NSW floods: Latest updates on flooding in Maclean, food supplies in Lismore, recovery in Ballina, Coffs, Tweed

A life-threatening landslip has developed on Tyalgum road in Tweed Shire. Experts fear that another severe low pressure system will form on Sunday. Your latest free updates:

A dangerous and life-threatening landslip formed on Tyalgum Road in the Tweed Shire.

The Tweed Shire Council has ordered the closure of the road between Tyalgum & Bray Park.

This is a major unstable land slip and requires significant repair, according to the council.

Rubbish collection

Tweed Shire Council will begin bulk collection on Sunday, subject to water levels dropping and safe roads access.

Mayor Chris Cherry stated that the clean-up would be huge and a logistical challenge.

“We are still in the response phase of this flood event and getting ready to support our community to recover,”Ms Cherry said.

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“While we have successfully restored water supply to the majority of the Tweed and been able to remove level 4 water restrictions, we are also announcing plans to commence the huge task of the flood clean up.

“It’s best to leave your flood-affected items out the front rather than taking them to the tip to avoid congestion – we’ll get to you over the next few weeks.”

Priority kerbside pickup areas will be available starting March 6 in Murwillumbah CBD (South Murwillumbah), Condong, Uki and Stokers Siding.

Tumbulgum or Bongangar, Cabarita Beach and Pottsville will be the main focus for the week.

Stotts Creek businesses can reopen once the tip is open. You can then off-load flood-generated waste for free up to March 21.

Normal bin collections will be returned as soon as access permits.

Weather warning

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is monitoring the prospect of a fresh low pressure system forming on Sunday – with a potential impact from the Mid-North Coast through to the Victorian border.

“As we know here in NSW with any low pressure system they are very dynamic and evolving situations,“ meteorologist Dean Narramore told a press conference on Friday morning.

“We’re looking at widespread shower and thunderstorm activity developing across much of eastern NSW from the Mid-North Coast all the way down to the Victorian border and extending inland on Sunday and Monday.

“Now that is not good news for us here in eastern NSW and for much of the state as we know things are already saturated.“

Mr Narramore had mixed news for the Northern Rivers – with the situation generally easing, but the chance of isolated storms later on Friday.

“Around the Northern Rivers area we’re seeing the water levels drop to minor (flooding) at Lismore and we’re continuing to see them fall very slowly at Ballina as well,“ he said.

But given the large amount of water still moving through the river systems around Ballina, moderate to major flooding will continue there on Friday and ease on Saturday.

“Persistent showers and isolated thunderstorms up there again today but that will be very hit and miss thankfully so most areas should stay dry through today and tomorrow,“ Mr Narramore said.

“But do be aware … the possibility of some severe thunderstorms again up in the Northern Rivers this afternoon and this evening.

Aerial photos of northern NSW’s flooding devastation laid bare

Aerial views of Northern Rivers hubs smashed by swollen Wilsons and Clarence rivers have revealed the scale of flood devastation and the effort that will be required to recover.

Lismore, Southgate and Ulmarra are among the communities deep in clean-up mode as residents from within and outside the impact zone band together to get their lives back on track.

Nearmap captured the following before and after images via the Nearmap proprietary aerial camera system attached to planes.

They show the inundation of the Ballina Street Bridge which connects Lismore with South Lismore.

It was a truly unexpected scene for long time residents who had not before witnessed water over the top of the landmark.

See more aerial maps here.

News to donate $1m to flood relief efforts

Northern Star reporters all week have revealed the devastation of the disaster and now they will help direct where $1 million donated by News Corp Australia will be directed to aid the recovery efforts.

Tessa Flemming has kept filing from a Ballina evacuation centre as flood waters lapped at her own front door.

“People were coming in with their dogs, birds in cages. It was the best place to be for the story, but you don’t really want to be part of it yourself,”She spoke.

Catherine Piltz, Catherine’s colleague, was evacuated in Lismore because the waters in her home reached waist height.

“The scariest thing for me was thinking that there are still people that are old and trapped, and how frightening it must be for them,”She spoke.

News Corp is working with St Vincent de Paul to support The Vinnies Flood Appeal, and gathering information from its staff on the ground to ensure the money gets where it’s needed most.

Queensland’s regional reporters provide round-the-clock coverage from Hervey Bay and Gympie on the Sunshine Coast and throughout Brisbane suburbs.

Queensland was the initial site of the flood crisis. There, more than a metre had fallen in some parts within days.

