Severe Storms Bear Down on Northern Rivers


Northern Rivers has battened down the hatches for another rough night of storms, after days of heavy rain and flooding.

Late on Sunday night the Bureau of Meteorology warned severe thunderstorms likely to produce large hailstones and heavy rainfall were still to come for several communities in the state’s north.

Heavy rain that has already fallen over the weekend saw hundreds of people cut off, evacuations ordered and more than 20 people rescued from cars.

The SES has completed 78 rescues and received 2,988 calls for assistance since the start of soggy weather earlier in the week.

On Sunday morning the NSW SES said about 2,100 people in small communities around the state’s north and mid-north coasts were cut off. That number had dropped to about 1,300 by midday.

“We’re working with those communities to make sure they have everything they need,” spokesman Brent Hunter said.

SES spokeswoman Terri Langendam said residents in Wooli, Thora Darkwood and Shannondale were affected.

“They definitely are safe, SES has been in contact with them earlier,” she said.

The rain had led authorities to issue flood warnings for several rivers from the central coast to the northern rivers, and

Ms Langendam earlier said evacuation orders had been issued at Murwillumbah Showground and the Bellinger River Tourist Park.

The SES has since posted a tweet that the Bellinger River Tourist Park has been given the “all clear”.

The intense storms have flooded farmland and damaged crops.

The community of New Italy, near Woodburn, received almost half a metre of rain on Saturday alone, while Dorrigo had 430 millimetres over the weekend.

Woodburn State Emergency Service (SES) unit controller Jim McCormack, also a beef farmer in the district, said it had been more than 40 years since a rain event like this.

“The system just sat over the top of us for a number of hours and just belted us with everything it had,” Mr McCormack said.

“It was so intense for that five or six hour period on Saturday morning, it caused all sorts of issues for our SES unit as well, but people are seeing water where they have never seen water for a long, long time.”

Mr McCormack said a fall of 443 millimetres at New Italy resulted in water backing up in places that had not been flooded for years.

Source: ABC

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