NSW, Queensland weather: Evacuation warning as heavy rainfall smashes coast

Residents of northern NSW have been told to prepare to evacuate as wild weather continues to lash vast sections of the country. 

Northern NSW is bracing for more weather chaos today, with locals told to prepare for a possible evacuation.

NSW SES is advising residents in low lying areas of Tumbulgum and surrounding regions that they may need to evacuate due to rising flood water.

“Low lying properties may experience impacts due to flash flooding and/or riverine flooding,” the SES website states.

“Storm and flood impacts may interrupt essential services such as electricity, phones, internet, water and sewerage.

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NSW SES has issued an evacuation warning. Picture: Facebook

NSW SES has issued an evacuation warning.

“People in these areas need to closely monitor weather and road closures and make informed decisions early based on individual circumstances.

“Residents should monitor the situation as it is rapidly evolving and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.”

 

A similar warning has also been issued for South Murwillumbah and Tweed Valley Way.

More storms are set to smash a 1000km stretch of Australia’s east coast today, with a combination of high-spring tides and severe weather warnings in place as residents rush to protect properties.

Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe told news.com.au showers and thunderstorms will spread across eastern and Northern Australia with heavy falls at times throughout the rest of the week.

“It seems like La Nina is really impacting our weather patterns after a drier than normal November.,” Mr Sharpe said.

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“Up north, the monsoon is likely to reach Darwin later this week. A tropical low should form near the Top End and shift west.

“It is now a pretty decent chance to become our first tropical cyclone for the year, just before Christmas. If it forms it will be called Tropical Cyclone Imogen.”

NSW

Mr Sharpe said the rainfall event started late Friday in NSW before easing back on Sunday and Monday and then ramping up again last night.

“Casino has picked up more than 150mm in the last 24 hours, bringing its event total beyond 300mm – already it’s wettest December in 50 years,” he said.

Residents are on notice. Picture: Facebook

Residents are on notice.

“The rainfall is ramping up today for northern NSW with heavy falls on the North Coast with bands of rain, showers and thunderstorms. Widespread falls of 50-100mm for much of the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast and isolated heavier falls.

“Parts of the coast will see abnormally high tides and damaging surf, similar to Queensland, before we see the easing tomorrow. Tomorrow the focus will shift even further south with the south coast potentially seeing some bands of heavy rain leading to flash flooding, but the duration of the event won’t be long enough for significant river flooding.”

Mr Sharpe said Sydney will see a series of showers today, mainly during the morning, and that wet weather was a chance all week, although Friday would bring the wildest weather, with severe thunderstorms on the cards.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jenny Sturrock told news.com.au “major flooding” was expected at Tumbulgumin in northern NSW from around noon today.

Severe weather warnings are also in place in the area with heavy rainfall, damaging surf conditions and abnormally high tides expected today.

“In northeastern NSW rainfall will continue today and will start to ease later tonight into Wednesday as the weather system that produced all this starts to weaken,” Ms Sturrock said.

“We expect more rainfall today with rainfall easing overnight but we will continue to have thunderstorm activity.

“There will be damaging surf conditions with waves exceeding 5m onshore in the surfzone north or Port Macquarie which will continue during today, and there will be a chance of significant beach erosion as well.”

Ms Sturrock said there was also a threat of “abnormally high tides” north of Ballina today.

QUEENSLAND

Mr Sharpe said the worst of the wind and rain had now passed for Queensland, however there were still severe weather threats.

“Damaging surf from king tides and dangerous surf combination continues – high tide is around 9am-10am. The water will probably not come quite as far inland, however the risk of coastal damage continues because there has already been so much beach erosion. In fact, some areas could face more damage than yesterday due to the longevity of this event,” he said.

“Severe thunderstorms are still a chance in southeastern inland QLD and central eastern QLD today with the possibility of heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts with any severe thunderstorms that develop. So in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast I’d only except a shower or two today.

“Yesterday, storms in the Wide Bay Burnett delivered up to 191mm at Fairlies Knob (east of Gayndah). Upper Springbrook has the highest storm total with almost 1 metre of rainfall since the event began, including more than 200mm in the last 24 hours.

“Much of the Sunshine and Gold Coasts have seen more than 200mm for the event. Sunshine Coast Airport has collected almost 300mm this month – its wettest December since 2010 – another year where we had a La Nina event.”

It comes after Byron Bay’s Main Beach was “swallowed” according to some observers, with the local mayor warning it had all but “disappeared”.