Lismore was hit by the region’s worst flood on record on Monday, with four people so far confirmed dead.

Stuart Cumming, 38 (editor of the northern NSW titles), drove 30 seconds from his home on high ground to begin covering the floods.

“I watched a guy in a tinny rowing along his street, pulling his neighbours out one after the other,”He said.

“People have their belongings outside their homes as they try to clean up. It is a stinking mess and I have spoken to quite a few people who don’t have any ­insurance cover.”

News’ announcement of a $1 million donation for flood affected areas follows another $1 million for fire ravaged communities.

“Our support comes through direct contact between our people and the communities they live in and cover,’’ News Corp’s Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said.

Troops arrive for Lismore clean up

Lismore Mayor Steve Kreig has shared on social media that hundreds of troops where expected to arrive today to assist with clean up, bringing heavy machinery with them.

He said the number of confirmed deaths was 4, however several people are unaccounted for and search and recovery will happen throughout the day.

More police sent to flood regions

NSW Police will send more than 100 new officers to flood-ravaged Northern NSW to help with the rescue and recovery operation.

The additional officers, from multiple metropolitan Police Area Commands and specialist units across the state landed in northern NSW late Thursday.

They will be deployed to support local police attached to Richmond Police District and Tweed/Byron Police District, covering the areas of Lismore, Tweed Heads, Ballina and surrounds.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the extra police resources will make a significant contribution to the emergency response.

“These communities have faced some of the toughest times imaginable, but the stories of compassion and bravery from police, volunteers and entire communities rolling up their sleeves to pitch in have been incredible,”Mr. Toole stated.

“Rest assured we are throwing every resource at this evolving situation, and deploying these extra officers will make a huge difference on the ground, not only in the immediate response phase, but also during the long road to recovery.”

Mal Lanyon, the Deputy Commissioner for State Emergency Operations, stated that the NSW Police Force would continue to help flood-affected communities.

“I want everyone affected by this ongoing emergency to know we will support you in the coming weeks, months, and as long as it takes, to get you and your communities back on your feet,”Lanyon, Deputy Commissar

Emergency calls down

A Telstra spokesman has told the ABC there are still many communities where people can’t call Triple 0 through any service.

“We’ve still got a wide area of outages particularly around the mobile network around the Northern Rivers,”He said.

He stated that crews were now able reach areas where floodwaters had receded in order to make repairs and that some services have been restored to the Lismore area.

However, connectivity issues are still prevalent.

He stated that as of Thursday night, some areas, including Mullumbimby (Uki), Ocean Shores and Koonorigan, The Channon Modanville, Homeleigh Pillar Valley, Pillar Valley, and parts of Kingscliff, still had outages that made it impossible to make emergency calls.

“I think we account for most issues and contingencies but when you have an unprecedented weather event, as we’ve had, it does put enormous strain on any infrastructure,”He said.

Stocking up in Lismore supermarkets that aren’t flooded

Residents in Lismore are being informed that supermarkets that have not been flooded will be restocked Friday morning.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway acknowledged that it was a difficult few days for the flooded communities of northern NSW.

“At an emergency meeting tonight (Thursday) we were advised non-flooded Lismore supermarkets will be restocked tomorrow morning (Friday) which I know will come as a huge relief to the community,’’ he said in an update posted on social media.

Defence Australia would continue to support other supply chain operations to isolated communities.

He said transport crews were continued to work with emergency services to inspect and open key roads.

“Our teams are also working with the NSW SES who have formed Rapid Damage Assessments Teams to help the community clear roads and infrastructure as soon as practical.”

“For those travelling from Sydney/Newcastle to Brisbane, your best route is inland via the New England Hwy.

“If you are travelling from Grafton to Brisbane, Gwydir Hwy, New England Hwy or Summerland Way direct are your best options.”

Important advice for residents returning home to their homes

The SES has provided key advice to residents who are returning to their homes following a flood.

It involves stocking up basic items such as nonperishable food (canned, in jars), bottles water, medications and torch batteries.

“Fill up your fuel tank and withdraw cash (ATMs) in your area may not be working or banks may be closed).

“Be prepared for a slow journey; road conditions may have changed and there may be detours in place.

Those returning and helping with clean-ups should wear sturdy boots, long pants and long sleeves, eye protection and gloves-and wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.

“Watch out for potential dangers such as snakes, spiders and other animals.”

There’s more great information here

Keep an eye on the river levels

The Wilsons River (AHD) at Lismore was reported to be at 7m and falling, with minor flooding.

