Shire on flood alert despite ease

Waters rising but not flooding: The Bellinger River at Lavenders Bridge at 12.45pm yesterday.
Waters rising but not flooding: The Bellinger River at Lavenders Bridge at 12.45pm yesterday.

BELLINGEN Shire residents remained on flood alert last night as rain continued to fall in catchments around the valley.

However lighter than expected rainfalls throughout yesterday meant initial predictions of the Bellinger River reaching more than minor flood levels had been revised down by noon.

“The Bellinger River rose very quickly during Sunday night but then things stabilised and it remains steady at 3.2 metres,” Bellingen’s SES controller Toby Cuthel said.

“We’re expecting a peak of 3.5 metres around 4pm, which is just below minor flood level and well below the 4.8 metre level when we would close Lavenders Bridge.”

Up in the Thora Valley both Hobarts and Joyces bridges were closed by 3pm, which Sydney-based SES spokesman Phil Campbell, said left up to 500 people isolated overnight and possibly into Tuesday.

In Bellingen Mr Cuthel said the SES would continue to monitor the situation overnight.

“There are some heavy showers falling in Gleniffer and Dorrigo, so it’s a ‘wait-and-see’ situation. At this stage no evacuations are anticipated,” he said.

This included Bellingen Showground, which is currently home to about 200 Camp Creative campers.

Chairman of the Showground Trust, Tim Leader, said a truckload of road base was delivered and spread on some internal roads yesterday afternoon and although conditions were wet, ‘things were okay’.

He said some people were camping in the cattle sheds and a ladies dormitory had been set up in the main pavilion.

“We’re monitoring the situation – most people seem to be pretty well set-up for the rain,” Mr Leader said.

Down at Repton, manager of the riverside Bellinger River Tourist Park, Tracey Patterson, said the park remained in close contact with the SES, who would advise them in plenty of time if evacuation was necessary.

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