WET ONES: Robin Smith took this drone shot of the overflow from the Orara River in Coutts Crossing in February.
WET ONES: Robin Smith took this drone shot of the overflow from the Orara River in Coutts Crossing in February.

WET AND WILD: Are we in for a summer of floods?

THE Coffs/Clarence could be in line for increased flooding this summer as the Bureau of Meteorology issued its prediction for the next 7 months.

Yesterday the BOM released its Severe Weather Outlook for October to April, showing an increased risk of flooding for eastern Australia and tropical cyclones in the north.

This is due in part to the La Niña which is likely to bring more rain to eastern Australia, with some drought affected areas already seeing rainfall deficiencies ease and water storage levels increase.

The Clarence and Coffs Harbour regions were reacquainted with the spectre of flood last year after having just experienced some of the most devastating bushfires in history.

Over 400ml of rain fell between 3.30pm and just after 9pm in the Dairyville area on Tuesday February 12. Vanessa Simpson with her husbands car that was washed away by flood waters near the Secombs bridge crossing of the Urumbilum River on Dairyville road.
Over 400ml of rain fell between 3.30pm and just after 9pm in the Dairyville area on Tuesday February 12. Vanessa Simpson with her husbands car that was washed away by flood waters near the Secombs bridge crossing of the Urumbilum River on Dairyville road.

The flooding of the Orara River forced the closure of the Orara Way and the Clarence River reached the minor flood level, peaking at around 4.28 metres on February 13.

Some of the worst affected areas were in the Orara Valley, with some properties in Dairyville becoming inundated as fast flowing water uplifted cars and deposited them down river.

However, a repeat of last year's bushfire carnage was unlikely with the wetter than average conditions meaning firefighters may get some reprieve.

But a wetter spring could lead to abundant grass growth, which could increase fire danger as it dries during summer and the Bureau's General Manager of Decision Support Services, Sandy Whight, said the lower fire risk was no reason for complacency.

"Southern Australia is one of the most bushfire prone places in the world in any summer and it's important to remember that, right across Australia, even short periods of hot and windy weather will raise the fire risk, so communities need to have their bushfire plans ready."



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