ROLLING COVERAGE: Strong wind and heavy rain expected throughout Saturday
- Latest information on event cancellations
- Coastal areas prepare for damaging surf conditions
- Ulmarra SES to have sandbags at the ready
- Downpours to bring relief for volunteer firefighters
- Nature's weird and wonderful way of knowing when wet weather is coming
- 10 things you really need to prepare for a flood
UPDATE 11AM SATURDAY:
SEVERE WEATHER FOR EASTERN NEW SOUTH WALES
An East Coast Low is forecast to develop off the southern Queensland or northern New South Wales coast late Saturday. The position and movement of the low will determine the location of the heaviest rainfall and highest winds. At this stage the precise position of the low is uncertain and the warning will be updated regularly as the system develops.
DAMAGING WINDS from the NORTH-EAST, averaging 60-65kmh with peak gusts in excess of 90kmh are possible in the far north, extending to central parts by Saturday afternoon then to the south by Saturday evening. Winds are expected to ease and turn northwesterly in the north by early Sunday, however persisting in the remainder warning area.
HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is possible in the north on Saturday and over the remainder late Saturday and during Sunday.
Weekend rainfall totals of 80 to 150 mm are likely for much of the area with localised falls between 200 and 300 mm.
ABNORMALLY HIGH TIDES which may cause sea water flooding of low lying areas are likely.
Water levels will exceed the highest tide of the year during Saturday and Sunday evening.
VERY HEAVY SURF which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is likely.
Beach conditions in these areas will be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.
Highest rainfall in NSW in 24 hours to 9am Saturday 4th June: Huonbrook (Richmond River) 217mm, Murwillumbah 110mm, Bellambi 96mm and Lismore 90mm
Local rainfall 24 hours to 9am Saturday: Grafton 21.4mm; Yamba 32.8mm.
Flood watch for Clarence River (including Orara River) is still for moderate flooding.
UPDATE, 1.30PM: Emergency service personnel have issued the first severe weather warning to residents of Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland, for damaging winds, heavy rainfall, abnormally high tides and damaging surf.
Latest forecast models indicate winds from the northeast will average 60 to 65 km/h along much of the coast from Saturday afternoon, with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h.
Weekend rainfall totals of 80 to 150 mm are likely for much of the area with localised falls between 200 to 300mm, while in tidal areas water levels will exceed the highest tide of the year during high tides on Saturday and Sunday.
Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas, the warning states.
The next warning is due to be issued by 7.20pm.
Coastal areas on alert for damaging surf, beach erosion
COASTAL areas of the Clarence Valley are on high alert with the threat of heavy rainfall, floods, strong winds and large swells looming.
Anne Mare from the Yuraygir Wooli SES has advised members of the community to put loose objects away, put cars under shelters, ensure pets are looked after and warned people not to drive through water on the roads.
"We are expecting big storm swells of 5 to 7 metres, a kind tide of 2.05 metres," Ms Mare said.
"With the high swells and high tide stay off the beach all together and be careful on the rock wall," she warned locals.
Deputy Unit Commander of the Wooli Marine Rescue Marty Hutchings echoed Ms Mare's words saying people shouldn't plan to go out to sea.
"All off shore activities should be cancelled this weekend, the bar will be extremely dangerous," Mr Hutchings said.
"If you do go out to sea, people have to risk their lives to go get them. It's no use, you're endangering your life, you are endangering the live of people who have to go an get you."
Downpours to bring relief for volunteer firefighters
THIS weekend's downpours will be a "godsend" for the Rural Fire Service. The unseasonably hot and dry autumn has resulted in a long, drawn out fire-fighting season which is still keeping volunteers across the Clarence Valley on their toes. Now they are ready for it to end. "It'll give us some much needed respite as we lead into the spring period, so in terms of the RFS it's a godsend," Clarence Valley district manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said. According to the Fires Near Me map on the RFS website, there are currently 10 fires burning across the Clarence Valley.
UPDATE, 1PM: Emergency service personnel have issued the first severe weather warning to residents of Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland.
