UPDATE 9.55am: THE worst appears to be over for much of the region on the flooding front with the Bureau reporting falling river levels across the region.

At present the Richmond/Wilsons is the only river remaining in flood on the Northern Rivers and is expected to start falling at Lismore today. The Bureau says the river will continue rising at Coraki and Bungalwabin, peaking at 2pm above the minor flood level.

The Wilsons reached its peak at Lismore last night within the minor flood level at 5.9m and is now falling slowly. As of a few minutes ago it was holding steady at 5.4m.

The Brunswick and Tweed rivers have both fallen below the minor flood levels along their lengths and are expected to stay there.

UDATE 6:20am Sunday: THE Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Severe Gale Warning  for the Byron Bay area.

The BOM issued the advice at 4.10am, and also included a Strong Wind Warning for Byron Bay for Monday, February 23.

The Bureau also issued a Severe Wind Warning for Sunday for the Coffs Coast.

 

UPDATE 10.20pm: THE Severe Weather Warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast today has been cancelled.

"At 8pm, a low pressure system (ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia) was located near the southeast Queensland coast and moving in a southeasterly direction, and is not expected to affect the northeast of New South Wales," said the Bureau tonight.

The communication added that "the situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary".

The NSW SES reminded the community tonight via its Facebook page that "some roads are still flooded or damaged".

"Don't risk driving across flooded roads - they hold hidden dangers".

"Remember, if it's flooded - forget it".

IMPORTANT LINKS

 

UPDATE 5.30pm: THE low pressure system formerly known as ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia is expected to be positioned off the North Coast tonight, before moving away to the east during Sunday.

The BOM and SES warn that heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding is still forecast for the Northern Rivers.

Some areas across the region are expected to cop between 100-150mm of rainfall, while damaging winds around 65 km/h with peak gusts of 100 km/h are forecast for southern parts of the Northern Rivers, near the coast.

IN THIS REPORT: 

 

BOM said rainfall had mostly eased over the Richmond and Wilsons River Valley today.

Up to 20 millimetres of rain has been recorded in the past 6 hours to 4pm this afternoon, according to BOM.

There is currently minor flooding at Lismore, with minor flooding expected to develop in the Richmond River at Coraki and Woodburn overnight tonight.

BOM predict that the Wilsons River will peak at 6m around 7pm tonight.

The Tweed River at Murwillumbah is now expected to remain below the minor flood level, while Brunswick River at Billinudgel is expected, with forecast rain, to possibly reach minor flood level (2.5 metres) this evening.

As of 4.14pm the Brunswick River at Mullumbimby was at 0.70m and steady and the Wilsons River at Lismore was at 5.69m and steady.

At 4.11pm the Tweed River at Murwillumbah was at 1.04m and steady.

At 3.45pm the Richmond River at Bungawalbyn was measured to be at 2.69m and rising.

 

UPDATE 3.15pm: POWER has been restored to 3,800 customers in the Woodburn, Evans Head and surrounding areas following a power pole coming down between Thompson and Oaklands Road, Woodburn early this morning.

Crews worked as quickly as safety allowed to replace the pole in a cane field utilising an excavator due to the wet and boggy conditions, the company said.

Power will also be restored to 30 customers along the Bruxner Highway, Lismore, within the hour where crews have repaired 11 spans of line after a tree came down over lines and the Highway.

With forecast rainfall, BOM say the Wilsons River could possibly reach moderate flood level 7.2m around 6am Sunday morning.

As of 2pm the Wilsons River height at Lismore was 5.35m.

BOM has also predicted that the Richmond River will exceed minor flood level of 3.4metres at the Coraki gauge around midnight tonight with further rises expected.

This will cause minor flooding on the Richmond River around Coraki and Woodburn tonight.

The BOM has also said they believe the Tweed River will reach moderate flood level of 4metres at Murwillumbah around 4am Sunday morning.

As for the Brunswick River, BOM believe it may reach minor flood level of 2.5 metres at the Mullumbimby (Federation Bridge) gauge and the Billinudgel gauge this evening.

This will cause minor flooding on the Brunswick River around Mullumbimby and Billinudgel.

Latest river heights can be found here.

Check our list of roads closed or affected due to flooding here or at MyRoadInfo.

 

 

Floods in Jolley Field, Lismore during cylone Marcia. Photo : Phil Clynes
Floods in Jolley Field, Lismore during cylone Marcia. Photo : Phil Clynes

UPDATE 1.30pm: ESSENTIAL Energy crews are certainly being kept busy as the rain across the region continues.

Crews are currently working at Wollongbar, Woodburn and along the Bruxner Highway at Lismore to fix power lines and restore supply to customs.

Meanwhile, the low pressure system of ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia is still moving southeasterly direction.

A trough extends from the low along the Queensland south coast and New South Wales north coast.

The low pressure system is expected to be positioned off the New South Wales north coast by Saturday night.

Over the last 24 hours Byron Bay has received 141mm of rainfall, Lismore 75mm and Ballina 122mm, BOM has said.

At last check, river heights were as such (Information from BOM):

  • Wilsons River at Lismore - 5.35m at 1.14pm
  • Tweed River at Murwillumbah - 1.27m at 1.12pm
  • Brunswick River at Mullumbimby - 1.21m at 1.12pm
  • Richmond River at Kyogle - 10.50m at 12.45pm

 

Hepburn Park - Holland St, Goonallabah, Damaged due to the windy weather during cylone Marcia. Photo : Phil Clynes
Hepburn Park - Holland St, Goonallabah, Damaged due to the windy weather during cylone Marcia. Photo : Phil Clynes

UPDATE 11.30am: ESSENTIAL Energy crews are working near Woodburn and along the Bruxner Highway at Lismore to restore supply to customers, the company have said.

A power pole fell down in a cane field between Thompsons and Oakland Roads at Woodburn with 3,800 customers loosing power early this morning.

Crews are on site working to replace the power pole, however ground conditions have caused challenges with the pole in a significant amount of water. Excavators and specialised equipment is being used in the restoration efforts.

Crews were able to re-route power around the network to restore supply to Coraki, Broadwater and the Woodburn CBD.  It is anticipated that power will be restored to other customers including Evans Head mid to late this afternoon.

Essential Energy is also working along the Bruxner Highway to restring 11 spans of power line that came down when a large pine tree fell across the Highway and lines this morning. 

Traffic control is in place on the Highway and Essential Energy estimates that power will be restored to 30, customers currently without supply, around 7pm this evening.

Essential Energy reminds customers to stay 8 metres away from fallen powerlines and to call Essential Energy on 13 20 80 to report lines down.

 

UPDATE 11.07am: DUE to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Marcia, all Virgin flights into and out of Ballina have been cancelled, the airline has announced.

Latest River Heights (From BOM):

  • Wilsons River at Lismore 4.89m at 10.14am
  • Tweed River at Murwillumbah 1.23m at 10.08am
  • Brunswick River at Mullumbimby 1.17m at 10.12am
  • Richmond River at Kyogle 10.91m at 9.30am 

 

Lismore City Council posted this message to their Facebook page at 11am:

"The river height has reached 5m. Browns Creek pumps have been switched on."