It’s expected to fall to 4.20m overnight Friday into Saturday.

Grafton and Maclean are experiencing a drop in river levels along the Clarence River. However, flooding is still ongoing.

Maclean is experiencing major flooding, while Ulmarra and Grafton are experiencing moderate flooding.

“River levels are expected to continue to fall, however there is some possibility of renewed river level rises into the weekend,’’ the bureau says.

The situation is being closely monitored and revised forecasts will be issued if necessary.

The Clarence River at Grafton (Prince St) was at 4.66 metres and falling, with moderate flooding.

The river is likely to fall below the moderate flood level (3.60m) during Friday.

At Ulmarra, it was at 4.29 metres and falling, with moderate flooding The river is expected to fall below the moderate flood level (3.40m) during Friday.

The Clarence River at Maclean was at 2.93 metres and falling, with major flooding. The river is likely to fall below the major flood level (2.50m) during Friday.

Major flooding at or near record levels is continues along the Richmond River at Coraki, Bungawalbyn and Woodburn but residents are being reminded to keep an eye on changes if there is rainfall into the weekend.

The Richmond River at Coraki was near 6.73 metres and falling slowly, with major flooding.

At Coraki, the Richmond may fall below the major flood level (5.70m) during Sunday.

At Bungawalbyn it was near 6.33 metres and falling slowly, with major flooding. It may fall below the major flood level (5.00m) during Sunday.

The Richmond River at Woodburn was near 6.04 metres and falling slowly, with major flooding. It may fall below the major flood level (4.20m) during Sunday.

Check updates on river levels here: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/

Emergency evacuation for Maclean residents

The SES have announced an emergency evacuation order for Maclean residents as concerns for the town levee mount.

Maclean residents have been warned by the SES the levee may wall may “fail”.

If the levee walls are “compromised”Floodwater from the Clarence River that has built up could enter the town, causing flooding. “inundation”.

NSW SES is currently offloading truckloads dirt and gravel at the location of the levee walls to contain the potential explosion.

NSW SES advised residents to “act now and be prepared”.

Residents in Maclean will be notified via mobile phone of an evacuation alert, as there is no alarm.

Sue Chappell, Ulmarra SES Unit manager, said that it was crucial to ensure that the elderly and disabled in the lower laying sections of Maclean are evacuated quickly.

Residents were warned “prepare yourselves, animals, livestock and property”.

Maclean Showground is home to an evacuation centre.

Maclean’s affected streets are:

Argyle Street

Bakers Lane

Bank Lane

Basin Street

Cameron Street

Centenary Drive

Central Ave

Church Street

Clyde Street

Diamond Street

Dunoon Crescent

Dwartes Lane

Emerald Street

Houghs Lane

Howard Street

Iona Close

John Street

Jubilee Street

McLachlan Street

McNaughton Place

Morven Street

Rannoch Ave

River Street

Rush Lane

Sapphire Close

Stanley Close

Taloumbi Street

Union Street

Coraki needs your help

Coraki needs urgent help because of the shortage of emergency supplies.

Madeline Adams, Ballina resident, stated that she had been speaking to two elderly women left behind from their homes.

They are currently at the Coraki Uniting Church evacuation center, which is in desperate need for food, water, and toiletries.

“There is gastro going through the town and they are running out of basic needs,” Ms Adams said.

However, with floodwaters threatening the town of Broadwater and the surrounding area, Ms Adams explained that it was difficult to get supplies in.

She asked anyone with a boat, plane, or other means of reaching out to her or the Uniting Church if they could help.

“They haven’t been back home, they’re wearing other people’s clothes”She spoke.

“I’m just hoping someone can try and help.”

Airport closed

Ballina Byron Gateway Airport stated on social media that they will remain closed until at minimum midday Friday, March 4.

All commercial flights were cancelled, but emergency services are still available.

Lismore is home to life-saving drugs

A helicopter filled with life-saving drugs brought relief to Lismore’s chemist, which was overwhelmed by floodwaters that decimated much of the town.

Kate Daniel, owner of Chemist Warehouse Lismore, said that she has seen people traumatized by terrible situations and had managed to keep their spirits up.

“As a community everyone seems to be rallying behind each other and really supporting each other,” Mrs Daniel said.

“It’s certainly been a crazy time.”

She stated that the store was overwhelmed with customers who formed a long queue for scripts.

