Carolyn Gittoes, of Richmond Hill near Lismore, is an official weather observer with the weather bureau. She is pictured taking her twice-daily rain measurements for the bureau.
Carolyn Gittoes, of Richmond Hill near Lismore, is an official weather observer with the weather bureau. She is pictured taking her twice-daily rain measurements for the bureau. Jacklyn Wagner

Weather woman always watching

CAROLYN GITTOES is passionate about her weather.

As an official weather observer for the Bureau of Meteorology on the Northern Rivers, the Richmond Hill woman has been reading rain gauges and thermometers every day for the past 24 years – come rain, hail or shine.

Apart from the odd slip on the lawn while out in dismal conditions, the former school teacher wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“I had done a bit of met-eorology and climatology at university and after seeing an ad in The Northern Star from the bureau in 1986, I applied and was lucky enough to get this job,” she said.

“But there aren’t too many people left doing it these days.

“We now have automatic stations at all the main towns, but because of occasional equipment failure they still have a few of us dotted here and there.”

Meanwhile, the business of dealing with the weather damage contin-ued across the Northern Rivers yesterday as the rain intensified.

North Coasters woke to severe weather and minor flood warnings and while both were cancelled by lunchtime, emergency services were still kept busy as saturating rain brought down trees and closed roads across the region.

Last night water was lapping the car parks on the banks of the Wilsons River in Lismore, which was expected to peak at five metres by 5am today.

The Richmond-Tweed SES duty officer, Darren Winkler, said crews responded to 32 calls forassistance.

“The majority of call-outs were for fallen trees and roof damage,” he said.

“We also had two flood rescues at Billinudgel and Murwillumbah from vehicles being driven into floodwaters.

“I don’t know how many times we can say it – don’t drive through floodwaters.”

While forecasters predict the La Niña effect will bring a cool, humid and wet spring and summer to the Northern Rivers this year, the bureau’s seven-day forecast is for continuing showers, but they aren’t expected to bring more flooding at this stage, even though waterways are high and the ground is thoroughly soaked.

The waterlogged conditions have been causing more headaches, with land slippages reported across the region.

Road subsidence has reduced traffic to a single lane on Jiggi Road, just north of Jiggi Public School, and on Quilty Road near Rock Valley, north-west of Lismore.

Another landslip adjacent to the southbound lane of Wyrallah Road in Lismore, about 500m south of Skyline Road, has also closed one lane there.

In the Byron Shire, Coolamon Scenic Drive was closed until lunchtime due to a landslip at Montecollum. Another landslip closed Goonengerry Road, west of Beatties Creek Road, to all traffic.


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