SES urges Coffs to stay storm savvy
AUSTRALIANS are wearing 'orange-inal' fashions today to support Wear Orange Wednesday, a day to recognise the work of State Emergency Service volunteers nation-wide.
WOW Day encourages the community to sport the colour orange, which is worn by SES volunteers, to show support for them.
Coffs Harbour SES Unit Controller Bill Roffey hoped the Coffs Coast would turn orange to thank to our local volunteers, who give more than 12,000 hours annually to help in natural disasters and emergencies.
"A community of orange would be fantastic, just to see people walking around in some form of orange, some people even colour their hair orange which is a great acknowledgement," Mr Roffey said.
WOW Day serves as a timely reminder to be prepared for a turbulent storm season as the weather heats up along the Coffs Coast.
Australian Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Andrew Watkin said strong El Nino climate patterns along the coast resulted in one of the hottest October months on record with temperatures a steamy 12 degrees above average.
Coffs Harbour SES unit controller Bill Roffey said the warm weather was predicted to trigger a big La Nina which would bring heavy rainfall and spell a busy season for his crew of 60 volunteers.
"The intelligence is that we are going to have a big El Nino this year and it's going to be broken by a big La Nina, so we might be seeing flooding where it hasn't flooded since the 1950s," Mr Roffey said.
He said Coffs Coast geography meant the region was prone to flash flooding, particularly during storm season which typically runs from October to March.
"We get about an hour's notice about what could happen as opposed to somewhere like Dubbo they'll get six days notice about their river activity coming down north.
"We get hit, and when we get hit, we get hit very badly."
Coffs Harbour SES is a primary rescue unit with crews trained in flood rescue as well as boat crews.
Mr Roffey said the Coffs Coast community was very storm aware which was highlighted by many using the SES public sandbag point at Brelsford Park during flooding in January.
"We are a very aware community, people were helping themselves to sandbags and they are fantastic at it," he said.
Mr Roffey encouraged the community to remember simple maintenance around the house to help avoid storm damage.
"A lot of storm jobs are about gutters and downpipes overflowing and down inside the house - if people were to clean their gutters out, then there'd be a lot less jobs we'd need to do and check out," he said.
In storm and flood emergencies, call the SES on 132 500.