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ROLLING COVERAGE: Rain eases overnight

UPDATE SUNDAY 7:45AM: Rain conditions have eased over the Clarence Valley overnight.

There is still a moderate flood warning for the Orara river, however the Bureau is reporting that no significant rainfall fell over the valley since 9PM Saturday.

The Orara River at Glenreagh Bridge (manual flood gauge) is currently at 7.40 metres and near its peak with moderate flooding.

The Orara River at Coutts Crossing is likely to reach around 9.80 metres during Sunday with moderate flooding.

Meanwhile, the Bureau rain gagues at Yamba and Grafton also reported small falls overnight.

The Grafton Airport g ague recorded 1.8mm of fall since 9PM Saturday, bringing the 24 hour total to just under 50mm for the 24 hours. This is in contrast to 92mm that fell in the previous 24 hours.

In Yamba, the gauge recorded just 7mm of rain for the previous 24 hours, contrasting with the massive 155mm falls since 9am Friday.

The Pacific Highway is closed to light vehicles due to flooding at Clarenza. Diversions are available around Centenary Drive.

There is also a caution after a treefall and landslide at Cangai last night. 

UPDATE: 8:30PM: Rain is steadily falling across the Clarence Valley, with more severe falls occurring to the south west of the Clarence around the Dorrigo area.

The Bureau of Metereology is predicting another burst of severe weather tonight, with damaging surf, high wind, and thunderstorms embedded within a slow-moving trough, and weakening by Sunday.

UPDATE 5.15PM: The Orara River at Glenreagh is predicted to reach moderate flooding, the BOM  have reported in their latest flood update. 

In flood warning number 3, BOM said up to 80 millimetres of rain has been recorded during the past 12 hours to 04:00 pm today over the Orara River Valley

Further rainfall is forecast for the next 24 hours. At this stage it is not possible to predict flood peaks because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.

Moderate flooding is predicted along the Orara River at Glenreagh and Coutts Crossing.

Minor flooding is current along the Orara River at Glenreagh. The Orara River at Glenreagh Bridge (manual flood gauge) is expected to reach the moderate flood level (7.00 m) late Saturday evening.

Minor flooding is current along the Orara River at Coutts Crossing. The Orara River at Coutts Crossing is expected to reach the moderate flood level (9.00 m) during Sunday.

The next warning will be issued by 08:00 pm EDT on Saturday 18 March 2017.

Latest River Heights:

Location Height of River (m) Tendency Date/Time of Observation
Orara River at Karangi 3.16 Steady 04:00 PM SAT 18/03/17
Orara River at Glenreagh (Automatic Gauge) 6.99 Rising 04:00 PM SAT 18/03/17
 

UPDATE: 4:30PM: Journalist Jarrard Potter has put together this vision for the flooding around Maclean and Brooms Head today, including the dramatic footage of water smashing against a ute trapped in a drain.

UPDATE: 3.50PM: The Pacific Highway has reopened to traffic in both directions between Ballina and Grafton after flooding.

The highway had been closed until the road was deemed safe for travel through New Italy. 

Emergency services and traffic response crews remain on site to monitor levels and traffic flow.

Motorists are advised to continue to exercise caution and allow additional travel until traffic returns to normal.

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

UPDATE 3.15PM: Heavy rain and windy conditions are predicted for the North Coast, including parts of the Clarence Valley tonight. 

The Bureau of Meteorology released this forecast just before 3pm:

A slow-moving low pressure system off the far north coast extends a trough across the northern coast. This system is generating widespread rain across northeast New South Wales, with isolated thunderstorms embedded within the rainband.

HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is expected through the Mid North Coast and parts of the Northern Rivers and adjacent ranges today. Rainfall totals between 100 mm to 200 mm are expected during Saturday for the warning area. Localised falls exceeding 250 mm are also possible during Saturday. 

DAMAGING WINDS, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h are possible along the coastal fringe for southern parts of the Northern Rivers and northern parts of the Mid North Coast.

Conditions are expected to ease for most areas during Sunday as the low and associated trough weaken.

Locations which may be affected include Yamba, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Sawtell and Dorrigo. 

The State Emergency Service advises that people should: 

* Move vehicles under cover or away from trees. 
* Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony. 
* Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences. 
* Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid on 131 388, or Endeavour Energy on 131 003 or Essential Energy on 132 080, as shown on your power bill. 
* 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 Severe Weather Warning will be issued by 11:00 pm AEDT Saturday.

