Marty Irvine shows the 2001 tide mark (top) and the latest flood mark.
Marty Irvine shows the 2001 tide mark (top) and the latest flood mark. Ute Schulenberg

Local has seen worse floods

THE flood trifecta of the last three months has been pretty grim but according to Bellingen local Wal Tyson he's seen it worse.

“In 1963 we had 11 floods in 14 months,” Mr Tyson said. “I was on the dairy farm then and it was very frustrating.

“As soon as you got onto the paddocks to replant, bang! It all went under again.”

Mr Tyson, who has lived in the valley for all his 74 years said he'd only seen widespread flooding similar to last week twice before - in 1950 and in 1974, when floodwaters stretched form Brisbane to the Hunter Valley.

“It's certainly starting to get wearing and this time the water hung around longer.

“That was because of the huge seas - the big waves kept driving the water back up the river.”

He said it was particularly tough for farmers because the weather was getting cool and the planting season was drawing to a close.

“The longer the water sits on the river flats, the more mud is deposited and the harder it is for the grass to recover.”

Mr Tyson's wife, Yvonne, said she felt especially sad for the farmers.

“The paddocks were just starting to green up, now they are a mass of mud again,” Mrs Tyson said.

“And it's not going to dry out this time of year because there is no heat - it's going to be a boggy winter.”



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