Byron CBD goes under water

A keen cyclist makes his way through flooding at Byron Bay after the town copped a massive morning shower.
A keen cyclist makes his way through flooding at Byron Bay after the town copped a massive morning shower. Greg Cromwell

BYRON Bay received 15 times more rain than surrounding areas in the space of a few hours on Tuesday morning, so locals were not surprised when parts of the CBD went under water.

Between 5am and noon yesterday, Byron Bay recorded 110.4mm (or 4.3 inches) of rain, which caused a minor flood of Jonson, Byron, Lawson, Fletcher and Marvel streets.

Ballina was the only area to come close to receiving as much rain, recording a mere 6.4mm in the same time frame.

The torrential downpour saturated Byron Bay and moved elsewhere, only sprinkling Lismore with 2.6mm and Casino with 1.2mm between 5am and 1.30pm yesterday.

Byron Corner Store owner David Anderson was in the middle of the minor flooding on Jonson Street and was amazed at the amount of rain that fell in such a short time.

“On the kerb the water would have been about 300mm deep and Byron Street had to be blocked off in both directions,” Mr Anderson said.

“I got up about 5am when the rain really started and we were driving out of Byron down Ewingsdale Road and all of a sudden the rain was gone and the sun was out. It seemed to be very localised to Byron Bay.

“It was a tourist attraction in itself and the backpackers were fascinated.

“I though we might have had to close the shop but then the sun came out after lunch and everyone was in the streets again,” Mr Anderson said.

Similar rainy conditions have been felt in North Queensland due to Cyclone Ului, but Coffs Harbour Bureau of Meteorology duty observer Roger Brown said the two weather patterns were unrelated.

“Byron Bay definitely received a concentrated shower but this had nothing to do with the cyclone in QLD as it had already moved across land and moved on.”

Drainage in Byron Bay, and its ability to cope with large amounts of rain, has been an issue in the past.

Yesterday’s downpour certainly tested the capability of the drainage in Byron’s streets and problem areas were duly noted, Byron Shire Council’s executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway, said.

“Staff were quick to respond and erect precautionary signage in the areas where water struggled to get away,” he said.

“Staff have recorded the areas where the water pooled and would be checking the drains for any blockages.”

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