Lavenders Bridge was under water for the second time in a month.
Lavenders Bridge was under water for the second time in a month. Cassandra Sutton

Flood waters rise for fourth time

COFFS HARBOUR residents and emergency services are reeling from their fourth major flood this year.

Rescue crews dashed to 18 houses swamped by floodwaters, with up to 100 people forced to use an evacuation centre at the Coffs Ex-Services Club.

Coffs Harbour City SES local controller Bob White said at the height of the emergency from Friday afternoon to midnight, some parts of the city copped up to 500mm of rain.

Coffs Creek peaked at 4.3 metres at 9.30pm, less than the 4.7m initially feared, he said.

This compares to the March peak of 5.1m which caused widespread devastation.

The problems began with Thursday night’s big storm and the downpours continued on Friday morning when Coffs Creek rose to 3.1m.

“The rain then eased and we thought ‘great’. We had a few calls in that time for leaking roofs and people wanting sandbags,” Mr White said.

“Then the rain came back again with a vengeance. We were kept busy with calls for help with leaking roofs, trees coming down and a lot of sandbagging.

“Things got bad late Friday and we got the flood rescue calls.”

Mr White said the houses inundated around the city were away from the creek and had been hit by run off from the surrounding hills making its way to the creek.

“On top of those we had flood rescues from motor vehicles when people drove into floodwaters. They became stranded and had to call for help,” he said.

“We keep telling people not to enter floodwaters. We are wasting resources and putting our people at risk.” With the creek rising fast, Mr White issued an evacuation warning at 9pm on Friday for residents in Gundagai Place, Gundagai Street, Robin Street, Goodenough Terrace, Loaders Lane and Korff Street.

SES personnel went doorknocking and using loudspeakers to warn homeowners.

“Most people said they wanted to stay but a few took our advice and went to the evacuation centre,” he said.

“The main problem in these areas was water in the streets and some houses in Loaders Lane were affected. Drains weren’t coping with the deluge.”

The evacuation order stayed in place until 9am on Saturday.

Shop owners in the central business district were also mopping up yesterday.

As many as 50 SES personnel were involved in the flood operation, including crews from Grafton and Yamba.

The Coffs Harbour Bureau of Meteorology says scattered showers and light to moderate winds are forecast for today and fine weather is in store tomorrow.



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