed River, Wilsons River, Richmond River, Orara River, Bellinger River, Kalang River and Nambucca River.
Wilsons River in Lismore was expected to reach about 8.2m around 2am Wednesday that is expected to impact a number of low lying surrounding areas.
The Tweed River was expected to peak around midday yesterday but instead peaked at 2.2 metres around 10:00am with moderate flooding.
Residents across Byron Bay and Lismore continued to flee to higher ground overnight with the help of NSW SES after an official Evacuation Order was issued for Tweed River yesterday which burst and flooded nearby areas.
Senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology told the ABC up to 500mm of rain had fallen already and that half a metre of rain had fallen in the space of four days.
"So very heavy and significant rainfall," she said.
⚠️ #Moderate Flood Warning issued for the Wilsons River at #Lismore. Moderate flooding is occurring along the Wilsons River at Lismore. See https://t.co/UwN3terHk5 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/YMSnFO8bhw— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 15, 2020
Locals in affected commuities used a break in heavy rainfall overnight to asses the impact and damage of the wild weather.
Chris Cherry, mayor of Tweed Shire Council, told the ABC authorities were still trying to assess the flooding damage.
"We've had some reports, obviously we don't have a lot of that intel yet," she said.
"There's quite a bit of it on Facebook but in terms of direct hearing from people I've been talking to some people in Tumbulgum who have had inundation but at this stage it's not clear how many people have been affected."
The BOM also warned residents in affected areas of Queensland would continue to experience "isolated showers and storms" over the coming days that could lead to "further flash flooding".
Bribie Island, a 34km-long sand island north of Brisbane, was divided in two for the first time in history.
Dramatic footage shows water gushing over the dunes at Bribie, threatening dozens of beachfront mansions.
The area has had a long-term erosion problem that has been exacerbated by the recent wild weather.
Bribie hugs the coastline and tapers to a long spit at its most northern point near Caloundra, and is separated from the mainland by Pumicestone Passage.
"At this stage it's holding together but who knows," Flotilla Commander Caloundra Coast Guard Roger Pearce told Sunrise on Tuesday.
He warned locals to "keep away" and said hopefully the sand island - which is home to a 55.8 sqkm national park - will survive, citing there were "still plenty of tree roots holding it together".
Our Chief Coastal Scientist Sel Sultmann explains exactly what's happening on Bribie Island. Also check out some amazing drone vision taken by @realPeterJacko @QldParkAlerts pic.twitter.com/76F4ogjcir— Queensland Environment (@QldEnvironment) December 15, 2020
But residents in the luxury homes on Golden Beach - of which Bribie acts as a buffer for the mainland from the strong ocean tides - face a nervous night ahead after the water broke through.
The occupants of the approximately 1000 properties who fled following an order to "evacuate now" are also thought to be nervously waiting for news on how the flooding will affect their homes.
Social media users have shared images of their local area overrun with water, some expressing fear for the hours ahead.
"I spent large parts of my childhood at Currumbin, Bribie Island and Fraser Island. After the terrible fires last Christmas season, this is almost too much to bear," one wrote.
"Watching #abcnews. Seeing the floods. Condong evacuated. I spent many of my teenage years living in Condong, on the beautiful Tweed River near the pollution-belching CSR sugar mill, & Murwillumbah. Never once flooded in Condong. Now evacuated," another said.
While someone simply asked when many locals are undoubtedly feeling, writing: "When will it end?"
Originally published as Bad news as wild weather on the move