Fears for repeat of '96 floods

IT started around 9am yesterday. Talk around town that we could be in for a flood. Talk soon turned to a real possibility when Lavender's Bridge at Bellingen was closed at 10am.

After two nights and a day of heavy rain on the Coffs Coast, residents were getting nervous when there were no signs of sunshine by yesterday morning.

With memories of the loss of a life and extensive damage caused in the floods of 1996, many locals were understandably worried when water began pooling in suburban streets with drainage that normally copes with heavy rainfall.

Faces were pressed against windows as the rain pelted down with no relief.

Retail and office workers hurried to move their cars after a resident from Korff Street alerted them the street was about to flood, and on a usually busy shopping day, the central business district became eerily deserted as locals realised the possible enormity of the situation and rushed to check on their families and property.

Sirens echoed in the street as authorities responded to the growing demand.

Concerned parents tried to find their way, through roads cut by water, to get to their children still in attendance at many of the district's schools while many businesses began sandbagging with whatever they could get their hands on. All the while the rain kept pouring down.

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