 

NSW SES Commissioner, Adam Dent, addresses the media at Goonellabah this morning.
NSW SES Commissioner, Adam Dent, addresses the media at Goonellabah this morning. Marnie Johnston

UPDATE 10.15am: NSW SES Commissioner Adam Dent has addressed the media in Goonellabah this morning, reminding locals to stay safe as the effects of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia continues to impact the region.

"Due to heavy rainfall and the effects of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia the NSW SES has been supporting communities across the north-eastern part of the state," he said.

"Our volunteers so far have attended over 500 jobs in response to this event."

"The Richmond Tweed region have had over 312 jobs."

"These jobs have included requests for sandbags, fallen trees, and leaking roofs."

"There are power outages affecting over 3800 people across the area, we anticipate most of these will be resolved over the next couple of hours."

"I'd like to commend the community for their response and listening to our advice - so far we are pleased to say we have had no flood rescues throughout the course of this event, which is a terrific outcome for communities in this area."

 

"Conditions are easing, but it is worth noting there is certainly some rain to come."

"If possible, we'd like people in the affected areas to stay off the roads to ensure their safety."

"More than anything, I'd like to commend our volunteers and staff, who have responded from across NSW to support the local people in this area."

NSW SES Richmond Tweed Region Controller, Kaylene Jones, said over the last 48-72 hours the region had seen in excess of 180mm falling across the region, and rainfall in excess of 300mm in localised areas.

"We have advice from the Bureau that the weather system will continue to impact the region for the next 24-48 hours with further heavy rainfall and the possibility of very strong winds along the coastline," she said.

"We're asking people to remain vigilant for this period of time and to remain well away from flooded causeways or rivers in the area."

"We've got in excess of 120 volunteers who are on the ground ready to assist the community."

"We are very proud of our volunteers, they work excessively hard, and we're very pleased with the communities response." 

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that the Wilsons River will reach 6.5 metres at the Lismore gauge at 6pm today.

This will cause minor flooding on the Wilsons River around Lismore.

The river height at 8.40am at the Lismore gauge was 4.34m.

The BOM believes the Richmond River will exceed minor flood level of 3.4metres at the Coraki gauge around midnight tonight with further rises expected.

This will cause minor flooding on the Richmond River around Coraki and Woodburn tonight.

At this stage, the SES have said, it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.

 

The Wilsons River at Lismore from the Woodlark St bridge at 7.30am this morning. Photo Marnie Johnston / The Northern Star
The Wilsons River at Lismore from the Woodlark St bridge at 7.30am this morning. Photo Marnie Johnston / The Northern Star Marnie Johnston

UPDATE 8.30am: AS Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia - now a Category One - moves south to southeast and continues to weaken, a trough extending south from the ex-cyclone lies near the North Coast.

Overnight locals reported huge winds, especially in coastal areas of the Northern Rivers, and many trees down.

Essential Energy have said that they currently have 3,500 customers without power in the Woodburn and Evans Head area due to a power pole coming down in a cane field just outside of Woodburn.

Essential Energy crews have backed power around the network to get customers in Broadwater and Coraki back on this morning however they anticipate that power will not be restored to remaining customers until mid to late this afternoon, Essential Energy said.

Approximately 30 customers along the Bruxner Highway remain without power following a large pine tree that came down across the highway and power lines.

Crews are working to replace and repair 12 spans of line in this area and at this stage they do not have an estimated time of power restoration.

The remnants of the low are set to cause damaging winds around 65km/h with peak gusts of around 100 km/h along coastal parts of the Northern Rivers later today.

Heavy rain which may lead to Flash Flooding is forecast to continue over the today with widespread falls of between 100mm predicted, and some local falls as high as 200mm predicted.

Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is forecast to develop along the Northern Rivers today and so beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous.

People should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas, the SES have said.

Flood Warnings are current for the Tweed, Brunswick, Richmond and Wilsons Rivers, and a Flood Watch is in force for other coastal streams from the Queensland border to the Nambucca Valley.

The Wilsons River exceeded it's minor flood level of 4.2 metres at the Lismore gauge at 6.50am this morning, according to BOM.

This is causing minor flooding on the Wilsons River around Lismore.

With forecast rain the Wilsons River will reach moderate flood level of 7.2m late this afternoon at Lismore.

At 7.14am the river height at the Lismore gauge was measured to be at 4.29m.

BOM has predicted that the Brunswick River will reach minor flood level of 2.5 metres at the Mullumbimby (Federation Bridge) gauge and at the Billinudgel gauge later today, causing minor flooding on the Brunswick River around Mullumbimby and Billinudgel.

Some local roads are closed due to local runoff including; Myocum Road at James Lane; Pacific Highway at Magpie Flats and most of the crossings in the Upper Main Arm above Palmwood turnoff.

The river height at Mullumbimby (Federation Bridge) gauge at 5.45am was 1.66m, and 2.24m at the Billinudgel gauge.

BOM has predicted that the Tweed River will exceed 3m at the Murwillumbah gauge this afternoon with the forecast rain causing it to reach a moderate flood level of 4m late this afternoon.

As of 5am the river height at the Murwillumbah gauge was 1.87m and 0.7m at the Barneys Point gauge.

 

Updated list of roads affected as at 8.30am Saturday: (Info from northernrivers.myroadinfo.com.au)

Ballina Shire Council

Closed:

  • Dalwood Road at Gum Creek Weir
  • Friday Hut Road at Kirklands Crossing
  • Houghlahans Creek Road Causeways
  • Marom Creek Road at Gum Creek
  • Old Bangalow Road downstream from Tintenbar Road to Tamarind Drive
  • Pearces Creek Hall Road at Pearces Creek

Affected (Water over road - proceed with caution)

  • Boundary Road at Marom Creek
  • Coolgardie Road at Kays Road Intersection
  • Friday Hut Road at Emigrant Crossing
  • Lindendale Road at Marom Creek
  • Marom Creek Road at Yellow Creek
  • Ross Lane at Deadmans Creek
  • Tamarind Drive between North Creek Road and Cumbalum interchange
  • Wardell Road at Yellow Creek
  • Watson's Lane at Emigrant Creek

Byron Shire Council

Closed:

  • Coral Avenue
  • Grays Lane
  • Huonbrook Road
  • Palmwoods Road
  • Possum Shoot Road
  • The Pocket Road
  • Tickles Road
  • Tunnell Road (Old Stock Route - North)
  • Wanganui Road
  • Whian Road - Eureka
  • Wilfred Street
  • Wilsons Creek Road

Affected (Water over road - proceed with caution):

  • Banksia Drive
  • Broken Head Road
  • Coopers Shoot Road - Bangalow
  • Deacon Street
  • Goonengerry Road
  • Main Arm Road
  • Middle Pocket Road
  • Midgen Flat Road
  • Orana Road
  • Redgate Road
  • Repentence Creek Road
  • Upper Wilsons Creek Road

Kyogle Council:

Closed:

  • Clarence Way at Culmaran Creek, Minneys Bridge and Tunglebung Creek
  • Gradys Creek Road - Gravel Section
  • Tims Lane (Mahoneys Lane)
  • Added 11.25: Baileys Bridge Road

Affected (Water over road - proceed with caution):

  • Hootons Road

Lismore City Council

Closed:

  • Boatharbour Road (East of Cameron Road and South of Eltham Road)
  • Durhiem Road near Wyrallah Road Intersection
  • Rowing Club Lower Carpark
  • Added 11.25am: Bridge Street, North Lismore
  • Added 11.25am: Chelmsford Road
  • Added 11.25am: Orion Street near Wyrallah Rd intersection
  • Added 1.30pm: Simes Bridge on Molesworth Street
  • Added 1.30pm: Numulgi Road, North of Woodlawn Road

Affected (Water over road - proceed with caution):

  • Kyogle Road, west of South Lismore 50km/h limit
  • Nimbin Road - between Coffee Camp School and Goolmangar School
  • Wyrallah Road, near East Lismore Treatment Works
  • Added 11.25am: Leycester Road at Yeager Bridge 
  • Added 11.25am: Snow Street

Richmond Valley Council
Affected (Water over road - proceed with caution):

  • Savilles Road - Manifold Road end

 

A tree that crushed and fence and cubby house before coming to rest on a house at Bottlebrush Crescent, Baywood Chase.
A tree that crushed and fence and cubby house before coming to rest on a house at Bottlebrush Crescent, Baywood Chase.

UPDATE 8.50pm: WINDS gusting close to 90km h are buffeting the North Coast nearly 24 hours earlier than predicted in the Bureau of Meteorology's latest severe weather warning.

Cape Byron is most heavily affected by increasing winds from the trough association with Tropical Cyclone Marcia, with winds currently at 31 knots (57km h and gusting to 44 knots (81km h). However, within the past hour they have reached 48 knots or 89km h.

After a day of soaking in heavy rainfalls, the strong winds are bringing down trees around the region. One resident at Baywood Chase sent in the above picture of a tree that crashed through her fence and children's cubby house before coming to rest against her house.

Fortunately the tree appears to have not damaged the house.

"Very lucky!" the resident said.

Meanwhile, there are also reports of a tree fallen over the Bruxner Highway near the Wollongbar speed camera.

As of 8.36pm, winds on the coast were:

  • Coolangatta 11 knots (20km h) gusting to 15 (28km h)
  • Cape Byron 31 knots (57km h) gusting to 44 (81km h
  • Ballina 19 knots (35km h) gusting to 24 (44km h)
  • Evans Head 19 (35km h) knots gusting to 23 (42km h)
  • Yamba 27 (50km h) knots gusting to 29 (53km h)

 

UPDATE 6.30pm: AS the news comes from the Bureau of Meteorology that Tropical Cyclone Marcia has now been downgraded to a Category Two storm, Richmond Tweed SES have said that they now believe there is a 70% chance of flooding in the Tweed River Valley, Brunswick River Valley and Richmond and Wilsons River Valleys.

The BOM now believes the Wilsons River at Lismore will exceed minor flood level (4.2m) around 3am tomorrow, and with forecast rain could possibly reach moderate flood level (7.2m) around noon tomorrow.

At last record (5pm) the Wilsons River at Lismore was at 1.24m.

 

UPDATE 6pm: BALLINA Shire Council have reminded residents that sandbags are available to the public from the Ballina SES Headquarters, located on the corner of Angels Beach Drive and Bangalow Road, Ballina.

Council also reminded residents that during storm events when king tides and high rainfall coincide, localised flooding of urban roads can occur.

"It is impossible for Council to inspect and signpost all urban roads. If water is over the road never drive, ride or walk through floodwater," Council said in an email.

"Driving through floodwater, particularly in urban areas, can cause water wakes which will push water into residents and businesses."

They also reminded residents about sewer backing up and about the situation concerning the coastline and beaches.

"King tides that coincide with heavy rainfall can put extra pressure on the sewerage system due to floodwater infiltration. Backing up of water or slow draining water may be experienced in lower lying areas."

"Please be patient to allow for the discharge to escape. Also refrain from using internal water, such as washing machines, dishwashers, baths and showers until the water has cleared as this further loads the system."

"Residents are advised that it is not necessary to boil drinking water. The water and sewer systems are very separate systems."

"A large 3-4 metre east swell will likely occur and a possible storm surge will accompany the rain event elevating ocean water levels above the predicted tide heights."

"Exposed north coast beaches may experience coastal erosion, possibly impacting beach access tracks and coastal dunes."

"Beaches may be closed. It is recommended to stay away from beaches, and extreme caution will be needed even after the weather event due to erosion."

At this stage, Council said, the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is open and operational.

There is currently no advanced cancellation of flights into or out of Ballina. If travellers are in doubt they should contact their airline direct.

 

The Wilsons River this afternoon.
The Wilsons River this afternoon. Cathy Adams

UPDATE 4.30pm: AS Tropical Cyclone Marcia, currently near Rockhampton, continues to move south, a trough extending south from the cyclone lies near the NSW northern coast.

Damaging winds with peak gusts of around 90 km/h are forecast to develop along coastal parts of the Northern Rivers and northern coastal parts of the Mid North Coast forecast district later on Saturday, BOM has said.

Heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding is forecast to continue over the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands forecast districts and eastern parts of the Mid North Coast forecast district.

Widespread falls of 100 mm are forecast with local falls as high as 200 mm for tomorrow.

Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is forecast to develop along the Northern Rivers forecast district on Saturday.

Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

Flood warnings are current for the Tweed River, Richmond and Wilsons Rivers and Brunswick River.

Between 9am and 3pm Friday the highest recorded rainfall in the Northern Rivers was 82mm was recorded at Ballina Airport.

Lismore City Council have said they will close the lower floodgates in Lismore CBD  this afternoon in preparation for river rise overnight.

"At this stage, looks like a moderate flood level of 7.2m at 9am tomorrow," they wrote on their Facebook page.

"Predicted falls of 100mm tomorrow, with localised falls as high as 200mm. We will update again in the morning."

"NEVER drive or walk in floodwaters."

 

National Park closures

THE expected impact of Tropical Cyclone Marcia with wild leather, flood warnings and road closures increasing for northern rivers has forced the temporary closure of a number of national park areas.

In the Tweed and Richmond valleys the following areas have been closed to the public:

  • Wollumbin/Mt Warning National Park
  • Border Ranges National Park
  • Richmond Range National Park
  • Toonumbar National Park - Some roads closed
  • Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve -  North Head Road  closed
  • Nightcap National Park - Terania Creek day use area Rummery Camping Area and
  • causeways closed
  • Richmond River Nature Reserve - Beach access will be monitored and likely closed
  • Bundjalung National Park - Shark Bay access closed and Iluka Peninsula access
  • Points will be monitored as the event develops  

 

UPDATE 4pm: CYCLONE Marcia continues to pound the Queensland Coast with winds up to 165km/h and sustained winds of 120km/h at its core.

