Driving rain throws weekend into chaos
A LOW pressure system just northeast of Coffs Harbour is expected to move steadily to the northeast this evening and early tomorrow morning with heavy rain and strong to gale force winds along the NSW north coast expected to ease.
Damaging surf conditions are expected this evening and tomorrow morning then to gradually ease.
Damaging winds averaging 50 to 65 km/h with gusts to about 100 kmh and heavy rain and thunderstorms which may lead to flash flooding are forecast, particularly the area between about Port Macquarie and Cape Byron.
An easing is expected late this evening.
Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is forecast, particularly for south facing beaches.
Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.
A gradual easing is expected during the day tomorrow.
Since 9am today, 154mm of rain was recorded at Loaders Lane, one of the Coffs Harbour's observing stations. A total of 126mm was recorded at the official Coffs Harbour station, and 82mm at Bellingen.
The rainfall rate has eased since 3pm and the water height in Coffs Creek at the Pacific Hwy has peaked at 2.85 metres around 3pm, which is slightly below minor flood level.
HEAVY rain in the catchment upstream of Coffs Harbour has seen a minor flood warning issued for the Coffs Creek.
The Creek is expected to reach a height of 3.2 metres at the Pacific Hwy at 5.00pm Friday evening. The SES advises :
- Residents and businesses along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property.
- Never drive, walk or ride through flood water - this is the main cause of death during floods as water may be deeper or faster flowing and may contain hidden snags or debris.
- If you are caught in your home during a flash flood, shelter in the highest place. Do not enter floodwaters.
- Keep a close watch on the situation, stay tuned to local radio or TV, alert your neighbours (particularly the elderly), check pets and livestock and reconsider travel plans.
- Follow the advice of emergency services.
- Stay clear of fallen trees and powerlines as well as creeks, drains, causeways, gutters and streams.
AN AVERAGE of 80mm of rain has fallen during the past 15 hours to 3pm today.
Further heavy rain is possible this afternoon.
This rain is expected to cause some minor flooding along the Orara River at Glenreagh and downstream tonight
At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.
It's currently predicted the river height at the Glenreagh automatic gauge will exceed five metres at about 8pm on Friday night.
The flood height at the Glenreagh Bridge is expected to exceed the minor flood level (four metres) at around 9pm on Friday night and possibly reach 5.5 metres early on Saturday morning.
A FLOOD Watch has been issued for the Bellinger and Nambucca Rivers.
The Bureau of Meteorolgy has asked possible affected residents to note this is a Flood Watch, not an official Flood Warning.
The Flood Watch is a "heads up" for possible future flooding.
A low pressure centre off the Mid North Coast will deepen during Friday before moving rapidly east to southeast during Saturday.
This will bring further heavy rain to the region throughout the day.
This is expected to cause minor flooding in the following river valleys:
- Bellinger - minor flooding at Thora and possibly downstream at Bellingen during Friday evening or night.
- Nambucca - minor flooding at Bowraville and possibly downstream during Friday night.
THE driving rain that continues to hit the Coffs Coast since arriving last night has caused havoc on the roads as well as with weekend events.
Motorists have been forced to show extra caution while airline passengers were able to land at Coffs Harbour Airport but arrived after the scheduled time.
Few sporting bodies have made a call at this stage whether their respective competitions have been cancelled for the weekend but many sporting fields have been closed.
Coffs Harbour's Relay For Life was supposed to start at 10am on Saturday at Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Centre but the ground is now closed.
Organisers are trying to find an alternative venue with the Jetty Village car park tipped to be one possibility.
While Stuarts Island at Nambucca Heads received the most rain so far with 223mm, Sawtell has received the greatest amount of rain locally.
Coffs Harbour's Bureau of Meteorology has recorded 180mm of rain but at Sawtell the rainfall for the 15 hour period to 1.30pm today has been 208mm.
RAIN READINGS (15 hour period 10.30pm Thursday to 1.30pm Friday)
- 208mm Sawtell
- 180mm Coffs Harbour (Bureau of Meteorology office)
- 175mm Toormina
- 174mm Coffs Harbour (Gundagai St)
- 162mm Coffs Harbour (Loaders Lane)
- 156mm Coffs Harbour (Englands Rd)
- 154mm Coffs Harbour (Bray St)
- 153mm Crystal Creek, Bellingen
- 150mm Coffs Harbour (Industrial Dr)
- 144mm Taylors Arm
- 130mm Gleniffer
- 90mm Dorrigo
- 81mm Lowanna
- 42mm Glenreagh