Flights cancelled, SES on high alert as severe weather hits
UPDATE, 4.50pm: PASSENGERS flying into Ballina this afternoon on a Virgin flight have been diverted to Sydney.
Rain and low clouds prevented the pilot from landing the plane.
"They tried to land, he had two or three passes," Ballina Shire Council's commercial services manager Paul Tsikleas said.
"The visibility has been really bad. Up until half an hour ago the rain was absolutely torrential here."
More often than not, when planes are unable to land in Ballina they are redirected to the Gold Coast.
However, conditions are similar at the Gold Coast today.
The subsequent flight from Ballina to Sydney has been cancelled.
As for when the flights will be rescheduled, it depends on the conditions.
"If this weather persists, they'll try to play catch-up tomorrow," Mr Tsikleas said.
"It's up to the airline, they tend to put on an extra flight if they need to."
At this stage, the Rex flight due to arrive in Ballina at 8.10 is still scheduled to depart Sydney on time.
Flying tomorrow? Chances are if you're booked to fly later in the day your flight is more likely to be disrupted according to Mr Tsikleas.
"If the weather lifts, we're fine," he said.
UPDATE, 3.15pm: THE NSW State Emergency Service is preparing early for potential flooding across the Northern Rivers.
All hands are on deck at the Northern Zone headquarters at Goonellabah, ensuring the equipment is in good nick and they're ready for an influx of calls.
"We have out of area support with us to help manage the situation," Northern zone spokeswoman Janet Pettit said.
"There are six more people in the office today, and more coming over the weekend.
"A mixture of volunteers and staff are coming from Sydney and as far south as Wollongong."
Ms Pettit said they would contribute to incident management in upcoming days.
She said most of the calls coming in are from the Coffs Harbour area, and they expect more calls from Northern Rivers residents later in the day.
UPDATE, 12.30pm: A SECOND flood watch has been issued for the region.
The Bureau of Meteorology said rainfall is expected to increase along the New South Wales Northern coast from today, as a low pressure trough deepens in the area.
This system is bringing heavy rainfall to the Northern Rivers and the Mid North Coast from today into the weekend. Rainfall is expected to shift southwards from late Friday.
The BOM warning said coastal catchments within the Flood Watch area are relatively wet due to recent rainfall in the last fortnight.
High tides forecast on Sunday through to Tuesday may exacerbate flood conditions in low lying coastal areas.
A Severe Weather Warning has been issued for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and parts of Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
The weather system has the potential to cause flooding for the catchments listed from late Thursday onwards. Flood Classes (minor, moderate, major) are only defined for catchments where the bureau provides a flood warning service.
Catchments likely to be affected include:
Tweed and Rouse Rivers: minor flooding
Brunswick River and Marshalls Creek: minor flooding
Wilsons River: minor to moderate flooding
Richmond River: minor flooding
Orara River: minor to moderate flooding
Coffs Coast: minor flooding
Bellinger and Kalang Rivers: moderate to major flooding
Nambucca River: moderate to major flooding
Macleay River: minor flooding
Hastings River: minor flooding
Camden Haven Riverminor flooding
Wollombi Brook and Lower Hunter River: minor to moderate flooding
Upper Nepean River: minor flooding
Hawkesbury and Lower Nepean Rivers(local flooding)
Upper Coxs River(local flooding)
Colo River: minor flooding
Macdonald River(local flooding)
Northern Sydney(local flooding)
Southern Sydney(local flooding)
Parramatta River(local flooding)
For the latest flood and weather warnings see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/
For the latest rainfall and weather forecasts see www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/
For the latest rainfall and river level information see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood
Flood Safety Advice:
This Flood Watch means that people living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop.
Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service.
Severe Weather Warnings will be issued or updated if very heavy rain is forecast or observed.
For more information on the Flood Watch Service: http://www.bom.gov.au/water/floods/floodWarningServices.shtml
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.
UPDATE, 11.35am: THE Bureau of Meteorology has renewed its severe weather warning issued earlier this morning.
Northern Rivers residents can expect heavy rainfall and damaging winds in the region.
At 11am today the BOM confirmed heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding and riverine flooding is possible for parts of the Northern Rivers.
The BOM has also issued a marine wind warning for the Byron Coast, which extends from the NSW/QLD border south to Wooli.
At 10am, the community was advised to expect strong winds along the Byron Coast.
The State Emergency Service updated their advice, encouraging people to:
- 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.
- Trees that have been damaged by fire are likely to be more unstable and more likely to fall
- Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid (131 388), Endeavour Energy (131 003), Essential Energy (132 080) or Evoenergy (131 093) 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.
- Be aware that run-off from rainfall in fire affected areas may behave differently and be more rapid. It may also contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks.
- After bushfires, heavy rain and the loss of foliage can make the ground soft and heavy, leading to a greater chance of landslides.
- Stay vigilant and monitor conditions. Note that the landscape may have changed following bushfires.
- For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.
Original story: THE Bureau of Meteorology has this morning renewed its calls for people to stay safe, with rainfall expected to increases across the Northern Rivers.
In a severe weather warning issued just before 5am, the BoM said a low pressure trough was deepening in the area.
"This trough is expected to linger near the coast and in the longer-term gradually shift southwards during Friday and over the weekend," it explained on its website.
"Intense rainfall is also possible for some areas with this system.
"Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding and riverine flooding, is possible for parts of the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and eastern parts of the Northern Tablelands forecast districts from today.
"The location of the heaviest falls will be determined by the movement and strength of the coastal trough, and by where thunderstorms occur.
"It is most likely that the heaviest rainfall will be focused about the Northern Rivers or northern parts of the Mid North Coast today, shifting a little south to the Mid North Coast during Friday.
"A Flood Watch has also been issued for a number of river catchments along the north coast."
BoM says it is closely monitoring the situation.
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- 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
- Be aware that run-off from rainfall in fire affected areas may behave differently and be more rapid. It may also contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks
- After bushfires, heavy rain and the loss of foliage can make the ground soft and heavy, leading to a greater chance of landslides
- Stay vigilant and monitor conditions. Note that the landscape may have changed following bushfires
- For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.
The next Severe Weather Warning will be issued by 11am.