Flood watch: Rain, surf and wind warnings dropped

8am Sunday update

The Flood Watch alert and warnings for heavy rain, strong wings and damaging seas have been dropped for the Clarence Valley. Showers are predicted for much of the week ahead.

The Minor Flood Warning is still in place for the Orara River, which peaked at 5.47 metres at the automatic gauge around 6.30 am Sunday morning, causing minor flooding. This is equivalent to 4.5 metres at Glenreagh Bridge.

This minor flood peak is expected to arrive at Coutts Crossing around midnight Sunday, with a predicted peak near 6.9 metres.

For marine waters, there is a Gale warning for the Byron Coast and a strong wind warning for the Coffs Coast.

Grafton has received 13.8mm of rain since 9am Saturday. Yamba has received 6.4mm.

 

8pm update

Minor flood warning for Orara River

Up to 142mm of rain has fallen during the past two days to 3pm Saturday. Further heavy rain is forecast for the next 12 hours. This rain is expected to cause minor flooding along the Orara River at Glenreagh.

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

At 4 pm, ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia was located near the southeast Queensland coast and 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, before moving away to the east during Sunday.

Heavy rain, damaging surf and damaging winds warnings are still in place.

www.livetraffic.com is reporting water across the Pacific Highway at Post Office Lane, Corindi Beach. Drivers need to slow and take care in both directions.

 

1pm update

After a relatively dry morning in much of the local area the Bureau of Meteorology rain radar indicates the Clarence Valley could be in for heavy rainfall this afternoon, particularly coastal areas. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia is now passing through Brisbane as it moves south, pushing a large body of rain ahead of it.

The BoM Flood Watch now indicates the Clarence River may have only minor flooding. Warnings for high winds, heavy surf and flash flooding are still in place.

The Ulmarra Ferry is out of service due to high winds. Use alternative routes.

Road Closures: Tyson St, South Grafton; McPhersons Crossing Rd. Caution required: 15 Mile Swamp - Lower Kangaroo Creek Rd; Bungawalbin-Whiporie Road, Whiporie.

More rainfall figures supplied by readers: Waterview Heights 71mm in 48 hours until 7am (Eileen McLennan) Waterview Heights; Upper Fine Flower 100mm (Tammy Elks); Calliope 94mm since Wednesday (Kim Crapp).

The Disabled Surfers Association event set down for Minnie Water beach on Sunday has been cancelled due to the dangerous surf conditions and strong winds expected.

 

9am update:

 

Latest rainfall figures (24 hours to 9am): Grafton 54mm, Yamba 81.4mm. Other figures provided by readers: Copmanhurst 80mm (Sharon Lehman); Pound St, Grafton 61mm from 9am Friday to 8am Saturday (Peter Boyd); Maclean 98mm since 7 am Friday (Cheryl Bryant); Ellangowan 70mm 7am Friday to 7am Saturday (Lisa McDonogh).

Not much rain in Grafton and Yamba areas in the past two hours. Heaviest falls currently on the coast from the Wooli area down to Coffs Harbour.

The only road closure we are aware of at present is Tyson St, South Grafton, where there is water across the road. Email us on newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au or go to our Facebook page to post any updates, photos or videos.

 

7am Saturday update:

RAINFALL is expected to increase through Saturday as of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia continues to move south.

There are also warnings of damaging winds up to 100kmh and heavy surf throughout the Northern Rivers.

The Clarence River remains on a Flood Watch, while there are flood alerts for the Tweed, Richmond, Wilson and Brunswick rivers. River heights have started to rise in some parts of the Clarence catchment but variations recorded are only minor at this stage.

At 7am Saturday, Grafton had received 53.6mm of rain since 9am Friday, while Yamba had received 81.2mm in the same period.

Tyson St, South Grafton is closed due to water over the road.

If you have any information about damage or closed roads, or photos of the weather and flooding, send them to newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au, or post them on our Facebook page. But PLEASE don't put yourself in danger or do anything risky.

Here is the latest Bureau of Meteorology wild weather warning:

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia west of Fraser Island in central Queensland is moving south to southeast and continuing to weaken. A trough extending south from the ex-cyclone lies near the NSW northern coast. The remnants of the Low will merge with the trough during today with a Low pressure system resulting off the southern Queensland coast tonight.

DAMAGING WINDS around 65 km/h with peak gusts of 100 km/h are forecast for parts of the Northern Rivers district, most likely from this afternoon and mainly near the coast.

