Some towns in New South Wales have already recorded more than 200mm of rain as a large and complex weather system batters Australia’s east coast.
A Severe Weather Warning for destructive winds, heavy rainfall, river flooding, flash flooding, abnormally high tides and damaging surf is in place for the entire NSW coast.
The warning, issued at 1:56pm, covers the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter, Metropolitan, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Northern Tablelands and parts of the Southern Tablelands and North West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts.
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The Bureau of Meteorology says an East Coast Low is forecast to develop off the southern Queensland or northern New South Wales coast late this afternoon and slide south along the coastline.
“The position and movement of the low will determine the location of the heaviest rainfall and highest winds (but) the coastal fringe will be particularly under threat with this system,” the bureau said.
At this stage, the low is tipped to be located on the NSW far north coast late this evening, before moving south to the Sydney area late Sunday morning and to the south coast on Sunday afternoon.
More than 200mm of rain has already fallen in the far north east corner of the state.
In the 13 hours to 9am this morning, 126mm had fallen at Uki, 122mm at Mullumbimby and 110mm in Murwillumbah and Kingscliff.
A further 103mm has been recorded at Uki in the seven hours since 9am this morning.
Meanwhile, the extreme weather system has dumped almost 400mm of rain in the Gold Coast hinterland, just north of the New South Wales/Queensland border.
A staggering 382mm of rain was recorded at Upper Springbrook, just north of Murwillumbah, in under 24 hours.
As a result of the deluge and predicted flood levels in the Tweed River, the State Emergency Service has issued a flood evacuation warning for almost 2000 residents at Fingal Head.
Here’s what the Bureau of Meteorology says residents in the warning area along the NSW coast can expect;
- DAMAGING WINDS from the NORTHEAST, averaging 60 to 65km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90km/h are expected in the far north and central parts during Saturday afternoon, extending to the south by Saturday evening.
- LOCALLY DESTRUCTIVE WINDS averaging 80 to 90km/h with peak gusts up to 125km/h are expected south of the low centre in the far north Saturday afternoon, extending to central parts overnight and the Illawarra and South Coast during Sunday. Winds are expected to ease and turn northwesterly in the north by early Sunday and in central parts during Sunday.
- HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is likely, particularly south of the low centre as it gradually moves southward. Weekend rainfall totals of 80 to 150mm are likely for much of the area with localised falls between 200 and 300mm.
- ABNORMALLY HIGH TIDES which may cause sea water flooding of low lying areas are likely. Water levels will exceed the highest tide of the year during Saturday and Sunday evening.
- VERY HEAVY SURF which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is likely. Beach conditions in these areas will be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
- Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
- Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
- Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid on 131 388, or Endeavour Energy on 131 003 or Essential Energy on 132 080, as shown on your power bill.
- Don’t drive, ride or walk through flood water.
- Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
- If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
- For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.
The next warning is due to be issued by 9:00pm.