Earth Watch Report - Flooding
|23.02.2013||Flood||Australia||State of New South Wales, [Kempsey region]|
|Two people are dead and 19,000 people have been told to evacuate as rising floodwaters and wild winds wreak havoc across the state. Roads are flooded and residents of Kempsey and areas on the state’s mid-north coast are bracing as the Macleay River is expected to again break its banks. SES volunteers have responded to 2729 calls for help – 450 in Sydney – and warned the number was “rising rapidly”. There have also been 34 rescues, mainly of people stranded in their cars. The body of a 17-year-old boy was discovered after he was sucked into a drainpipe while wading in waist-deep floodwater with friends on Friday afternoon. The group had been collecting golf balls when he was sucked into the drain. A friend found the boy’s body in reeds about 40 metres from the drain exit near Kew, on the NSW Mid-North Coast.
One of the group, a 16-year-old boy, was also pulled into the pipe while trying to find his friend, travelling underwater for 100 metres before emerging into a dam at the other end. The two boys were taken by ambulance to Port Macquarie Base Hospital in a distraught state with the 16-year-old admitted with water on his lungs. Police remain at the scene of a second death where a man’s body was found in a submerged car north of Grafton. SES volunteers were called to Rogan Bridge Road at Mylneford, about 20km north-west of Grafton, shortly before 1pm today after a car was seen submerged in floodwaters. Volunteers found the body of the man inside the car and alerted Grafton Police. Police are now working to formally identify the man. Meanwhile, some 19,000 people have been ordered to evacuate and 21400 are isolated mainly in Byron, Clarence and Belligne as rain and winds continue to batter NSW. Torrential rain, gales and dangerous surf battered regions for the second time in a month with moderate to major flooding in river systems stretching from Lismore to Port Macquarie.
Roofs were lifted off houses while thousands were left without power as an intense low pressure system moved over the region. A spokesperson for the SES said Kempsey, Port Macquarie and areas of the lower Macleay were on flood alert with volunteers urging locals to leave their homes and places of business. The higher peak is just short of the 2001 flood and will affect the Kempsey central business district and cause major flooding downstream at Smithtown and in rural areas. Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Tim Constable said although system was weakening as it head south, the rain and big swells were expected to hang around for the next week.
Wild weather brings floods, ‘mini tornadoes’
- February 24, 2013 – 4:31PM
Floods and ‘mini tornadoes’ batter NSW
A major storm has hit many areas of the state with strong wind and rain likely to last for the rest of the week.
A major storm system has left towns across eastern parts of the state battling floodwaters and triggered “mini tornadoes” that hit hundreds of homes across Sydney and the Illawarra region overnight.
The storms in the Sydney region affected mostly the eastern suburbs, damaging the Malabar RSL club, a primary school and ripping part of the roof of Fox Studios.
Police have blocked off all roads surrounding the RSL club after winds of more than 100km/h partially ripped off its roof and caused sheets of asbestos to fly onto nearby homes and roads.
Fire and Rescue NSW HAZMAT crews continue to clear asbestos from a number of nearby streets which are expected to be closed to traffic for as long as another 24 hours.
One resident of north Sydney’s Kirribilli described seeing a “funnel cloud” that struck just after midnight, bringing down trees in the Willoughby Street area, damaging cars and ripping off the roof of the Kirribilli Sailing Club. The wind “sounded like a freight train,” and the cloud was between 50-100m wide, the resident told Fairfax Media.
The Westpac Bank in Kirribilli was also damaged, with part of its roof wrapped around a telegraph pole.
‘‘At the moment the weather seems to have subsided and it’s the clean-up phase,’’ an SES spokeswoman said.
More rain to come
Flood warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) remain in place for 15 river systems across the state.
The Colo river, northwest of Sydney and a tributary of the Hawkesbury River, was predicted to rise to 10.7m today, a ‘‘near major flood level’’, according to the SES and BOM.
Other parts of the NSW North Coast, meanwhile, were battling major floods with roads cut and emergency services carrying out several dramatic rescues.
Some regions, such as Yarras inland from Port Macquarie, received 460mm of rain over three days – 415mm of that falling within the 24 hours to 9am yesterday.
The floods were more widespread than a bigger rain event three weeks ago because “catchments were much drier last time”, said Julie Evans, senior meteorologist at the weather bureau.
More rain is expected over northern NSW from tomorrow but “hopefully nothing of the scale of the last few days, Ms Evan said. Localised falls may be as high as 70mm.
Wind gusts reached 135 km/h in Sydney. The strongest wind gust recorded in a NSW thunderstorm is 174 km/h, recorded at Richmond on December 3, 1974, the bureau said.
- Floods prompt evacuation order for Kempsey (news.theage.com.au)
- Kempsey braces for flooding (bigpondnews.com)
- ‘Mini tornadoes’ hit (smh.com.au)
- 2 dead, thousands evacuated in NSW (dailytelegraph.com.au)
- Two dead, thousands affected in NSW (news.com.au)
- Kempsey braced for flooding (bigpondnews.com)
- River breaches levee, flooding Kempsey (news.com.au)
- Evacuation order issued for Kempsey (bigpondnews.com)
- ‘Mini tornadoes’ hit homes in Sydney (theage.com.au)
- Evacuation order issued for Kempsey (news.com.au)