VERY HEAVY SURF which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is forecast for the Northern Rivers forecast district. Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

Heavy rain which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is forecast to redevelop over the Northern Rivers, northeastern parts of the Northern Tablelands and northern parts of the Mid North Coast forecast districts. Widespread falls of 100 mm are forecast with local falls as high as 200 mm. There has been a temporary easing in rain intensity overnight with the rain expected to increase again later this morning.

2.30pm update:

TWO helicopters are on standby at the SES regional office in South Grafton to assist with flood operations in the area.

The choppers arrived yesterday morning as part of standard operations and will service the Clarence-Nambucca region.

Regional controller Caroline Ortel said they would be used if there was a need to reach isolated areas for rescue or medical purposes and to provide assistance after a flood event.

 

 

12.20pm update:

BOM radar 12.20pm Friday.
BOM radar 12.20pm Friday.

 

11.30am, Friday:

THE Grafton State Emergency Service has given away more than 1000 sandbags as people prepare their homes for potential flooding.

Grafton SES unit controller Wally Bridle said a team of SES volunteers would continue to fill bags throughout the day.

"There's not much rain at the moment, but we're not quite sure what's going to happen," he said. 

The Yamba SES has also been hard at work yesterday and today, filling sandbags and planning for potential flooding. 

 

10.40am, Friday:

The latest BOM update of where the rain is falling in and around the Clarence Valley. 

BOM latest weather radar.
BOM latest weather radar.

 

6.30am, Friday: CLARENCE Valley farmers have begun to put in place some precautions ahead of the weekend's wild weather despite thoughts that it will not be as hairy as first thought.

With the Clarence Valley put on a flood watch ahead of heavy rainfall forecast for today and into the weekend, many farmers have moved their cattle away from flood susceptible areas of their properties as a precaution.

However Ulmarra farmer Jim Fletcher doubts the weather will cause a lot of flooding, and does not feel his herd is at a large risk.

"I have to be truthful, I think there will be plenty of water, the river will get up a bit, there will plenty of rain and things will get a bit sticky but I don't think we will see a flood," Mr Fletcher said.

HORSE POWER: Rhys Fletcher, 6, helps his grandad Jim Fletcher with moving some cattle into their yards in Ulmarra to prepare for a possible flood. Photo: Adam Hourigan
HORSE POWER: Rhys Fletcher, 6, helps his grandad Jim Fletcher with moving some cattle into their yards in Ulmarra to prepare for a possible flood. Photo: Adam Hourigan

"We will sort out our stock beforehand and move them up closer to the house because if it does flood the back of our place does flood pretty quickly. But I think it's going to drop a lot of rain very quickly but also ease very quickly so the Valley will be pretty safe."

"At the moment I'm not putting in extra precautions, I will just run with what I am doing."

Great Marlow farmer Greg Nichols says he is just watching and waiting for the weekend's weather before he takes any drastic measures.

"I'm just waiting and seeing," he said. "That's all you can do up here on ??the Great Marlow. The Great Marlow levee breaks at above 6m so it is going to take a hell of a rise before we have to do anything."

"All we can do is keep up to date with the Bureau of Meteorology website and if the levee breaks than we will need to go out and move stock and furniture to higher ground."

Mr Fletcher has been farming through some of the Clarence Valley's worst floods.

"There needs to be consistent rain," he said. "At this stage we haven't got a big storage of water around the Valley. It usually floods when we have a lot of stored water in the Valley and the rain overflows those storage points. But at the moment it's been a dry start to the year.

"There may be a few older heads than mine that can work this stuff out better than I can but I think we could just be in for a wet few days and maybe get a little rise to the river but because it's coming so quick and gone away so quick, I don't think it's going to hold for very long and the water will wash away back down the river."

 

6.30am, Friday: Council flooded with inquiries

CLARENCE Valley Council has already been swamped with inquiries about possible road closures due to floodwaters.

Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill said the rain hadn't even arrived when people were calling to ask what roads would be open on Monday.

"I think most people would agree that's a little difficult to answer," he said.

"We understand people are interested about road closures, but we've had some interesting if not challenging calls."

At this point there is no need for concern.

Mr Greensill said people with internet access should check through www.myroadinfo.com to see the latest closures, if there are any.

"Our outdoor workers are on call and will be monitoring road conditions," he said.

"They are all equipped with mobile technology and can upload information about road closures from the field in real time."

For information about highway closures, people should go to www.livetraffic.com.au.

Mr Greensill said council would watch rainfall and weather as the weather system moved through and respond accordingly.

"At this point there is no need for concern," he said.

