The flood threat at Bellingen on New South Wales' mid-north coast has eased after the Bellinger River peaked and is now receding. The River had exceeded its major flood level, with flood waters more than 8 metres high. Over 375 millimetres of rain has fallen in Bellingen over the past 48 hours, and State Emergency Service (SES) Region Controller, David Mackey, says many people have had to leave their homes across the Bellingen Valley.
The SES units in the area have had to do some doorknocking for people in the low-lying areas that they need to, in some cases, evacuate to friends or family, he said. But not everyone has been able to leave, with thousands of people left stranded by the rising waters. Phil Campbell from the State Emergency Service says hundreds of residents at Darkwood and Upper Thora are facing several days of isolation.
Now we do have helicopters available if we do need to do emergency evacuations, he said. About 3,000 residents are cut-off inside the town, and residents have been moved from low-lying areas. Many residents had been on stand by to evacuate their homes.
But the main flood waters are now approaching the towns of Repton and Urunga along the Pacific Highway, and are expected to coincide with high tide in the River. The SES says it is keeping a close watch on the safety of residents located in that area. The Repton Caravan Park has already been evacuated.
Flood warnings are still current for many major rivers from the Queensland border down to the Hunter, including the Orara, Bellinger, Nambucca, Macleay, Hastings, Manning and Hunter Rivers. The heavy rains continue to move closer to the Hunter and Sydney, and the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of other possible flash flooding along the coast, as heavy rain runs quickly off already saturated ground.
It has also issued a strong wind warning for closed waters around Sydney, and is forecasting rain periods with possible heavy falls later today and tonight around the city. The wild weather has been brought to New South Wales by a low pressure system moving slowly southward off the coast, and there is a possibility that another low will develop off the mid-north coast to replace the existing one later this week.
Â©abc | Gewijzigd: 24 april 2017, 09:24 uur, door Joyce.s