Flood expected to top Lismore flood levee as further evacuation orders issued on NSW Mid North Coast

Flood expected to top Lismore flood levee as further evacuation orders issued on NSW Mid North Coast

The breach of Lismore’s flood levee is imminent, as fresh evacuation orders are issued further south for parts of the Mid North Coast amid heavy rain in the already sodden region.

Wilsons River has now risen to 10.89m. The levee top is at 10.6m but authorities say it hasn’t been breached yet.

Intense rain led the State Emergency Service (SES) to urge residents of the town’s CBD, as well as Lismore Basin, East Lismore and Girards Hill to leave overnight.

It was the second evacuation order for the town in 24 hours after the all-clear was given to return with caution yesterday afternoon.

Residents in parts of east Bellingen, Newry Island, Urunga CBD and Bellinger Keys have also been told to leave immediately, and the Bellinger River Caravan Park was evacuated last night amid major flood warnings.

Several towns have been inundated by flash floods, including Byron Bay’s CBD and parts of Ballina.

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Roads submerged in Ballina

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Neil Bennett said there could be further rises to the Wilsons River this afternoon.

“Within the system there will be bands of very localised heavier rainfall which will also affect the catchment,” he said.

“It is being monitored very closely and we will be reacting quickly to new information that comes in.”

An evacuation centre has been set up at Lismore’s Southern Cross University.

‘Life threatening’


Mr Bennett said he could not overstate how dangerous the situation across the North and Mid North Coast was. 

“We are expecting to see some wide-ranging areas with six-hourly rainfall totals between 80mm and 140mm, but they could reach up to 200mm over the coastal areas.

“Embedded in those thunderstorms will be extremely heavy rain,” he said.

Over the past 20 hours, Alstonville has seen 370mm of rain fall and Byron Bay 245mm.

Road closures

John Pearson from the Transport Management Centre says multiple roads around the region are closed due to water over roads.

These include the Pacific Highway, one of two major transport routes into the northern rivers.

“The Pacific Highway is closed in both directions between Wardell and Tintenbar due to flooding. Around Lismore, the major road, Bangalow road is closed in both directions between Zaidoc Street and Coleman Street.

“The Summerland way between Grafton and Casino is closed near Leeville due to water over the road,” he said.


PM says flood scenes ‘distressing’

Speaking on ABC News Breakfast this morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the scenes of Lismore’s flooding as “distressing”. 

“The trauma of these events, it must be unbearable for people up there in and around Lismore today,” Mr Morrison said.

He said it was heartwarming to again see images of Australians helping each other, “which is good character”.

The PM said that 3,200 defence force have been deployed to help in the area, working alongside the state’s SES.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves his arms during an interview
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the defence force, SES and local community were on the ground in Lismore as flood waters rise again. Wednesday March 30, 2022. (ABC News)

Threat on the Mid North Coast

The Mid North Coast has also experienced heavy falls overnight, prompting evacuation orders and warnings.

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