Storm Warning

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts of NSW

Heavy rainfall linked to ex-tropical cyclone Debbie is expected to cause havoc in parts of NSW today.

A severe thunderstorm warning has already been issued for parts of the state.

The weather bureau said the thunderstorms are likely to produce heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours.

Locations which may be affected include Mudgee, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Baradine, Tambar Springs and Dunedoo.

A severe weather warning for destructive winds, heavy rainfall, abnormally high tides and damaging surf is also current for people in the Northern Rivers and parts of the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Metropolitan, North West Slopes and Plains and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.

Locations which may be affected with heavy rainfall include Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Tenterfield, Yamba, Glen Innes and Inverell.

Coastal parts of Sydney, The Entrance, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Yamba have been warned to brace for destructive winds.

“24 hour totals in excess of 200 mm are expected over the Northern Rivers district during Thursday, and it is likely that some locations will significantly exceed 350 mm,” BOM warned.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
* Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
* If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
* Unplug computers and appliances.
* Avoid using the phone during the storm.
* Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.
The next warning is due to be issued by 2:25 pm.

Military deploys 1200 troops to cyclone-ravaged communities in north Qld

THE Australian Defence Force has deployed more than 1000 troops to help cyclone-ravaged communities get back on their feet in north Queensland.

The ADF kicked off Operation Queensland Assist 17 to lend a helping hand with the mammoth clean-up and recovery effort following a formal request for assistance from the Queensland Government.

Acting Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Stuart Smith said the ADF had committed around 1,200 personnel and significant resources to the operation.

“Operating under Joint Task Force 661 (JTF 661), the Defence response will see our sailors, soldiers and airmen undertaking a wide variety of tasks in support of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and other disaster coordination authorities,” Major General Smith said.

Royal Australian Air Force aircraft as well as HMAS Choules, a vessel ideally suited to domestic disaster relief operations, will also be ready to assist.

In consultation with relevant agencies, the military will prioritise areas and activities the ADF is best positioned and suited to support.

“These tasks will include: evacuation; aeromedical transport; search and rescue; assisting to restore critical infrastructure; road and route clearance; emergency food, water, fuel and shelter delivery and distribution; as well reconnaissance, surveillance and damage assessments,” Major General Smith said.

The ADF says it will review its support in consultation with Queensland and Australian Government agencies and will continue to scope options for assistance as the situation evolves.

Qld premier donates $1m to help charities deliver urgent cyclone relief

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has donated $1 million to assist four leading charities in delivering urgent services and support communities devastated by Cyclone Debbie.

Ms Palaszczuk said the money would be distributed evenly among the Australian Red Cross Society, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society of Queensland and UnitingCare Community, with each charity receiving $250,000.

“My Government is committed to supporting cyclone-ravaged communities rebuild in the wake of Cyclone Debbie,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Delivering an injection of funds straight to these charities means they can immediately begin rolling out support services to parts of north Queensland devastated by Cyclone Debbie.

“These four charities have a track record of delivering critical support to communities on the ground in the aftermath of a major Tropical Cyclone.”

Ms Palaszczuk encouraged people to get behind the disaster response and dig deep to support charities raising funds to help cyclone-hit regions.

“Communities face a long road ahead to get back on their feet, which is why it is critical charities are supported in the field to help people during this phase of the recovery,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The scale of the disaster is significant and there is a lot of work ahead of us to repair damage and help people put their lives back together.

“I know many Australians will dig deep and I encourage them to give to a respected charity with experienced responding to community needs in the wake of a disaster.”

Ms Palaszczuk encouraged anyone wanting to help their fellow Queenslanders to make a donation directly with a respected charity:

Ms Palaszczuk said these four major charities had already mobilised to assist with the recovery and had staff and volunteers trained to respond.

“These charities are trained to respond to the needs of communities hit by natural disasters and can provide food, equipment, shelter, and other support,” she said.

Goods and services can also be donated to GIVIT through their website www.givit.org.au

The organisation is calling out for cleaning supplies, such as protective gloves, high-pressure water cleaners, brooms, mops, and buckets.

More than 430 items and $22,000 cash has already been donated to GIVIT.

Police lights NSW

One critical, another serious after police pursuit ends in crash

A POLICE pursuit has ended in a horror crash in NSW, leaving one man with life-threatening injuries.

Police were pursuing a stolen Hyundai SUV through Bathurst when it crashed just after 1pm.

One man suffered critical injuries and was rushed by ambulance to Bathurst Hospital.

A second man was also seriously injured and transported to the same hospital for treatment.

A critical incident team has been deployed to the area to investigate all circumstances surrounding the pursuit. That investigation will be subject to independent review.

No further information was available at the time of writing.

Police Tape

Police appeal for help after woman found ‘seriously injured’ on side of road

Police are appealing for public assistance after a woman was found seriously injured on the side of a road in Arncliffe, Southern Sydney this morning.

Emergency services raced to Forest Road just after 6.00am and found a 58-year-old woman with a broken arm and possible broken legs and ribs.

She was treated at the scene before being taken to St George Hospital where she is currently receiving treatment.

Mystery surrounds how the woman came to be injured, with police appealing for help from passing motorists.

“It is believed at the time the woman was injured, traffic was heavy on Forest Road and police believe passing motorists may be able to assist them,” police said.

The woman is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with black-coloured hair which was tied up, and was seen wearing a purple top and black pants.

Anyone who has information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.