 

Water over the road on Rushforth Road.
Water over the road on Rushforth Road. Caitlan Charles

 

There is still water over Rushforth Rd in multiple places, including a section at Cedar Park where the road is closed. Poley Bridge on Rushforth Rd is also closed. 

 


 

UPDATE: 2:30PM: Photographer Debrah Novak has been around the Lower Clarence capturing some shots of the huge amounts of water flooding through the area.

UPDATE: 2PM: The Bureau of Meterology have updated the flood warning to the Orara River to moderate flooding.

Moderate flooding is predicted along the Orara River at Glenreagh and Coutts Crossing

The Orara River at Glenreagh Bridge (manual flood gauge) is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.00 m) early Saturday afternoon. The river level may reach the moderate flood level (7.00 m) late Saturday evening.

The Orara River at Coutts Crossing is expected to exceed the minor flood level (5.00 m) Saturday afternoon. The river level may reach the moderate flood level (9.00 m) during Sunday.

The next warning will be issued by 5pm.

The Shannon Creek Dam is now isolated according to Clarence Nambucca Region SES and residents in the area are blocked off by water over the road. 

The Coutts Crossing village is currently without incident, however there is a lot of localised water in the area which has not been experienced before. 

The Coutts Crossing Nymboida SES are frequently checking rain gauge readings and have not needed to fill sand bags at this stage. 

The Poley Bridge is now closed as is the 15 Mile Bridge near Coutts Crossing. 

UPDATE: 1:30PM: With more than 130mm falling across Maclean and Gulmarrad, sporting fields and drains are struggling to cope with the deluge.

With water over the road due to localised flooding from the extensive rain that has lashed the region, police are urging motorists to take caution and not cross flooded roads.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, of the state's Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, said that with wet weather continuing, road users should take extra care.

"I urge anyone who plans to travel to be aware of road conditions and plan or postpone your trip accordingly.

"Don't drive through floodwaters for any reason. No matter what type of car you have, if you can't see the roadway, don't risk it.

"Over the past week, the decisions made - predominantly by motorists - have not only put their lives at risk, but also the lives of the police, SES and other emergency service personnel who have to rescue them.

UPDATE: 12:45PM: Wild weather has hit Wooli hard over the night, with winds and heavy rain bringing down trees, whipping up foam and sand and isolating the town.

Wooli/Yuraygir SES unit controller Ann Mara  said the storms hit Wooli from 11pm last night, with their first callouts around 2am.

She said they had been called out to many reports of trees down, and also to help with sandbagging the area.

Wooli is completely cut off with water closing the road at both Sandy Crossing and White Bridge.

Rain was still falling in the town, and she said the SES was still very busy with the rain event.

Resident Nikki Voss provided this gallery of photos and video to show some of the water in town from the rain:

UPDATE: 12:30PM: The Pacific Highway has been again closed again in both directions at New Italy due to flooding near the Bundjalung Rest Area.

Motorists are advised to avoid travel in the area or use the New England Highway instead.   Additionally, the Pacific Highway is also closed at Grafton due to flooding with contra flow conditions in place.   Summerland Way remains closed at Whiporie due to flooding about 5 kilometres north of Whiporie.

UPDATE: 12:00PM: The Maclean SES are responding to a call on Brooms Head Rd where a ute is caught in a drain filling with flood water. 

Lloyd Meehan, who is acting Maclean station controller (originally from Queenbeyan-Palerang SES) said a crew is currently on their way to the site. 

"At this state we're still responding to clarify the information that we got ... that there are no persons trapped and no persons injured," Mr Meehan said. 

"We've got another job, which is assisting a family to leave a premises on Banana Rd, where there are medical concerns for a daughter and we're having to walk the family out through the flood waters to safety.

"We've had 33 other calls for general flood assistance, things like sandbagging."

Mr Meehan asks that if anyone is able to come to the SES in Maclean or the SES in Yamba to collect sandbags, it would be very helpful as it frees up volunteers to respond to other calls. 

Mr Meehan also encourages people not to attempt to go through flood water. 

The Maclean SES is at 74 River St, Maclean and the Yamba SES  is in Covenent Lane. 

 

UPDATE: 11:30AM: There is water over the road on the Pacific Highway near the Matilda Service Station in South Grafton.

