News

The big wet: Evacuation order issued for Harwood

The Premier at the Clarence Valley flood media conference.
The Premier at the Clarence Valley flood media conference.

8:05pm

HARWOOD residents were asked to evacuate by special order at 7:15pm tonight, Tuesday January 29.

Door knocking took place this morning at 6:30am, giving Harwood residents advance warning about a possible evacuation and asking them to evaluate their emergency home plan.

"A lot are refusing to leave," an SES spokesperson said.

"Residents were advised to go to Maclean Showground, their nearest evacuation centre, but Harwood is now isolated by floodwater."

Isolated residents are asked to log  emergency calls to SES at 132 500.

"Remaining residents can call us and we can arrange emergency evacuation if necessary."

4.20PM

AN EVACUATION order has been issued for Maclean.

The Daily Examiner is trying to contact the SES and will post more information here as it becomes available.

Meanwhile, Live Traffic NSW issued the following update on road closures:

  • The Pacific Highway is closed in both directions between Ballina and Grafton. No detour is available.
  • The Summerland Way is open only to emergency vehicles between Grafton and Casino.
  • The Summerland Way is closed in both directions 11km south of Kyogle.
  • Mount Lindesay Highway (The Summerland Way) is closed 2km south of the Queensland border at Dairy Flat.
  • The Gwydir Highway is closed in both directions about 70km west of Grafton at Jackadgery due to a landslip.
  • Armidale Road is closed in both directions between Ebor and Nymboida.
  • Bangalow Road is closed between Bexhill and Lagoon Grass.
  • Tweed Valley Way is closed in both directions in Murwillumbah.
  • The Ulmarra and Lawrence ferries are both out of service.

4pm

THE Clarence Valley has been declared a natural disaster area by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell.

The Premier flew into Grafton today to be briefed by the SES on the flood crisis which has left thousands stranded.

In a press conference Mr O'Farrell said the fact SES received more than 500 calls was an indication of the severity of the situation.

He said the success of the levee was a credit to the Clarence Valley Council.

SES Commissioner Murray Kear joined Mr O'Farrell in his visit and said the flood height reached a new record and the Clarence River was now dropping.

Clarence Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson said attentions were now focused down river where we have a flood that could be potentially life threatening and very damaging.

He said as it has been the biggest flood on record, it would require the biggest recovery program.

"The question has often been asked in Grafton if all the river systems in the Clarence were in flood at once ... we now know," Cr Williamson said.

The joint Commonwealth and State/Territory Government NDRRA can provide a range of financial assistance to the natural disaster declared areas in each state.

Funding available includes:

  •     Personal Hardship and Distress Assistance
  •     Restoration of Essential Public Assets
  •     Counter Disaster Operations
  •     Concessional Loans for Small Business
  •     Concessional Loans for Primary Producers
  •     Freight Subsidies for Primary Producers
  •     Concessional Loans for Voluntary Not-for-profit Bodies
  •     Grants for Voluntary Not-for-profit Bodies

In the affected Local Government Areas of:

  •     Ballina
  •     Bellingen
  •     Byron
  •     Clarence Valley
  •     Coffs Harbour
  •     Kyogle
  •     Lismore
  •     Nambucca
  •     Richmond Valley
  •     Tweed

Information on disaster assistance

Information about NDRRA

Further details from the press conference to come.

3.30pm

The Department of Education have provided a list of schools here that at this time are not expected to be open tomorrow.

The list will be updated as circumstances change.

2.30pm

NEW South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell will fly into Grafton to be briefed by the SES on the flood crisis which has left thousands stranded.

The Clarence River appears to have peaked just below the top of the levee wall in the flood-hit northern NSW town.

River levels at Grafton peaked near 8.08 metres around 11am this morning, with record major flooding.

Major flood peaks are expected at Ulmarra this afternoon and Maclean this evening.

Mr O'Farrell will arrive about 2.30pm and will be joined by SES Commissioner Murray Kear.

More than 2500 people were ordered to evacuate.

The evacuation area is bordered by Prince Street, Bacon Street, Clarence Street up to Corcoran Park, with most of the area expected to face flooding throughout the rest of the event.

Across NSW Northern Rivers there are staggering 41,000 stranded by floodwaters.

