North Coast Cleans Up After Wild Weather


Thousands of people remain isolated, as emergency crews begin the massive clean up from major flooding and damaging winds in northern New South Wales.
More than 26,000 people remain isolated and thousands of customers remain without power.
Essential Energy spokeswoman Rachel Hussell says crews are having trouble trying to restore power in some areas because of flood waters.
“Worst areas are still around the Coffs Harbour Local Government area and that includes areas between Woolgoolga through to Coffs Harbour, south into Sawtell and Toormina,” she said.
“We’ve got a group of customers in Bellingen that are still without supply. We’re having a lot of trouble getting to our network due to the rising flood levels in Bellingen.
A clean up effort continues in Ballina after a major storm hit the town on Friday.
Many large trees were uprooted and the roof of the Commonwealth Bank was ripped off during more than 100km/h winds.
Ballina Mayor David Wright says the damage has disrupted the council’s plans for roads and other works.
“The road pot-hole maintenance has been put right out of schedule and the major ones will have to take priority as other infrastructure is done.
“We had a lot of problems with the outages of power on Friday night at sewage pump stations. We were lucky that the majority of those that the power came back on.”
The Bureau of Meteorology says more rain is on the way for the next few days across the region but not to the extent that it will create any major flooding.
A high pressure system combined with a low pressure trough is responsible for the wet conditions.
Forecaster, Jake Phillips, says 30 to 40 millimetres of rain is predicted to fall on Monday with showers on Tuesday.
Many roads remain closed across the region, including the Pacific Highway north of Kempsey and Grafton.
Transport Management Centre spokesman Brett Moore says the key problem areas are near Clybucca and Maclean.
“If you do need to get from one end of the north coast to the other the New England Highway is still the way to go.
“There is water across the [Pacific] highway at a number of different locations and even some of the areas of the highway that are open, there is still debris, there’s still some water.”
The community of Upper Coopers Creek in the Byron Shire has been isolated since ex-tropical cyclone Oswald hit the region almost four weeks ago.
A landslip has meant emergency services are finding it hard to access the community.
Superintendent Stuart Wilkins, the head of the Local Emergency Management Committee, says it’s very difficult to get in and out.
“We’ve been all over the place, through the back of the mountain. We’re trying to get some sort of access,” he said.
“We’ve got alternative pedestrian access which again is problematic because it’s a long walk and it’s a dangerous walk in these conditions.”
Upper Coopers Creek resident, Sarah, says it has been extremely difficult for her family to cope with the isolation.
“Completely over it. We’ve just been completely isolated for so long.
“It’s been quite difficult because I was meant to start at university last week and my son has missed out on two weeks of year 10, my daughter has missed out on pre-school.”
For the latest major road closures visit the Road Traffic Authority website and for local roads visit the My Road Info website.
Source: ABC News

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