Dangerous weather system follows south as frustrations grow in northern NSW

Residents on New South Wales’ north coast have gone through a night of uncertainty after rivers rise, flooded houses and endangered lives.

As a volatile weather system circles offshore, the response from the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has come under fire — with officials blaming the services for slow updates.

An aged care worker, feared swept away by flooding, remains missing in Lismoreand the dangerous weather system follows south.
Lismore was flooded for the second time in a month after heavy rains hit the north coast of NSW. (9News)

While heavy rains will ease across northern NSW today, a new weather warning has been issued further south.

Strong winds are being felt across the state with a gale warning issued for northern NSW, all the way to the south coast.

A low-pressure system is swirling off the coast of NSW, while a slow-moving high-pressure system is in the Bight.
A low-pressure system is swirling off the coast of NSW, while a slow-moving high-pressure system is south of the Bight. (Ventoski)

The BoM has also issued a harmful surf warning to people in parts of the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Metropolitan, Illawarra and South Coast Forecast Districts.

“Damaging surf along the central and southern coast of NSW developing Thursday afternoon. Abnormal high tides possible along parts of the Mid North Coast as of Thursday morning,” it said.

The sea is being swept up by a low-pressure system currently located about 280 kilometers north of NSW, while a slow-moving high-pressure system is located south of the Bight.

Local residents inspect a flooded road in Australia's Lismore on March 30, 2022.
Local residents inspect a flooded road in Australia’s Lismore on March 30, 2022. (Getty)

There are currently more than 20 flood warnings for river systems in place on the north and mid-north coasts, as far as Hawkesbury in Sydney, where a minor flood warning has been issued.

The water bodies of concern in the state are: Tweed RiverWilson’s RiverClarence RiverBellinger and Kalang RiversMacleay RiverHastings RiverManning RiverWollombi BrookHawkesbury and Colo RiversOrara RiverRiver SevernCulgoa Birrie Bokhara and Narran RiversBrunswick River and Marshalls CreekNambucca RiverCamden Haven RiverRichmond RiverCoffs CreekMacintyre River, Macintyre Brook and Dumaresq River

NSW SES has issued several evacuation orders for the Northern Rivers district and the Mid North Coast as a low pressure system slowly weakens.

The low-lying areas of Brushgrove and Cowper, Ulmarra and North Macksville have been on alert for the past 11 hours.

30 March

Residents watch in horror as the city is engulfed by floods

Lismore floods for the second time in weeks

Police have issued an urgent appeal for information as the search for a missing 55-year-old continues.

Anita Brakel was last seen in her car on Tuesday evening.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Joe Cassar said Ms Brakel, who originally lived in Nowra, had been recruited in Lismore as an aged care worker.

Anita Brakel, 55, is an aged care nurse currently missing in the Lismore floods.
Anita Brakel, 55, is an aged care nurse currently missing in the Lismore floods. (9News)
Floodwater flooded cars on March 30, 2022 in Lismore, Australia.  Evacuation orders have been issued for towns in the NSW Northern Rivers region, with flash flooding expected amid torrential rainfall.
Floodwater flooded cars on March 30, 2022 in Lismore, Australia. Evacuation orders have been issued for towns in the NSW Northern Rivers region, with flash flooding expected amid torrential rainfall. (Getty)

There is a major flood warning for both the Richmond and Wilsons Rivers, with a levee breach.

The Bureau of Meteorology (RvB) expects that the river will not fall below the great flood height of 9.70 meters until Thursday afternoon or evening.

“The Wilsons River near Lismore (AHD) peaked at 11.40 meters on Wednesday, March 30 at 5 p.m. and is currently 10.99 meters high, descending slowly with major flooding,” said BoM.

“River levels along the Wilsons River at Lismore are likely to remain above levee height on Thursday morning with major flooding before declining further in the afternoon.”

The Wilsons River at Lismore has a peak of 11.4 meters.
The Wilsons River at Lismore has a peak of 11.4 meters. (We will)

It is the second time in a month that the city has been flooded, with February having a flood peak of more than 14 meters.

In total, the unit was ordered to deliver just under 100 requests for assistance, including flood evacuations, support and storm jobs.

Fire and Rescue NSW teams were also on hand to assist, assisting paramedics to reach an eight-year-old boy suffering from COVID-19 isolated by flooding in Bucca, north of Coffs Harbour.

The Lismore SES unit thanked the
The Lismore SES unit thanked the “beautifully responsive community” for the headline warnings. (NSW SES Lismore City Unit)
NSW SES said the Lismore headquarters started filling up shortly after 6am this morning.
NSW SES said the Lismore headquarters began filling up shortly after 6am yesterday. “Family, children and some brave little dogs delivered to our unit headquarters,” they wrote. (They were) then transported by ADF to the evacuation center at Southern Cross University.” (NSW SES Lismore City Unit)

However, the NSW SES response is now in the spotlight.

Residents in the city faced uncertainty yesterday morning as an evacuation order for the CBD was withdrawn and re-issued in the early hours.

“You can’t rely on the SES and the Bureau right now,” Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg told Ben Fordham.

Residents Ballina start cleaning up

Residents of Ballina have also criticized the lack of evacuation warnings when they woke up in an underwater city yesterday morning.

Marc Wilson, a longtime resident of Byron, told 9News that the flooding was “the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Marc Wilson has lived in Byron for over 35 years.  He said he has never seen such a storm as yesterday.
Marc Wilson has lived in Byron for over 35 years. He said he has never seen such a storm as yesterday. (Today)
People walk through high water in Byron Bay, Australia on March 30, 2022.
People walk through high water in Byron Bay, Australia on March 30, 2022. (Getty)
“Words cannot describe what we went through,” he said.

“We knew there was going to be a storm, but not so extreme that it was coming.

“Otherwise I’m sure a lot of these stores would have sandbags and a lot of prep if they knew it was going to be as bad as it was.”

The Ballina SES unit was inundated with requests yesterday amid extensive flash flooding – many homes and businesses are without power.

By 5 p.m. yesterday, they had received 169 requests for help “excluding flood rescues and unregistered evacuations.”

Crews from NSW SES Ballina attend a rescue.
Crews from NSW SES Ballina attend a rescue. (NSW SES Ballina)
An SES employee fastens himself to a rope as he enters the water to inspect a stuck truck.
An SES employee fastens himself to a rope as he enters the water to inspect a stuck truck. (NSW SES Ballina)

“This brings the total to 214 registered jobs in the past three days,” they wrote on Facebook.

“In the last 24 hours, 282mm of rain has fallen and the Richmond River peaked at 2.38m at 8.30am.

Ms Elliott previously called for the “urgent” establishment of evacuation centers in Ballina.

A small landslide hits Bangalow Road near Byron Bay.
A small landslide hits Bangalow Road near Byron Bay. (Josephine Shannon)

Streets and businesses were engulfed when landslides occurred as the coastal area was ravaged by rain.

The main road to and from the city was cut off as saturated watersheds lead to flash flooding.

News agency owner Ron Delardes throws out flood-affected articles from his business on March 30, 2022 in Byron Bay, Australia.
News agency owner Ron Delardes throws out flood-affected articles from his business on March 30, 2022 in Byron Bay, Australia. (Getty)

Residents have now started the arduous task of cleaning up.

Leave a Comment