The system has picked up speed to 22km/h and is still tracking south.

Currently Marcia is sitting 35 km south southeast of Rockhampton and 70 km west northwest of Gladstone.

The cyclone is expected to turn to the south-southeast this evening, and weaken below cyclone strength tomorrow morning.

 

Rainfall

A SEVERE weather warning is still current for the Northern Rivers as the rain continues to fall.

Richmond Tweed SES have just issued these rainfall totals for the last 12 hours.

Tweed - 120-130 mm
Chinderah - 100 mm
Murwillumbah - 100 mm
Uki - 100 mm
Tumbulgum - 100 mm
Brunswick Area - 110 mm
Byron Bay - 125 mm
Alstonville - 75 mm
Upper Wilson's Creek- 60 mm
Goonengerry - 110 mm
Lismore - 60 mm
 

UPDATE 3.30pm: CYCLONE Marcia has hammered Rockhampton as a category three system causing flash flooding and is continuing its march south.

At 3pm NSW time the Bureau of Meteorology estimated Marcia to be five km south southwest of Rockhampton and 90 km west northwest of Gladstone.

Currently the severe system is travelling south at 19km/h.

The cyclone is expected to turn to the south-southeast this evening, and weaken below cyclone strength tomorrow morning.

 

UPDATE 2.20pm: TROPICAL cyclone Marcia has been downgraded to a category three system as it bares down on Rockhampton.

Marcia continues to move south over the northern Capricornia district and is expected to impact Rockhampton during the next couple of hours.

Currently there are sustained winds near the centre of the cyclone of 150 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 205 kilometres per hour.

The cyclone is expected to continue a southerly movement through today while slowly weakening.

Richmond Tweed SES are advising the latest rainfall prediction is for 100-200mm across the area today with some local areas expected to receive 300-400mm.

Tomorrow it is expected to see 100-200mm on the Northern Rivers.

Gale force winds are expected tomorrow.

WHILE the rest of the country was all making Brady jokes yesterday, the clever folk at weatherzone were putting together this informative graphic on a likely path for Cyclone Marcia.

The graphic was posted on Thursday night, so might not be entirely current, but it appears to be doing a reasonable job of showing the path Marcia's taken so far.

 

UPDATE 2pm: CALLS for assistance to Richmond Tweed SES have been rolling in all day with volunteers responding to callouts from Tabulam to Tweed.

Fortunately there have been no flood rescues yet.

SES community engagement coordinator Janet Pettit said since the severe weather event associated with tropical cyclone Marcia began on Wednesday, volunteers had responded to 202 calls for assistance across the region.

"We have had 73 flood assistance jobs and another 42 flood and storm jobs," she said.

Ms Pettit said volunteers tasked to flood assistance jobs were mostly helping residents sandbag their properties in preparation for continuing heavy rain.

"Most calls for assistance have been for leaking rooves, trees down or flood assistance jobs."

The bad weather conditions have grounded the five helicopters on standby at the SES Hepburn Park helibase.

 

UPDATE 1.20pm: LISMORE and Murwillumbah will both go officially into flood tonight, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

Minor to moderate flood warnings have been issued for the Wilsons River at Lismore and for the Tweed Valley.

The Bureau of Meteorology says an average 80mm has fallen in the Richmond/Wilsons catchment over the past 24 hours and was expected to pass the minor flood level tonight.

BOM predicts that the Wilsons River at Lismore will exceed minor flood level [4.2 metres] around midnight and with forecast rain expected to reach moderate flood level [7.2 metres] around 9am Saturday.

The Tweed River is forecast to pass the minor flood level (3.0 metres) around 7pm today at Murwillumbah and will reach moderate flood level (4.0 metres) around 11pm.

A second minor flood warning has also been issued for the Brunswick River valley.

At Billinudgel the river is expected to reach minor flood level (2.5 metres) around 5pm today with further rises possible.

At Mullumbimby the river is expected to reach minor flood level (2.5 metres) around 5pm today.

 

Latest river heights taken between midday and 1pm

Richmond River at Wiangaree 0.75m and rising

Richmond River at Kyogle 1.06m and rising

Richmond River at Casino 0.84m and rising

Eden Creek at Doubtful 0.78m and rising

Shannon Brook at Yorklea 1.12m and rising

Leycester Creek at Rock Valley 2.08m and rising

Goolmangar Creek at Nimbin 4.07m and rising

Back Creek at Bentley 2.84m and rising

Terania Creek at The Channon 3.13m and rising

Coopers Creek at Repentance 2.41m and falling

Wilsons River at Nashua 2.25m steady

Coopers Creek at Corndale 1.73m steady

Wilsons River at Eltham 2.04m and rising

Wilsons River at Woodlawn 0.6m and rising

Leycester Creek at Tuncester 0.61m and rising

Wilsons River at Lismore 0.52m and rising

Richmond River at Coraki 1.39m and rising

Myrtle Creek at Rappville 0.16m steady

Richmond River at Bungawalbyn 1.3m and rising

Richmond River at Woodburn 1.58m and rising
 

AS THE deluge from Tropical cyclone Marcia continues, many locations on the Northern Rivers have received more than 50mm of rain in 24 hours.

Marcia has now been downgraded to a category four system as it continues to pummel the Capricorn Coast on its journey south.

Numinbah near the Queensland border tops the 24 hour rainfall totals for the Northern Rivers with 130.

24 hour rainfall figures:

  • Boatharbour 100mm
  • Tweed Heads 96mm
  • Goonengerry 90mm
  • Clothiers Creek 87mm
  • Upper Main Arm 86mm
  • Nimbin 67mm
  • Byron Bay 66mm
  • Ballina 56mm
  • Alstonville 56mm
  • Lismore (Dawson St 47mm)
  • Kyogle 37mm
  • Casino 36mm
  • Evans Head 31mm

 

The Bureau of Meteorology's tracking map for Tropical Cyclone Marcia as of 10.04am on February 20, 2015
The Bureau of Meteorology's tracking map for Tropical Cyclone Marcia as of 10.04am on February 20, 2015

UPDATE 12.30pm: LISMORE residents looking for the latest weather updates for the city are being advised to visit an alternative page on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

A BoM spokesperson said the Lismore February 2015 Daily weather observations page had not been updated this month.

Instead of looking for rainfall figures on the Lismore NSW February 2015 daily weather observations page, the BoM are advising people to look at the North Coast rainfall and River conditions page.

 

BELONGIL BEACH: Looking east at high tide on Friday morning at Belongil Beach from the Manfred Street Beach track. Photo Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News
BELONGIL BEACH: Looking east at high tide on Friday morning at Belongil Beach from the Manfred Street Beach track. Photo Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News Christian Morrow

 UPDATE 11.55am: NSW SES recommends that residents in low lying areas of Greater Ocean Shores and Brunswick Heads to monitor the current weather conditions due to potential flooding as a result of this heavy rainfall.

Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.

A Flood Evacuation Order will be issued by the SES if evacuation is required. 