Swift water specialist crews from the police and ambulance services have been searching flood waters around Fry St, Grafton, to try to clarify reports of unknown debris in the water.

1:50pm

River levels at Grafton peaked near 8.08 metres around 11am this morning, with record major flooding.

Major flood peaks are expected at Ulmarra this afternoon and Maclean this evening.

The Orara River (manual gauge) peaked around 8 metres at midnight with moderate flooding. The automatic gauge is not working so this level cannot be verified. Manual readings are not possible as flood waters have made the gauge inaccessible.

Predicted River Heights/Flows:

Ulmarra - Peak near 6.2 metres around 3pm Tuesday with major flooding.

Maclean - Peak near 3.3 metres around midnight Tuesday with major flooding.

FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au

For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500.

For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.

Weather Forecast:

For the latest weather forecast see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/

Next Issue:

The next warning will be issued by 4:30pm Tuesday

Latest River Heights:

 

Location Height of River Date/Time of Observation
Mann R at Mitchell 1.84m falling 12:30 PM TUE 29/01/13
Boyd R at Broadmeadows 4.98m falling 12:30 PM TUE 29/01/13
Clarence R at Tabulam 8.33m falling 01:00 PM TUE 29/01/13
Clarence R at Baryulgil 9.9m falling 12:30 PM TUE 29/01/13
Mann R at Jackadgery 8.82m falling 12:45 PM TUE 29/01/13
Clarence R at Lilydale 17.9m falling 01:00 PM TUE 29/01/13
Clarence R at Grafton (Prince St) 8.04m steady 01:00 PM TUE 29/01/13
Clarence R at Ulmarra 6.00m rising 01:00 PM TUE 29/01/13
Clarence R at Maclean 2.82m rising 01:00 PM TUE 29/01/13

For latest rainfall and river level information see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/

11.30am

THE Live Traffic NSW website is reporting that as at 11.20am a number of roads continue to be affected by flooding around the state.

  • The Pacific Highway is closed between Ballina and Grafton at Shark Creek and Swan Creek. No detour is available.
  • The Summerland Way is closed near Elliots Road at Myrtle Creek.
  • The Gwydir Highway is closed about 70km west of Grafton at Jackadgery due to a landslip.
  • Armidale Road is closed between Ebor and Nymboida.
  • Bangalow Road is closed between Bexhill and Lagoon Grass.
  • Tweed Valley Way is closed in Murwillumbah.
  • The Ulmarra and Lawrence ferries are both out of service.

10.30am

THE latest flood warning from the Bureau of Meteorology, posted at 10.18am, is still predicting a record breaking flood peak about noon today.

River levels at Rogans Crossing appear to be close to a peak, and river levels at Grafton have been steady for the past two hours to 10am this morning.

The Clarence River flood peak at Lilydale was 20.94 metres at midnight.

This is close to the 1954 flood peak of 21 metres.

The Orara River (manual gauge) peaked around 8 metres at midnight with moderate flooding.

The automatic gauge is not working so this level cannot be verified.

Manual readings are not possible as flood waters have made the gauge inaccessible.

Predicted River Heights/Flows:

  • Grafton - Peak near 8.1 metres around noon today, with major flooding.
  • Ulmarra - Peak near 6.2 metres around 3pm Tuesday with major flooding.
  • Maclean - Peak near 3.3 metres around midnight Tuesday with major flooding.

FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au

For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500.

For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.

Weather Forecast:
For the latest weather forecast see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/

Next Issue:
The next warning will be issued by 1pm Tuesday

Latest River Heights:
Location Height of River Date/Time of Observation
 

  • Mann R at Mitchell: 1.93m falling at 09:30 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Boyd R at Broadmeadows: 5.31m rising at 09:30 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Tabulam: 8.89m falling at 09:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Baryulgil: 10.63m falling at 09:30 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Mann R at Jackadgery: 9.59m falling at 09:45 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Lilydale: 19.44m falling at 09:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Grafton (Prince St): 8.05m steady at 10:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Ulmarra: 5.98m steady at 10:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Maclean: 2.73m rising at 10:00 AM TUE 29/01/13

For latest rainfall and river level information see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/

10.50am

MORE showers and a possible thunderstorm could bring with more rain on top of 64mm that has already fallen on Grafton in the past 24 hours.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokeswoman said there would also be 35-45km/h winds around from about noon with a top temperature of 31 degrees.