"According to the forecasts, that could easily change, but at this stage we're doing much the same as everyone else and watching for what might happen next.

"We take leads from the Bureau of Meteorology and the emergency services."

 

UPDATE: 11.30am, Thursday

BOM has put out another warning, saying the region could expect moderate flooding with a 20% chance of major flooding. 

Coastal areas should also brace for king tides. 

At this stage there is a greater than 70% chance of flooding in the following river valleys from Friday onwards:

1. Tweed Valley - including local flash flooding is areas such as Chillingham. Moderate flooding with a 10% chance of major flooding.

2. Brunswick Valley - including Billinudgel. Moderate flooding with a 10% chance of major flooding.

3. Richmond and Wilsons Valleys. Moderate flooding with a 20% chance of major flooding.

4. Clarence Valley, including the Orara River. Moderate flooding with a 20% chance of major flooding.

5. Bellinger Valley - moderate flooding

6. Nambucca Valley - moderate flooding.

Severe Weather Warnings are also current.

This Flood Watch will be reviewed by 12.30pm Friday 20/2/15

For latest rainfall and river level information see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/

 

7.20am, Thursday: SES tells Clarence Valley residents to start preparing now

IF YOU'RE in a flood-prone area, start thinking about supplies now - tomorrow may be too late.

That's the advice from the local State Emergency Service, which has been monitoring the flood potential in the Clarence Valley since Monday.

Heavy rainfall is expected to start in the early hours of tomorrow morning, creating a chance that some river crossings and roads may go under soon after.

Region controller Caroline Ortel said local units had been checking their resources, including flood boats, all week, and were working towards ensuring people in isolation areas were aware of the fact they needed to start preparing for a potential flood event.

Terry Boatswain of Grafton City SES starts getting ready for the predicted wild weather and rainfall this weekend. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Terry Boatswain of Grafton City SES starts getting ready for the predicted wild weather and rainfall this weekend. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

"We're working towards getting information out there now, especially for people in areas that do experience isolation," she said.

"It will be too late on Friday for people to start thinking that they need supplies."

A flood watch issued yesterday predicted a 70% chance of moderate flooding in the Clarence Valley due to the rain event.

Ms Ortel said that while sandbagging of the Grafton levee was not likely, sandbags were always part of the contingency plan if that changed.

She also stressed the importance of not trying to drive through floodwater, which can take away manpower from other operations in a flood and put volunteers' safety at risk.

"We are expecting the rain in the early hours of Friday, possibly before sun-up or when people are driving to work," she said.

"You don't know what's underneath the water, even if the road is still there.

"If you get caught volunteers put themselves at risk. It's always a large problem in the Clarence Valley when there's a lot of rain.

"We will have a lot of ground water as well from the rain."

Aside from being as prepared as possible, the SES will continue to monitor the situation through the day.

"As the situation develops we'll put warnings out," Ms Ortel said.

 

 

7.15am Thursday: THE Bureau of Meteorology will review the current flood status around midday today after they use shorter and more accurate forecasts to predict the severity of the wild weather set to hit the Clarence Valley tomorrow and Saturday.

Last night BOM had put the Clarence Valley on a flood watch and upped the risk level to moderate. This means everyone should be aware of conditions and those living along the river should be watching all weather updates and readying themselves for evacuation if it becomes necessary.

The flood watch isn't to be taken as a definite warning of impending floods with Bureau of Meteorology senior hydrologist Hugh Bruist saying that there is still a lot of uncertainty in predictions.

"There is a great deal of uncertainty at the moment," Mr Bruist said. "This cyclone that is coming down from Queensland could just be a low; but we need to prepare for the worst.

"We're talking rainfall anywhere from 100mm to around 300mm in different sections of the Clarence Valley. We are currently putting the Clarence Valley on moderate flood warning."

Keep up to date with the latest on the wild weather at www.dailyexaminer.com.au. We will provide continual updates on how the weather will affect our region if the cyclone continues to head south as well as rainfall across the Valley.

You can also sign up to receive breaking news alerts so the latest information is sent to you in an email. Sign up at www.dailyexaminer.com.au/my-account/register/.

You can contribute to our coverage by sharing your photos on our website http://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/your-story/ or via our Facebook page. You can also tweet photos to us at the @daily_examiner handle with #wildweather.

Videos or links to videos can be emailed to us at: newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au.

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No Caption

 

UPDATE: 7am Thursday

THE Clarence Valley remains on flood watch as the region braces for heavy rain tomorrow.