The Richmond Tweed SES have put out this message on their Facebook page:

"Lismore Residents: We are appealing for calm."
"At this stage there are no issues other than blocked drainage in the Lismore CBD area corner of Ballina Rd and Union St."

Meanwhile, in Ballina, Council have reminded residents that sandbags are available to the public from the Ballina SES Headquarters, located on the corner of Angels Beach Drive and Bangalow Road, Ballina.

 

UPDATE 11.20am: FLOODWATERS have begun to isolate residents in the Billinudgel area.

Richmond Tweed SES public information office Sam Colwell said the Billinudgel region was currently a priority for the service.

"Volunteers are in the area doorknocking homes advising residents to prepare to evacuate," she said.

Check our list of roads affected or closed, which is being updated constantly.

 

Lismore Flood Watch

Lismore City SES have posted this message on their Facebook page:

"At this stage Lismore is still on Flood Watch only. We do encourage people to be pro-active and prepare themselves for the possibility of some flooding. If you live in an area that does become effected by rising water then sandbags are available at the Lismore City SES Headquarters in Brunswick St opposite the Helipad."

 

UPDATE 11am: VERY heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding is forecast for the Northern Rivers forecast district today.

Further heavy rain is likely on Saturday dependent on the movement of the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

A Flood Watch is current for the NSW coastal streams from the Queensland border to the Nambucca Valley for today and tomorrow.

This includes the Richmond and Wilsons, Clarence and Orara, Bellinger and Nambucca river systems.

In 24 hours till 9am 120 mm of rain has fallen at Numinbah, 116 mm at Couchy Creek, 100 mm at Boat Harbour, 92 mm at Burringbar.

 

Blocked drain

A drain has blocked in Union St South Lismore near Hutley's butchery.

Lismore City Council staff have set up a temporary pump to alleviate the blockage.

When the rain event stops council staff will investigate the blockage.

Yesterday council staff filled 680 sandbags for the SES to use over the severe weather event.

 

Ballina Airport

The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is open and operational, Ballina Shire Council have said.

There is currently no advanced cancellation of flights into or out of Ballina.

If travellers are in doubt they should contact their airline direct.

 

UPDATE 10.40am: A MINOR Flood Warning has been issued for Brunswick River.

BELONGIL BEACH: Looking west at high tide on Friday morning at Belongil Beach from the Manfred Street Beach track. Photo Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News
BELONGIL BEACH: Looking west at high tide on Friday morning at Belongil Beach from the Manfred Street Beach track. Photo Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News Christian Morrow

This will cause minor flooding on the Brunswick River around Mullumbimby and Billinudgel.

Some local roads are closed due to local runoff including; Myocum Road at James Lane; Pacific Highway at Magpie Flats and most of the crossings in the Upper Main Arm above Palmwood turnoff.

The current river height at Mullumbimby (Federation Bridge) gauge is 1.23 m.

The current river height at Billinudgel gauge is 0.93 m.

The SES said that as flood heights in Mullumbimby can be affected by tidal influence, when the tide is rising it will hold back flood water, but as the tide starts to ebb, the level will usually fall very quickly.

In this situation, the road to Upper Main Arm above the Palmwoods junction becomes impassable.

At Billinudgel there is water over the road at the intersection of Wilfred Street and the Stock Route, and water over the roads in the Pocket and Middle Pockets.

Cars approaching Billinudgel along these roads can proceed to the Pacific Highway via Stock Route Road, the SES said.

A large number of rural properties may be cut off from Billinudgel but alternative routes may be available to the Pacific Highway via the northern end of the Stock Route Road for some of these properties.

An average of 55 millimetres of rain has fallen during the past 9 hours to 9am today, and further heavy rain is forecast for the next 24 hours.

A Flood Watch for moderate to major flooding is current for the Brunswick Valley.

At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.

 

UPDATE 10.25am: TWEED Heads has been the focus of responses for the Richmond Tweed SES as tropical cyclone Marcia continues its destructive march south.

SES are being kept busy
SES are being kept busy

"Almost half of those call outs were in Tweed Heads.

"Residents are reporting storm damage, leaking roofs and trees down.

As the system moves further south, so do the requests for assistance from the SES.

"We are starting to get a fair few calls come in from the Ballina area too as the rain continues."

"We will start to certainly get some localised flooding and we are concerned about the Billinudgel area and some low lying areas around the Brunswick basin."

Ms Colwell said volunteers were door knocking residents in the Billinudgel area to ensure they were ready to evacuate.

Richmond Tweed SES callouts

  • Tweed Heads 68
  • Ballina 25
  • Mullumbimby 16
  • Lismore 14
  • Murwillumbah 13
  • Tabulam 1
  • Tweed Coast 1
     

UPDATE 10.05am: THE Richmond Tweed SES have sent out a "heads up" for possible future flooding along the Brunswick, Richmond and Wilsons Rivers.

The SES said heavy falls are expected over the NSW north coast area today and Saturday, however there is still some uncertainty over the forecast rain totals for this event.

A photo of the flooded Wilsons River from 2010
A photo of the flooded Wilsons River from 2010 Contributed

At this stage there is a greater than 70% chance of flooding (moderate to major flooding) in the Brunswick river valley, including Billinudgel, and the Richmond and Wilsons river valleys from Friday onwards.

NSW SES advises motorists to take care on the roads and avoid travelling in areas with low level causeways.

Heavy rain may cause flash flooding which can be particularly dangerous at night and in the early hours of the morning.

People living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop.

The SES further advises that people camping, caravanning and engaging in activities near rivers and streams should listen to the radio for updates and advice, camp well away from watercourses and streams and be particularly aware that roads leading away from unestablished camp sites could be affected before camping areas.

Farmers and other landholders should keep a watch on their streams and be prepared to move pumps, equipment and livestock to higher ground.

If you need emergency assistance as a result of flooding, contact the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500.

 

UPDATE 9.50am: NSW Richmond Tweed SES have posted on their Facebook page that they have been busy.

"Total requests for assistance at this stage 138 jobs. Preventative sandbagging, trees down and leaking roofs. Stay safe team!" They wrote.

 

UPDATE 9.25am: AS the rain continues, several roads around the area have been closed and some others have water over them but remain passable. 

The SES advises never to drive through floodwaters, and if you don't need to drive anywhere, simply stay at home

Below is a list of current roads closed from northernrivers.myroadinfo.com.au

 

Ballina Shire Council

Houghlahans Creek Road causeways are closed due to flooding.

Lindendale Road - There is water over the road at Marom Creek.

Added 9.50am: Friday Hut Road at Emigrant Crossing - water over road. Proceed with Caution

Added 10.26am: Watson's Lane at Emigrant Creek - Water over road - Proceed with Caution

Added 10.53am: Boundary Creek Road at Marom Creek - Water over road.

Pearces Creek Hall Road at at Pearces Creek - Water over road

Added 11.45am: Tamarind Drive between North Creek Road and Cumbalum interchange - Water over road

Ross Lane at Deadmans Creek - Water over road

Added 12.15pm: Old Bangalow Road downstream from Tintenbar Road to Tamarind Drive - Road closed due to flooding. 