Weatherzone also projected more rain this with 10-20mm predicted to fall this afternoon.

To the north and west Lilydale received 41mm, Coaldale got 89mm and Baryulgil got 45mm between 9am yesterday and the same time today.

To the south Grafton Airport received 49mm and Pillar Valley got 51mm in the same period.

9.50am

WE'RE hearing reports of a vehicle that's run out of petrol on the Grafton Bridge. Traffic is backed up.

9.15

This just on SES Facebook: The SES Ulmarra Unit is activated on flood rescue for person at Pacific Hwy, Brushgrove - Move to higher ground if bad weather sets in. Chasing more information.

South Grafton update by reporter Lachlan Thompson:

THE South Services Club was inundated with flood waters at 7am this morning.

The entire bottom floor of the club has been flooded including the dining area, the TAB, the kitchen and the pokie machine room.

Meanwhile South Grafton High School has been set up as an evacuation centre.

Principal Brian Heath said the school would be open tomorrow at this stage but there would be minimal supervision because about 50 out of the 150 staff wer unable to work as they were cut off by flooding.
 

Photos and stories to follow.

9am

We've just spoken to Mayor Richie Williamson he confirmed the evacuation order is in place for residents in Dovedale and North Meadow.

"I would recommend those people in designated areas make their way safely and calmly to the assembly point, which Is at South Grafton High School in Tyson St," he said.

The new peak is estimated at 8.1 metres at noon today.

"This will test the levee system throughout the Clarence and I can assure everybody our staff are on the ground and monitoring the entire levee network."

If transport is a problem call 132 500.

BOM update

A record major flood peak is expected at Grafton today.

The Clarence River flood peak at Lilydale was 20.94 metres at midnight. This is close to the 1954 flood peak of 21 metres.

River levels at Rogans Crossing are continuing to rise. The predictions for Grafton have been adjusted due to the higher river levels at Rogans Crossing and the observed river level at Grafton.

The Orara River (manual gauge) peaked around 8 metres at midnight with moderate flooding. The automatic gauge is not working so this level cannot be verified. Manual readings are not possible as flood waters have made the gauge inaccessible.

Predicted River Heights/Flows:

Grafton - Peak near 8.1 metres around noon Tuesday with major flooding.

Ulmarra - Peak near 6.2 metres around 3pm Tuesday with major flooding.

Maclean - Peak near 3.3 metres around midnight Tuesday with major flooding.

FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au

For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500.

For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.

Weather Forecast:

For the latest weather forecast see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/

Next Issue:

The next warning will be issued by 10am Tuesday morning

Latest River Heights:

  • Mann R at Mitchell: 1.98m falling at 07:30 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Boyd R at Broadmeadows: 5.47m falling at 07:15 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Tabulam: 9.02m falling at 08:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Baryulgil: 11.12m falling at 07:30 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Mann R at Jackadgery: 10.13m falling at 07:45 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Lilydale: 19.86m falling at 08:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Grafton (Prince St): 8.04m rising at 08:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Ulmarra: 5.95m steady at 08:00 AM TUE 29/01/13
  • Clarence R at Maclean: 2.62m rising at 08:00 AM TUE 29/01/13


For latest rainfall and river level information see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/

8.43am

Dovedale residents are being told to evacuate. It is mandatory for residents and businesses are being encouraged to leave too.

8am

FLOOD waters have risen over the levy wall in Fry St Grafton.

The flood marker at the end of Fry St is currently reading 7.3m and waters are predicted to rise about 60cm more.

Clarence Valley Council crews are sandbagging properties and some residents have brought in their own pumps.

Fourteen year-old Tyler Hancock awoke this morning to find his backyard had flooded.

During the 2011 floods Tyler could dangle his feet into flood waters when sitting atop the wall, today they were in his backyard.

"2011 was nothing like this," Tyler said.

His father had gone to sandbag the family bakery in Prince St, before returning with a pump.

 

The Grafton Rowing Club this morning
The Grafton Rowing Club this morning

7.50am

REPORTS are coming through that water has started to inundate homes on Grafton's Fry St.

We have a reporter on scene now, interviews and story to follow.

Topics:  flood


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