RMS are conducting traffic control and drivers are encouraged to take care when driving through water over the roads. 

Sporting fields around South Grafton are also flooded with water covering the vast majority of JJ Lawrence Fields and McKittrick Park. 

UPDATE 11:15AM: Helen Tucker, Secretary of the Pelican Playhouse, has told the Daily Examiner tonight and tomorrow's showing of The Bentley Effect is now cancelled. 

"We regret to advise that, due to the inclement weather, we have no choice but to cancel The Bentley Effect screenings for both tonight and Sunday afternoon," she said. 

"All tickets purchased at Buckley's Music will be refunded in full.

"We do intend to screen this important documentary later in the year, and will let you know once a date has been confirmed.

"We trust you understand our decision, and apologise for the disappointment."

The Pelican Playhouse are planning to reschedule the film at a later date. 

UPDATE 10:45AM: Stop slow conditions are now in place on the Pacific Highway in both directions at New Italy in the states mid north coast due to flooding.

The highway was briefly closed and traffic diverted via Summerland Way and the Bruxner Highway.

Traffic is heavy through the area so motorists should exercise caution and allow plenty of additional travel time.

Additionally, Summerland Way is also closed in both directions at Whiporie between Grafton and Casino due to flooding. 

Motorists travelling to and from Queensland should consider using New England Highway instead.

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

UPDATE 10.00AM: The Pacific Highway is closed in both directions at New Italy in the states mid north coast due to flooding near the Bandjalung Rest Area.

North and southbound traffic is being diverted via Summerland Way and Bruxner Highway through Grafton, Casino, Lismore and Ballina in both directions.

Motorists are advised to exercise caution through the area and allow plenty of additional travel time.

Emergency services are on scene and traffic response crews are attending.

Motorists should also follow directions of emergency services and traffic crews, and never drive through floodwaters.

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

UPDATE 9.30AM: Official readings from the Bureau of Meteorology's gauge at the airport recorded 82mm overnight, while the Grafton Research gauge got 84mm - since 9am Friday.

Further south in Coffs Harbour the falls were even more intense with the gauge at Coffs Harbour Airport recording 92mm while a little further inland at Newports Creek 152mm torrential falls of 152mm were recorded,

Forecaster from the BoM, David Crock said the Clarence Valley was presently getting the worst of the system.

"Grafton is right in the middle of it at the moment," he said.

UPDATE 9AM: There are wide spread reports of localised flooding in streets around the Clarence Valley. Matty Carlin posted this photo of Boronia Crescent in Crystal Watesr in Yamba with water covering the local roads.

 

Water over the local roads in Crystal Waters.
Water over the local roads in Crystal Waters. Matt Carlin.

Rick Murray has reported more than 100mm of rain covering local roads, but not the highway at Glenugie. In Maclean, McIntyres lane has water covering the road, while in Grafton, there is water over the Pacific Highway on the southern entrance to Grafton.

8AM Saturday: The Bureau of Metereology has issued an initial flood warning for the Orara River.

Up to 28mm of rain was recorded during the past six hours to 7am in the Orara River Valley, and with furhter rainfall expected over the next 48 hours, minor flooding is expected at Glenreagh and Coutts Crossing.

The Orara River at Glenreagh Bridge (manual flood gauge) is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.00 m) Saturday morning. The river level may reach around 6.1 metres Saturday evening with minor flooding.

The Orara River at Coutts Crossing is likely to exceed the minor flood level (5.00 m) Saturday morning. The river level may reach around 8.00 metres Sunday morning with minor flooding.

The flood warning will be updated at 1pm today.

Cancellations

The Lower Clarence Relay for Life has been cancelled due the severity of the wet weather across Yamba. The committee is exploring the options of holding the event later in the year.

Lower Clarence netball have called off all their games early this morning with the large system directly over the Lower Clarence this morning.

Grafton netball association have called of their junior games this morning, and will make an assessment of their senior games at 12.30pm this afternoon.

The Lower Clarence Magpies have also called off their trial against the Tweed Coast Raiders at Angourie Sports Field as there is significant water over the field.

The Yamba Buccaneers trial is also cancelled.

Screenings of the Bentley Effect at the Pelican Playhouse have been cancelled today and tomorrow. 

The list will be updated as more come to hand.



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