Weather Update: Dangerous Weather System Tracks South as Frustration Grows in Northern NSW



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Some floods in the north New South Wales begin to decline so residents can go home to assess the magnitude of the disaster.

The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) has announced that residents in low-lying areas of Mullumbimby, Condong, Tumbulgum and low-lying areas of Kyogle will be able to return home.

Meanwhile, the council in Lismore said the Wilsons River is “slowly receding” and has fallen below the height of the levee that flooded yesterday.

Houses are surrounded by flooding in Lismore. (Dan Peled/Getty Images)

The river is now 10.47 meters after peaking at 11.4 meters last night.

“River levels are likely to remain above the major flood level (9.7 meters) on Thursday,” the Lismore City Council said on Facebook.

An aged care worker, feared swept away by flooding, remains missing in Lismoreand the dangerous weather system follows south.
Houses are surrounded by floodwaters in Lismore, Australia.
Fields are submerged and houses are completely submerged from the Lismore floods. (Dan Peled/Getty Images)

Airport closed due to flooding

All commercial flights to and from Ballina Byron Airport today and tomorrow have been canceled due to the flood disaster.

There are limited services on weekends.

The airport is closed as the runway must dry before commercial flights can resume.

Local resident Cathy Jordan inspects the water in her street in Lismore.
Local resident Cathy Jordan inspects the water in her street in Lismore. (Dan Peled/Getty Images)

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.

NSW Emergency Situations Minister Steph Cooke said communities south of the northern rivers would be affected.

Dean Narramore speaks at a press conference March 31, 2022.
Dean Narramore said moderate and major flooding continued. (9News)

“The weather system is making its way up the east coast and we will see other communities affected in the coming days as it moves south,” Ms Cooke said.

Communities living on or near the Wilsons, Richmond, Clarence and Yarrara rivers, particularly downstream, regardless of flooding, have been urged to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings.

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.

There is also a severe weather warning in effect from Kempsey, south of the Victorian border, for abnormally high tides, dangerous surf and strong, gusty winds.

Coastal erosion is also possible, especially on south-facing beaches.

Narramore said the worst was expected today and tomorrow.

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

There are over 20 flood warnings for river systems across 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
A main street is flooded in Lismore.
A main street is flooded in Lismore. (Dan Peled/Getty Images)

NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin has warned that while the threat of flash flooding from rainfall has diminished, “significant river flooding” is still ongoing.

“That water has to be drained through these systems,” he said.

“The river threat is certainly not over at this point.”

The SES has received just over 100 calls for help in the past 24 hours, including 11 flood rescues.

Most rescues took place during the day yesterday, with communities hit by fast-rising flash flooding on the Mid North Coast.

30 March

Residents watch in horror as the city is engulfed by floods

Search for missing elderly care nurse

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.
Flood water inundates cars in Lismore. Evacuation orders have been issued for towns in the NSW Northern Rivers region, with flash flooding amid torrential rainfall. (Getty)

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.
The NSW SES said the headquarters in Lismore began to fill up shortly after 6am yesterday. (NSW SES Lismore City Unit)

About 6,000 people are still without power, and Deputy Commissioner Austin points to “many infrastructure problems” in the Northern Rivers.

“We see a lot of businesses and homes as well as some emergency services in the community that are still in a state of repair,” he said.

“We will continue to work to fix it as soon as possible, and I am confident that these issues have not hindered our response during this specific time.”

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 the water in Byron. (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,” it wrote on Facebook.

“There has been 282mm of rain in the last 24 hours and the Richmond River peaked at 2.38m at 8.30am.”

Locals had previously called for the “urgent” establishment of evacuation centers in Ballina.

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