Added 12.50pm: Friday Hut Road at Kirklands Crossing - Road closed

Added 1.50pm: The Coast Road at Sharpes Beach and Boulder Beach - Water over road.

Added 3.30pm: Uralba Road at Duck Creek - Water over road. 

Added 4.30pm: Teven Road at B&B Timbers - Water over road. Proceed with Caution

Added 9pm: Dalwood Road at Gum Creek Weir - Water over the road - proceed with caution.

 

Lismore City Council

Added 9.50am: Nimbin Road - Surface water on road way between Coffee Camp School and Goolmangar School, drive with caution

Added 3pm: Martin Road - Road Closed - Flood water over Martin Bridge, road closed until further notice

Added 9pm: Bangalow Road at Binna Burra - Road Closed. Water over road at Binna Burra and Nashua. 

 

Kyogle Council

Clarence Way at Culmaran Creek - Small amount of water over Clarence Way at Culmaran Creek. Please drive with care and be alert for possible changes to road conditions.

Added 3.20pm: Clarence Way at Minnys Bridge over Tooloonki Creek - Water over bypass crossing established at Minneys Bridge over Tooloonki Creek approx. 12km from intersection with the Bruxner Highway. Crossing not accessible due to heavy rainfall

Clarence Way at Tunglebung Creek - Water over road at Tunglebung Creek. Anticipate road will be closed soon

Hootons Road - Water over Hootons Road. Anticipate road will close if rain continues

Added 4.30pm: Gradys Creek Road (Gravel section) - All causeways on Gradys Creek Road are inundated. Through access of the gravel section not possible. Please note there are low load limits on many bridges on the sealed section of Gradys Creek Road

Tims Lane (Mahoneys Lane) - Water over bridge on Tims Lane

 

Byron Shire Council

Possum Shoot Road is closed due to a land slip.

Coolamon Scenic Drive/Tunnel Road - Water over the road at Dudgeons Lane.

Coopers Shoot Road at Bangalow - Water over causeway. Conditions expected to get worse. DO NOT CROSS FLOODED CAUSEWAY.

Goonengerry Road - Water over road at Beatties Creek. DO NOT DRIVE INTO FLOODWATER

Myocum Road - James Lane - Water over Road - Proceed with Caution

Myocum Road at Barlows Farm - Water over road - Proceed with Caution

Orana Road - Water over Road near Balemo Drive Intersection

Upper Wilsons Creek Road - Water over causeways, pavement damage may have occurred. Council staff yet to inspect. DO NOT DRIVE ACROSS FLOODED CAUSEWAYS.

Wilsons Creek Road - Wilsons Creek road has now two lanes reopened. Please use caution in this location. Traffic Control will be in place during business hours while rectification works are being undertaken.

Added 10.53am: Huonbrook Road - Road closed

Main Arm Road - Road closed

Tickles Road - Road closed

Wanganui Road - Road closed

Whian Road at Eureka - Road closed

Added 11.15am: Middle Pocket Road - Water over road.

The Pocket Road - Water over road

Wilfred Street - Water over road

Added 11.45am: Left Bank Road - Road closed

Broken Head Road - Water over road near BP Service Station at Suffolk Park

Repentance Creek Road - Water over the road at the Causeway

Tweed Valley Way - Tree over road 1km south of Wooyong Turnoff

Added 1.50pm: Palmwoods Road - Road closed

Redgate Road - Road closed

Canowindra Court - Water over Road from Blocked Drain

Deacon Street - Road Closed - Water over road rising from creek

Added 2.15pm: Coral Avenue - Road Closed. Water and debris on causeway. DO NOT ENTER

Added 3pm: Banksia Drive - Water over road at intersection with Ewingsdale Road

Midgen Flat Road - Water over road. Use extreme caution as staff unable to assess. DO NOT DIRVE INTO FLOOD WATER

Added 7pm: Broken Head Road/The Coast Road - Fast flowing water  south of Broken Ridge Estate may overflow onto road with continued rainfall - use extreme caution in this location. In addition, approximately 100m south of Rose Apple Place water may overflow onto road with continued rainfall - use extreme caution in this location

 

Richmond Valley Council

3pm: Savilles Road - Manifold Road end - Water over road. Currently passable but is constantly rising - Take caution and avoid driving through flood water where possible

 

UPDATE 8.55am: BAD weather flowing from Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia will likely cause problems for wildlife on the Northern Rivers.

White throated nightjar
White throated nightjar

Wildlife care group WIRES Northern Rivers says birds, small possums and gliders could be knocked from trees during strong storms.

The group is asking residents to check under trees for fallen animals once the storm has passed - if it is safe to do so.

"Some birds will be waterlogged and on the ground unable to fly," WIRES says in a statement. "Please pick them up by gently wrapping them in a small towel or soft cloth with no loose threads (they can easily become entangled).

"Please do not feed the bird, if you feel it needs food please call for advice first.

"Once the weather has settled the bird should be taken back outside, open the box and the bird should fly away. If this does not happen please call for advice."

Residents should also, if they are able to, check any fallen trees, especially older trees with hollows.

To contact WIRES, phone 6628 1898 on the Northern Rivers or 6643 4055 if you are in the Clarence Valley.

 

This image of a double Storm Front at Tallow Beach, Byron Bay, yesterday was shared to The Northern Star's Facebook page by Sera Wright.
This image of a double Storm Front at Tallow Beach, Byron Bay, yesterday was shared to The Northern Star's Facebook page by Sera Wright. Photography Byron Bay - Sera Wright

UPDATE 8.05am: IT'S barely begun, but parts of the region have already had more than 100mm of rain over the past 22 hours, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

So far the Tweed is copping the heavier rain, with Couchy Creek, Numinbah and Upper Rous River the areas to have passed the 100mm mark.

On the Northern Rivers the figures are:

  • Goonengerry: 70mm
  • Mullumbimby 58mm
  • Nimbin: 55mm
  • Terania Creek: 54mm
  • Dunoon: 48mm
  • The Channon: 46mm
  • Belongil: 44mm
  • Alstonville: 40mm
  • Ballina: 38mm
  • Lismore: 37mm
  • Cape Byron: 35mm
  • Casino: 27mm
  • Kyogle: 24mm

Richmond Tweed SES have posted these messages on their Facebook page:

"Another very wet day. We have had rain overnight. Flash flooding likely in Ballina, Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and Brunswick Heads. Please follow SES advice and do not drive, walk or ride in flood water."

"Rivers are rising fairly quickly at the moment. If you don't need to drive, please stay at home. Be aware of flash flooding particularly around causeways, creeks and rivers."

"Residents of Tumbulgum 2490, the Seventh Day Adventist Church has kindly opened up their car park. Residents can park their cars there if need be. Remember to do this before the road cuts."

 

UPDATE 5.50am: SEVERE Tropical Cyclone Marcia could hit the Northern Rivers as a Category 1 cyclone some time tomorrow, Northern NSW Severe Weather is warning.