Queensland Police and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services held a press conference at midday.
"During Saturday we're really going to see what we call an upper level trough develop and bring some significant weather and impacts to much of South East Queensland and also New South Wales," the QFES spokesperson said.
"We're expecting to issue a severe weather warning tomorrow morning where we'll be talking about heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding.
"We're also expecting some damaging winds gusting up to 90kmh, particularly for coastal areas and with the king tides ... associated damaging surf and major beach erosion.
"As this system develops we're going to see that weather intensify and pick up. The good news is this will be a relatively short-lived event. During the early hours of Sunday we expect the system to contract off the coast."
UPDATE, 12PM, Powerful low pressure system developing:
A POWERFUL low pressure system is developing off the East Coast of Australia, predicted to bring heavy rainfall, strong winds and large swells to coastal areas of Northern NSW and South East Queensland.
UPDATE 11AM: SES to have sandbags at the ready
THE region's State Emergency Services personnel are preparing to be called into action across the Clarence Valley this weekend.
Ulmarra SES deputy controller David Hardy said volunteers from his unit have been briefed on what to expect this weekend.
"We've been put on alert," Mr Hardy said. "We know we are going to get rain. How much we don't know. But we're just going to be prepared for what has been predicted.
"We will be open on Saturday for anyone who wants to pick up sandbags," he said.
"The main thing is going to be local flooding. We're in a low lying area and the local roads do get flooded.
"We're not expecting river flooding at the moment."
EARLIER: Batten down the hatches for wild weekend in the Clarence Valley
BATTEN down the hatches and secure your loose items - if the latest weather forecasts can be trusted the Clarence Valley is in for a wild weekend.
At its best, the rainfall much needed by farmers and rural property owners on tank water will be delivered in a short period of time.
At its worst, residents in parts of the Clarence Valley can expect to be at the mercy of localised flash flooding, strong winds and huge swells mixed with king tides.
A Bureau of Meteorology flood watch notice issued at 3.18pm on Thursday predicted moderate flooding for the Clarence Valley, including the Orara system, and minor flooding along the Gwydir River.
Now is the time to prepare for potential flooding
NSW SES region controller Caroline Ortel said that for people living in areas where they know they might be affected by the potential flooding, now was the time to stock up on supplies.
"If you live in an area that can become isolated by flood waters, preparation includes stocking up on food, medications and other necessary items for people in your care such as babies and infants, people with a disability and the frail aged," she said.
"Check on your neighbours and make sure they are aware of weather conditions."
Heavy rainfall, strong winds and large swells predicted
According to the Bureau of Meteorology at the time of print yesterday, the rain activity is expected to start across the Valley today and increase tomorrow with the chance of a thunderstorm and between 25-70mm of rainfall expected.
An estimated 20-60mm and winds of up to 40km/h are forecast for Sunday and offshore wave heights of up to seven metres are forecast to affect the Clarence coastline across the weekend.
"What we currently have is a low pressure trough deepening over inland Australia (today), in response to an approaching strong upper level system, and we're expecting that trough to move east on Saturday across southern Qld and the northern NSW coastline," Ms Ortel said.
"With this system we're expecting on Friday and Saturday to see widespread rain, but it's the late Saturday and Sunday forecasts which are the concern at the moment, with intense localised falls and the possibility of some flash flooding.
"There may also be some local road closures due to water and people need to be aware of the strong winds coming and clean up any loose items in the yard, and clean out gutters. This is predominantly a coastal system but that doesn't mean it's not going to impact Grafton."
Roads and Maritime Services has also issued an alert to boaters after a Bureau of Meteorology warning about dangerous surf conditions, which are expected to extend to the entire NSW coast on Sunday and Monday with damaging waves and the potential for coastal erosion.
Skippers and owners of small craft should be on high alert and check the conditions before considering crossing a coastal bar or heading offshore, and rock fishers should also check weather forecasts before heading out to make informed decisions about fishing near the expected dangerous surf.
For now, stay informed of via the BOM website, www.dailyexaminer.com.au, or your local radio station.