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Down she comes

By Adrian Miller

Localised flood warnings were issued and some roads closed in the Clarence Valley yesterday as torrential rain fell throughout the area.

The rain wreaked havoc on roads all over the Valley as businesses closed, schools sent children home early and people rushed home from Grafton to the Lower Clarence in order to beat rising water levels.

The village of Wooli was nearly cut off when Wooli Road was closed at Sandy Crossing and White Bridge because of heavy rain, however, access to the town was still available from Firth Hinze Road.

State Emergency Services (SES) Clarence Valley controller Bill Manyweathers said the panic felt by many was unnecessary.

"Basically it's minor flooding as far as we're concerned and there is no inundation from the Clarence River, and at this stage there's no threat of that," he said.

Late yesterday Mr Manyweathers said the river level remained low in Grafton, and the major threat of flooding was coming from the Orara River near Glenreagh.

"There's been a fair bit of rain up around Lilydale and above Copmanhurst, but it doesn't appear it'll greatly impact Grafton or the Lower River," he said.

He said the SES had been called to numerous jobs in Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, but they were all for minor flooding or preparing sandbags.

Late yesterday a Clarence Valley Council spokesman said some local roads were closed, which caused disruptions.

Clarence Way at Fineflower Creek Bridge, Coaldale Road at Chevalleys Bridge and Lilydale Road at Lilydale Bridge were all closed.

Back Road between Tyndale and Tucabia was also closed, as was Swan Lane north of Grafton.

The Pacific Highway at Blackadder Creek was also closed.

He said all council sports fields were shut, and were likely to remain that way over the weekend.

"They are all closed in the Clarence Valley at the moment, and we would assume they would be closed over the weekend with all the rain we've had," he said.

Grafton SES unit controller Ross Blewitt said even with all the rain, they had very few call outs.

"We've had a couple of inquiries about river heights, we've had one sandbagging job in South Grafton, we had to look at a fallen tree in South Grafton which we couldn't do much with and apart from that it's been manning phones," he said.

Maclean SES unit controller Ron Rushton said they had eight calls throughout the day, mainly for overflowing drains, and had closed down their operations by midafternoon because they didn't expect any more calls overnight.

While the weather had cleared by mid-afternoon in all parts of the Valley, more rain was due overnight and this morning, but was expected to clear throughout today.

The weekend weather should be fine, with no rain forecast and temperatures in the low 20s.



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