And the Bureau of Meteorology says the Northern Rivers can expect localised rainfalls of up to 300mm of rain today as the trough associated with the cyclone deepens.

Marcia turned into a monster storm last night, growing into a Category 5 cyclone with winds gusting close to 300km/h at its core. By comparison, Cyclone Tracy, which destroyed Darwin in 1974, was a category four storm with gusts up to 240km/h.

In a post late last night, Northern NSW Severe Weather said there were a couple of scenarios for the Northern Rivers, with one being that Marcia moves through Queensland into north east NSW, losing power as she goes.

By the time Marcia reached the border, most likely tomorrow, she would be expected to have dwindled to a tropical low, but the immense power she has picked up means she could hit the border as a Category 1, bringing with her destructive winds and between 50mm and 200mm of rain.

With Marcia yet to make landfall in Queensland - she's expected to cross the coast between 9am and 10am NSW time - the other scenario posed by Northern NSW Severe Weather is that she moves slowly down the coast.

This would mean fewer destructive winds for the Northern Rivers but a more prolonged flooding for the Tweed, Brunswick, Richmond/Wilsons, Clarence/Orara, Bellinger, and Nambucca valleys.

The latest severe weather warning for the region from the Bureau of Meteorology, issued just before 5am, the region can expect widespread rainfalls of between 100mm and 150mm "with local falls as high as 300 mm possible". The Bureau says we can continue to expect heavy rain through Saturday, depending on how the the storm system moves.

The Bureau has also released a gale warning for the Byron coast and a strong wind warning for the Coffs coast.

A flood watch for the region remains in place.

Tropical Marcia could become a category 2 by the time it reaches the coast.
Tropical Marcia could become a category 2 by the time it reaches the coast. Source: Bureau of Meteorology

 

WITH the Bureau of Meteorology predicting more than 300mm of rain over the next few days, storm preparations have begun locally. 

We will be posting updates below:

 

UPDATE 9.30pm:

Tropical Cyclone Marcia to reach Category 4 system at landfall

THE Bureau of Meteorology have said Cyclone Marcia is predicted to intensify to a Category 4 system as it crosses the QLD coast early on Friday morning.

Destructive winds with gusts of up to 270 km/h are expected near the core of the system.

Gales are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between Bowen and Double Island Point this evening, and extend inland to areas including Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, and Monto overnight and into Friday morning.

 

UPDATE 3.30pm:

Schools to be closed

The Lismore City SES have posted on their Facebook page that the Catholic Diocese have told them that all Catholic Schools from the border to Nambucca Heads will be closed tomorrow, Friday February 20.

In addition, Richmond River High School will be closed.

Added 4.15pm - It is reported that Ocean Shores Primary and Mullumbimby High school will also be closed tomorrow.

For other schools please ring the school to check their plans.

This comes after an email was sent out to parents of students at Evans River K-12 School.

 

SES set up Helibase

RICHMOND Tweed SES today set up a helibase at Goonellabah's Hepburn Park where choppers are based to respond to emergencies during the cyclone Marcia.

Two helicopters were flown up from Sydney, via Port Macquarie, this morning and a third chopper was flown over from Ballina.

A NSW RFS bus is parked adjacent to Hepburn Park as the command post.

The helicopters have the capability to winch people from flood waters or those stranded on high ground, deliver food drops and relay film of flooded areas back to the SES headquarters.

Security will be stationed at the airbase 24/7 during the weather event.

 

Essential Energy crews ready to respond

WITH weather warnings issued across the North Coast for severe weather over the coming days, Essential Energy is reminding customers to be prepared for unexpected power supply interruptions.

Regional manager North Coast, Brendon Neyland, said that while the overhead electricity network is strong and reliable, it was also at the mercy of the weather.

"Essential Energy is preparing for the high rainfall, possible flooding and strong winds with resources on standby and trucks and plant equipment being moved to areas where flood waters may cause access issues," Mr Neyland said.

"In the event of an unplanned supply interruption, we will dispatch crews as quickly as safety allows to begin power restoration efforts - bringing in extra crews when winds, rain, hail, lightning or flash flooding causes extensive network damage."

"However, just as our crews are at the ready 24/7, we're asking our customers to also be prepared and report any fallen or low hanging powerlines or damaged infrastructure on our supply interruptions line - 13 20 80.

"Remember to stay at least eight metres from fallen powerlines and any other object they may be touching, treat wires on the ground and low hanging lines as live and dangerous, and always exercise extreme caution when cleaning up after a storm, as damaged lines may be hidden by debris."

Mr Neyland said that when a large storm or other event damages the electricity network, Essential Energy workers concentrate on repairing and re-energising major powerlines first to restore electricity to the majority of customers.

"Once this is completed, field crews then target customers' individual faults and problems, such as broken house service lines," Mr Neyland said.

"We really appreciate our customers' patience in times like this, and I assure customers that our crews will work as quickly as safety will allow to get the power back on."

For more information on electrical safety during storms, visit essentialenergy.com.au/safety or call Essential Energy on 13 23 91.

 

UPDATE 1.45pm: 

Evans River K-12 sends out warning to parents

Evans River K-12 School have sent out a message to the parents of their students in light of the weather event.

Parents and Carers,
The school has received advice from the State Emergency Service and Department of Education that our region is likely to experience severe weather conditions from midnight tonight (Thursday) through until Saturday.

On the basis of this advice, parents are asked to consider whether it is in the best interests of their child to attend school tomorrow. Concerns centre around children being able to get to school but not return home safely in the afternoon due to flooding, heavy rainfall and high winds.

 

Byron Shire Council warns severe weather could cause coastal erosion

Byron Shire Council director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, is urging residents and visitors to take extreme care when visiting the shire's beaches and take notice of signage at beach accesses over the coming days.

"The severe weather, east coast low and king tides, could result in rough and dangerous conditions and see our beaches closed due to coastal erosion.

"Whilst currently our beach profiles have a healthy amount of sand present, this could change quickly," he said.

Mr Holloway said staff would be monitoring the beach accesses over the coming days and put signage in place if the beach accesses needed to be closed.

"Even when the weather has eased, check the tides to make sure it is low and the access to the beach is available," Mr Holloway said.

Council crews have also inspected pumping stations and key drains in preparation for the heavy rainfall.

Residents and visitors are cautioned to stay away from swollen creeks and waterways and not cross flooded causeways or roads with water lying over the top.

Byron Shire Council staff will continue to monitor the roads, coastline and waterways and erect signage and barricades where needed.

Keep up to date with weather warning at the Bureau of Meteorology at http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/.

To find out if the beaches are open or closed, visit www.beachsafe.org.au.

If you need emergency help during this weather event, phone the NSW SES on 132 500.

For life threatening emergencies call triple zero 000.

Fallen trees and road damage can be reported to Council during weekdays 8.30am to 4pm on 6685 9300. On weekends and after hours, phone 6622 7022.

Find out how you can be prepared for flood and storm events and put together your emergency plan.

 

UPDATE 11.45am:

Latest SES warning

THE Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Severe Weather Warning for heavy rainfall for the Northern Rivers area on Thursday and Friday.

