Fears of life-threatening flash flooding has sparked the evacuation of a number of areas in northern NSW this morning.
Heavy rain has fallen across the catchment of the Tweed River overnight and is expected to continue over the next 48 hours, with a severe weather warning currently in place for the Northern Rivers and parts of the Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands Forecast District.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, major flooding is likely along the Tweed River at Tumbulgum, while moderate flooding is likely at Murwillumbah and likely at Chinderah.
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Those in Tumbulgum and surrounding areas have been ordered to evacuate by 7AM.
“Once floodwater passes 2.0 metres on the Tumbulgum Gauge, final access route from Tumbulgum will be closed,” the NSW SES warned.
BOM estimates the Tweed River at Tumbulgum will likely reach the major flood level (2.50 m) around 7am and may reach around 3 metres by 11am, with further rises possible.
Moderate flooding is also possible at Murwillumbah and Chinderah during today, with the river at Murwillumbah expected to reach around 4.50 metres at 10am and 1.70m at Chinderah at 8am.
Low Lying parts of Mullumbimby and the CBD are also subject of evacuation orders, with residents there warned to get out by 7am.
“Once floodwater passes 4.35 metres on the Mullumbimby (Federation Bridge) gauge at Mullumbimby roads will begin to close,” the SES warned.
“Once flood water begins inundating the area road access water, sewerage, power, phones and internet may be lost.
“If you remain in the area you will be trapped and it may be too dangerous for SES to rescue you.”
Further south and those in North and South Lismore, as well as low-lying areas of Kyogle, have been ordered to evacuate once again, with major flood warnings in place.
“Heavy rainfall across the catchment of the Wilsons River overnight Monday into Tuesday has caused rapid river level rises in the tributaries upstream of Lismore,” BOM said.
“Further rainfall is forecast for the remainder of Tuesday and Wednesday. If the rainfall continues intensifies during Tuesday major flooding may occur Tuesday Morning with levels reaching near the Lismore Levee Height (10.60 m) Tuesday afternoon.”
The Australian Defence Force and SES has spent the night doorknocking residents in the area.
Lismore mayor Steve Krieg told the ABC people are really suffering.
“Obviously everybody is exhausted. We’ve had a month of clean-up,” Mr Krieg said.