UPDATE 6PM: A Flood Evacuation Order has been issued for Tweed Heads South and Tweed Heads West.
Rising flood water, along with continued and further predicted heavy rain, has prompted the order.
In a statement on the official SES website, authorities have urged residents to “evacuate immediately”
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“The NSW State Emergency Service is directing residents within the nominated areas to evacuate immediately where safe transit exists and it they are able to do so,” the statement reads.
“If you are unable to do so, seek refuge in a safe and high place.
“Do not delay your evacuation. Roads will be congested or closed. You could become trapped and need rescue. Remaining in flooded areas is dangerous and may place your life at risk.
“Wherever possible, people should go and stay with family or friends, or make other accommodation arrangements.
For people who need assistance an evacuation centre has been set up at Kingscliff TAFE, Cudgen Road Kingscliff.
The M1 remains cut off at Chinderah and the Tugun Bypass Tunnel is closed with everyone urged to avoid the Queensland-NSW border area.
EARLIER 2.00pm | NSW Police are appealing for people in the flood-stricken Tweed/Byron area to avoid unnecessary travel on local roads.
“A number of roads in the Kingscliff, Chinderah, Tweed South and Tweed Heads areas have become congested with vehicles and there are concerns motorists attempting to flee may become trapped in rising flood waters,” Police said in a statement.
The M1 Motorway is closed in both directions between the Tweed Heads exit and Tweed Valley Way at Chinderah due to floodwaters.
For the latest on road closures in NSW click here.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds, abnormally high tides and damaging surf remains current for people in parts of the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast Forecast Districts.
EARLIER 11.00am | A severe weather warning for damaging winds, abnormally high tides and damaging surf remains current for people in parts of the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast Forecast Districts today.
The weather bureau says damaging southerly winds averaging 65km/h with gusts in excess of 90km/h are forecast along the coastal fringe north of about South West Rocks, while damaging surf conditions are expected along the Byron coast.
“Waves exceeding 5 metres in the surf zone are likely to produce significant beach erosion. High tides today in this area may exceed the highest astronomical tide of the year,” BOM warned.
Dangerous surf conditions are also likely north of Sydney today, with people told to avoid coastal activities such as rock fishing, swimming and surfing.
Locations which may be affected by damaging winds include Coffs Harbour, Evans Head, Ballina, Yamba, Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Cape Byron.
Locations which may be affected by beach erosion include Wooli, Evans Head and Ballina.
At 4.30am this morning, Cape Byron recorded a 104 km/h gust while Evans Head was lashed with 83 km/h gust at 8.00am.
Rescue crews remain in Tweed Heads, Lismore, Murwillumbah and Kyogle following last night’s severe flooding.
NSW SES has issued Evacuation Warnings and Orders affecting approximately 18,500 people in the far north east.
- Flood Evacuation Order for South Murwillumbah, Condong and Tumbulgum (1140 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Chinderah, Kingscliff, Fingal Head and (2100 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Lismore CBD, and North and South Lismore (4550 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Tweed Heads South, Tweed Heads West, Tweed Heads (6700 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Murwillumbah CBD and East (750 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Kyogle (200 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Billinudgel (500 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for Ocean Shores (600 people)
- Flood Evacuation Order for New Brighton (330 people)
For the latest on road closures people can visit www.livetraffic.com or contact their local councils.
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.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.
The next Severe Weather Warning will be issued by 5:00 pm AEDT Friday.