A trough associated with Tropical Cyclone Marcia over the Coral Sea is expected to deepen over northeast New South Wales later Thursday and Friday.

Rain which may lead to flash flooding is forecast for the Northern Rivers forecast district during Friday.

At the time of issue a Flood Watch was current for the NSW coast from the Queensland border to the Nambucca Valley for Friday and Saturday.

NSW SES advises motorists to take care on the roads and avoid travelling in areas with low level causeways. Heavy rain may cause flash flooding which can be particularly dangerous at night and in the early hours of the morning.

People living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop.

The SES further advises that people camping, caravanning and engaging in activities near rivers and streams should listen to the radio for updates and advice, camp well away from watercourses and streams and be particularly aware that roads leading away from unestablished camp sites could be affected before camping areas.

Farmers and other landholders should keep a watch on their streams and be prepared to move pumps, equipment and livestock to higher ground.

Radio stations are asked to read this Bulletin verbatim and repeat it periodically.

If you need emergency assistance as a result of flooding, contact the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500. FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au

Information on the weather can be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology web site at www.bom.gov.au.

Alternatively, you may phone 1300 659 218.

For the latest traffic information, visit www.livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

For Council Roads visit www.myroadinfo.com.au

For further information contact: NSW SES Public Information Officer (02) 6625 7700.

 

Surf Life Saving sends out warning

SURF Life Saving New South Wales has urged all coastal water users to remain vigilant following the issuing of a dangerous surf warning by the Bureau of Meteorology.

The heavy swells, strong coastal winds and widespread rain expected are caused by the presence of Tropical Cyclone Marcia off the Queensland Coast.

Heavy conditions are expected from Friday and look set to continue through to Sunday night. Swells with peaks of up to 4 metres are expected between the Queensland Border and Smoky Cape on the state's Mid-North-Coast propelled by East to North-Easterly winds.

The warning is in place for the entire NSW coastline with conditions further south also expected to be heavy with swells anticipated to be between 2-3 metres and have swell periods of up to 10 seconds.

Extra care should be taken by boat skippers crossing coastal bars, rockfishers, swimmers and surfers.

"While the heaviest swells and unpleasant conditions are likely to be concentrated around the northern part of the state, we would still encourage all coastal users to be vigilant for their own and others safety," Surf Life Saving NSW Operations Manager Adam Weir said.

"Know your limits, talk to the locals, and if in any doubt about the conditions, don't go out."

Conditions have been forecast to ease slightly by Monday.

Some beaches may be closed due to hazardous conditions. Check the Beachsafe website for up-to-date beach information.

 

General Safety Tips During Dangerous Surf Conditions:

  • Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves.
  • Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red & yellow flags.
  • Check the official Bureau of Meterology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities.
  • Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket.
  • See the Beachsafe Website for patrolled locations/times and rock fishing safety information.
  • If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero - Police.

 

INITIAL REPORT:

Ballina Shire Council

Unfortunately, the forecasted rain also coincides with king tides at around 10.30am on Friday and 11.15am on Saturday in the Ballina Shire.

Ballina Shire Council is reminding residents to never drive through floodwaters and stay well-informed of changing weather conditions.

The website www.myroadinfo.com.au provides updates on rural roads prone to flooding in Ballina Shire and neighbouring Councils. People can also download the free MyRoadInfo app.

During storm events when king tides and high rainfall coincide, localised flooding of urban roads can occur.

Ballina Shire Council has reminded residents that it is impossible for Council to inspect and signpost all urban roads, so if water is over the road please exercise extreme caution.

King tides that coincide with heavy rainfall can put extra pressure on the sewerage system due to floodwater infiltration.

Backing up of water or slow draining water may be experienced in lower lying areas, Council has reminded residents, so please be patient to allow for the discharge to escape.

Also refrain from using internal water, such as washing machines, dishwashers, baths and showers until the water has cleared as this further loads the system.

Residents are advised that it is not necessary to boil drinking water. The water and sewer systems are very separate systems.

A large 3-4 metre east swell will likely occur, Council has said, and a possible storm surge will accompany the rain event elevating ocean water levels above the predicted tide heights.

Exposed north coast beaches may experience coastal erosion, possibly impacting beach access tracks and coastal dunes.

It is recommended to stay away from beaches, and extreme caution will be needed even after the weather event due to erosion.

Despite the expected weather conditions, the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is open and operational at the current time, Council has said.

There is currently no advanced cancellation of flights into or out of Ballina.

If travellers are in doubt they should contact their airline direct.

If you experience property damage, phone the SES on 132 500 or if you find yourself in an emergency, phone 000.

Council has sent the message out loud and clear: Please be sensible, make common sense decisions and never drive, ride or walk through floodwaters. When there are predicted heavy rains and strong winds, the best idea is to stay off the roads and remain at home.

For Ballina Shire Council's after service please phone 6626 6954.

 

Lismore City Council

Lismore City Council is reminding residents to never drive through floodwaters and stay abreast of changing weather conditions.

The website www.myroadinfo.com.au provides updates on road closures due to flooding and people can also download the free MyRoadInfo app, Council said.

Lismore City Council also advises residents to stay informed by listening to their local radio station or checking the BOM's official weather warnings.

If you experience property damage, phone the SES on 132 500 or if you find yourself in an emergency, phone 000.

"While we don't expect to see a flood event, we could see some flash flooding with the amount of heavy rain predicted," Council's Manager Corporate Services Simon Adcock said.

"We encourage people to be sensible, make common sense decisions and, most important of all, never drive through floodwaters. When there are predicted heavy rains and strong winds, the best idea is to stay off the roads and remain at home."

The NSW SES strongly encourages members of the public to remain vigilant and to monitor the BOM website at www.bom.gov.au.

 

Events cancelled due to weather

AS the wet weather hits due to a trough associated with Tropical Cyclone Marcia over the Coral Sea, some local events have been cancelled.

We are compiling a list of cancelled events here for your convenience:

  • Watling & Bates: "Watling & Bates have cancelled our evening at Our House Lismore due to concerns of a long late drive in the rain on the way home to Unumgar. Apologies to the residents and the team from Trinity who are hosting the dinner tonight."
  • Olga Northern Rivers NSW: "Dorothy McKellar said she loves a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains....of drought and flooding rains. So in light of the weather forecast for torrential rains today. We have CANCELLED Twilight Croquet this evening in. Mother Earth apologises for any inconvenience this may cause to your social calendar."
  • Trinity Aquatic Centre has decided to close the centre for all lessons and squad Friday and Saturday.
  • Alstonville Pink Stumps Day: "Please be advised that Alstonville and District Cricket Club has postponed our Pink Stumps Day scheduled for Sunday 22nd February to the 8th March 2015."
  • Lismore Basketball Association: "Tomorrow nights SL opener against Tamworth has been postponed due to inclement weather. Game will be rescheduled for later in the season."
  • Byron YAC: "The YACROCKCAFE at the Byron YAC will be closed tonight. With bands coming from Qld, we didn't want to be responsible for young people on the roads tomorrow night!"

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