Here is the latest BOM warning:

Severe weather warning for heavy rainfall for people in the Northern Rivers. Issued at 4:39am EDT on Thursday Feb 19.

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, in addition to northern parts of the Mid North Coast and eastern parts of the Northern Tablelands forecast districts 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.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:

  • Don't drive, ride or walk through flood water.
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
  • If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.

For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.

The next warning will be issued by 11:00 am EDT Thursday.

 

UPDATE: 11pm, Wednesday: Here's the latest Bureau of Meteorology warning.

HEAVY RAIN FOR NORTHEAST NSW ON FRIDAY

A trough associated with a Tropical Low developing 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, in addition to northern parts of the Mid North Coast and eastern parts of the Northern Tablelands forecast districts during Friday.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
Don't drive, ride or walk through flood water.
Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.

For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.

The next warning will be issued by 5.00 am EDT Thursday.

 

UPDATE, 1.30pm Wednesday: MEDIA reports on Weatherzone, as reported by the ABC, say people should begin preparing their homes for potential flooding. 

The Weatherzone story reads: 

The State Emergency Service (SES) is advising North Coast residents to prepare for heavy rain predicted to hit the area in the coming days.

The Weather Bureau is forecasting up to 400 mm of rain could fall in the region stretching from Lismore to Coffs Harbour on Friday and Saturday.

The SES Clarence-Nambucca deputy regional controller Michael Stubbs said it is not exactly clear yet if it will be a minor or major event, but people do have time to prepare for it.

"We're looking at events coming in on Friday so people have time now to put into place safety measures when the likely heavy rain actually occurs," he said. 

"They can clean all the gutters and drains around their property because there's going to be a lot of localised flooding. 

"They can also have sandbags or rolls of plastic or anything like that, to put around the doorways."

Mr Stubbs said if the weather does hit, it is unlikely river flooding will be the immediate problem.

"I think the issue for the residents will be the flash flooding," he said. 

"That will be the water that will get around the houses and build up very quickly. 

"We're not anticipating any riverine flooding at this stage.

"But it's the local water that's going to be around the houses, and all around the roads and the causeways that people are going to have to watch out for."

The Weather Bureau's latest warning said there is some uncertainty over the forecast rain totals for the event.

It said it depends upon the eventual severity of a tropical low that is currently located over the Coral Sea.

The Bureau said king high tides will add to the risk of flooding in lower tidal reaches.

It warns of a greater than 70 per cent chance of moderate flooding in river valleys from the Tweed to the Nambucca from Friday onwards.

That includes the Clarence Valley including the Orara River and the Bellinger Valley

 

 

UPDATE: 12: 40pm, Wednesday: THE Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Flood Watch for the Clarence River including the Orara River, Bellinger Valley and Nambucca Valley.

Heavy falls are expected over the NSW north coast area this Friday and Saturday. There is some uncertainty over the forecast rain totals for this event as it depends upon the eventual severity of a tropical low that is currently located over the Coral Sea.

In addition, king high tides will add to the risk of flooding in the lower tidal reaches of these rivers.

At this stage there is a greater than 70% chance of moderate flooding in the following river valleys from Friday onwards:

1. Clarence Valley including the Orara River

2. Bellinger Valley

3. Nambucca Valley.

Farmers are advised to monitor the weather and be ready to move their livestock, pumps and other equipment away from rising waters.

If this weather system intensifies, flooding could develop along the above named river catchments. If so, the Bureau will issue Flood Warnings along with the State Emergency Service who will release Flood Bulletins to tell you about the situation and what you should do to protect your family and property. Please listen carefully to these Bulletins.

This Flood Watch means that people living or working along rivers and creeks must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop. Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service. Across NSW over 70% of Flood Watches are followed by flooding within the catchment.

You can find more information on the weather in the catchments of these rivers from the Bureau of Meteorology website at http://www.bom.gov.au.

If you need emergency help from the SES call 132 500. Keep listening to this station for updated information and further warnings. For life threatening situations call 000.

 

Keep updated

KEEP up to date with the latest on the wild weather at: www.dailyexaminer.com.au.

We will be providing continual updates on how the weather will affect our region if the cyclone continues to head south as well as rainfall across the Valley.

You can also sign up to subscribe to breaking news alerts so the latest information is sent to you in an email. Sign up here www.dailyexaminer.com.au/my-account/register/ 

You can contribute to our coverage by sharing your photos on our websites www.dailyexaminer.com.au/your-story/ or via our Facebook page.

You can also tweet photos to us at the daily_examiner handle with #wildweather.

Videos or links to videos can be emailed to us at: newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au.



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