Residents have been told to expect “damaging winds and heavy rainfall” in Queensland while NSW fared no better, with the BOM stating “dangerous rain and coastal erosion” is expected to worsen in the affected areas.

A spokeswoman said there will be increased rain, wind and waves on Tuesday morning but said conditions would ease “at some point.”

“The expectation at the moment is later in the day. But, certainly, [Tuesday] morning we’d be expecting some increased rain, wind and waves. The surf does look like it’ll hang around for a bit longer now.”

The BOM’s Queensland branch issued a flood watch and severe weather warning from Fraser Island to the Queensland-NSW border, warning of river level rises and minor flooding.

“The Logan, Albert and south coast River catchment areas are now saturated with renewed river level rises expected with forecast rainfall,” it said. “Storms are expected throughout the flood watch area during Monday and into Tuesday.”

In NSW heavy rainfall was expected to intensify on Monday evening before easing late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall is expected in the mid-north coast along with thunderstorms, flash flooding, damaging winds and surf and abnormally high tides that could lead to “significant” beach erosion north of the Ballina area, the BOM said.

 


 Severe storms are set to continue to smash Australia on Tuesday, BOM warns.

 

Sandbags in place at Byron Bay which faces further beach erosion. Picture: Regi Varghese/Getty Images

Sandbags in place at Byron Bay which faces further beach erosion.

A platform collapses on Byron Bay's Main Beach during king tides.

A platform collapses on Byron Bay's Main Beach during king tides.

BYRON’S MAIN BEACH ‘SWALLOWED’

The coastline has been pummelled by gale-force winds and extreme high tides in the last few days, leading to over 900 requests for assistance over the course of the savage weather event. Karlene York from the SES said “most of the jobs we’re assisting with are fallen trees, leaking roofs and windows”.

As the areas prepare for another day of up 104km/h winds which were recorded in Cape Byron Monday morning, social media has been filled with images of damage inflicted in the 1000km danger zone.

Byron Bay saw 6m waves and abnormally high tides. Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson told Sky News he hopes the main beach will be able to recover.

“It’s a beach that we all hold really dear,” he said. “We’ve had quite a lot of erosion events leading up to this previously and obviously we’ve got another big king tide tomorrow and some more gnarly weather so hopefully we all batten down the hatches and so does this particular area and when the water recedes the beach can begin to restore itself.”

Mr Richardson called for locals and tourists to be responsible and remain safe by not driving on flooded roads.

“Along the coast the waves have been huge, we’re looking up to five metre waves, we’ve got large swells, crazy water, we’ve also got king tides and really high water levels smashing along the whole coast,” he said.

Queensland Police shared photos of a “serious landslide” in Mount Tamborine that showed huge boulders that had closed Tamborine Mountain Road, locally known as the goat track.

“Now that’s a big rock,” one post read, showing a police officer beside a giant boulder.

A jaw-dropping video of First Bay Coolum’s usually pristine beach completely encased in thick mounts of murky white foam also captivated social media, showing the lathery white substance wobbling on top of the water in the aftermath of the brutal weather.

First Bay Coolum in Queensland has been overrun with a white lathery foam. Picture: Storyful. Picture: Storyful

First Bay Coolum in Queensland has been overrun with a white lathery foam.

Sunshine Coast Daily shared a video of water surging over a spillway at Wappa Dam which was currently sitting at nearly 110 per cent capacity with more rain expected.

Thousands were left without power in many areas with police closing roads as debris falls from buildings and trees.

INSURANCE RISK

Meanwhile, as the east coast is battered by wild weather, comparison site Finder.com.au has revealed that 4.6 million households – or 46 per cent – are not covered by insurance in the event of a flood.

Of these Aussies, one in seven don’t have home and contents insurance altogether, while a further 32 per cent have insurance but are not covered by floods while one in four aren’t sure of their cover.

And according to a Finder analysis of the Insurance Council of Australia data, floods have cost insurers $5.6 billion in damages in the past decade.

“It’s important to gather as much information as possible so your insurer has no reason to deny your claim. Take photographs and document everything you can,” Finder insurance specialist Taylor Blackburn said.

“It’s also vital to prove you took measures to prevent any damage. If you’ve had gutters cleared, removed low-hanging branches from around your house or repaired roof leaks, give this information to your insurer, along with dates and receipts if possible.

“In many cases you have to actively take out flood cover, so check it was included in your policy before claiming.

“We’re in for a wet summer so if you’re yet to take out home and contents insurance, now is the time to do it. Precautionary measures can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.”

 






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