“The volume of scripts is unprecedented and we have run out of a lot of lifesaving medications,”She said. READ MORE

Weather alerts: Flood warnings, heavy rainfall

Today’s flood warnings and severe storm alerts were issued for most New South Wales. More heavy rain is expected to hit already devastated towns.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns of a low off the Mid North Coast that will intensify and move towards the central New South Wales coast.

The system will bring heavy surf, which can cause localized damage and abnormally high tides, which may lead to sea water flooding in low-lying areas.

The Bureau warns that water levels could exceed or surpass the highest tide of the calendar year by more than 0.02 metres, especially during the morning high tide.

“Abnormally high water levels are occurring along the northern coast due to flooding and tides being near the highest astronomical tide,”These are the warning signs.

There are flood warnings for many rivers, including the Wilsons River in Lismore and Clarence River in Grafton.

The NSW Police warn people not to park underneath trees that are susceptible to being uprooted or fallen over by high winds.

Get the latest weather warnings here.

Ballina Island cut off

After the historic flooding that devastated Ballina Island this week, Ballina Island is still isolated from its surrounding areas.

Many Ballina residents were frustrated when they tried to return home to their CBD on Wednesday. But they were turned away.

In the meantime, major communication network issues affected the town and many Northern Rivers.

Although the extent of the damage to the Ballina CBD has not been revealed, police had set up roadblocks Wednesday to stop people from returning to flood-ravaged streets that were many still under water from the swollen Richmond River.

Police roadblocks were erected on the CBD side of Missingham Bridge – heading from East Ballina – on Angels Beach Drive.
The town has been also isolated from the north at Tamarind Drive as well as the south and west.

Sharon Cadwallader, Ballina mayor said the town was in a “rare pocket” of phone reception. “desperate situation”.

“I said (earlier) it was a one in 500 year event but it’s actually a one in 1000 year event, I believe, now,”Ms. Cadwallader stated.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the river topple over like it has and to fill up the main CBD of Ballina.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see the homes flooded.”

250+ schools shut

Due to the flood crisis and road closures in the state, more schools in New South Wales than 250 have been closed.

Check out the list of independent and state schools HereCatholic schools Here.

Many thousands of calls to help

The NSW SES received 3166 calls since Wednesday 5am, including 255 flood rescues.

Their busiest units include Wyong (223), Penrith (177), Liverpool (167), Penrith (177), Penrith (187) and Blacktown (134).

“The East Coast Low started affecting NSW early this morning with heavy rain and strong winds,”An update from the SES

“Heavy falls have been recorded across the Sydney Metropolitan, Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra Regions. This is expected to continue and intensify into the day. In the North Coast, wild weather is likely to spread from QLD into Northern Rivers over the coming days.

“The current weather situation remains serious. There are multiple evacuation orders in place across the state. Affected residents are urged to follow the advice provided within these evacuation orders and act immediately if safe.

“Trees are more likely to fall as soil structures are soaked and impacted by strong winds. Localised flash flooding could occur at any time.

“Make safe, smart decisions for you and your family. Avoid unnecessary travel and never drive, ride or walk-through flood water.”

Visit this page to view the current Evacuation Orders and Centres and Flood Bulletins. www.ses.nsw.gov.au.

Call NSW SES 132 500 for emergency assistance during floods and storms. Triple-0 (000), immediately if the situation becomes life-threatening

Flood-stricken areas need food supplies

Wednesday night saw the arrival of a convoy of goods in Lismore, which was devastated by flooding. Sam Farraway, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, urged residents not to cross the road.

“Thanks to help from NSW Police Force, drivers took a more time-consuming and indirect route along the Pacific Motorway rather than the more direct Bruxner Highway, which remains closed in several sections,”Mr Farraway stated.

“Byron Bay and Alstonville are along the route and will also be resupplied.

“While the Pacific Motorway opened to all traffic between Ballina and the Queensland border earlier (Wednesday) afternoon, all non-essential travel is still discouraged.

“This was an urgent resupply run with the help of authorities, please do not take any risks.”

It comes as Lismore City Council asks for donations to evacuated residents.

Aerial photos reveal Ballina’s heartache amid fourth death

A fourth person was killed in the flood disaster in northern NSW. A man in his 70s was found inside a South Lismore house on Wednesday.

The man — who is yet to be formally identified — was discovered at a home on Cromer St about 2pm and a crime scene has been established.

Confirmation of the fourth fatality of the floods came just hours after the discovery of Stuart Bock’s body in the Lismore CBD on Wednesday morning, bringing a tragic end to three days of searching by his family and friends.

You can read more about it here.

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