Midnight vigil over river rise as Maclean faces clean-up

WATCHING BRIEF: Rural Fire Service volunteers check the top of the levee for heights and any weakness as the Clarence River rises in darkness at Maclean.
WATCHING BRIEF: Rural Fire Service volunteers check the top of the levee for heights and any weakness as the Clarence River rises in darkness at Maclean.

THERE'S a palpable sense of relief in Maclean today as it prepares to clean up after the Clarence River largely spared the town.

Maclean SES will switch from flood watch to resupply, medicine drops and medical evacuations after a hectic few days.

An SES spokesman said three volunteers maintained a vigil through the night on Tuesday, monitoring the levee and river height during a critical high tide period stretching from 11pm until 2am.

"We worked through to 3am then we shut down because there was no life-threatening danger," the spokesman said.

"The SES began operations again at 7am."

Maclean's Carl Fisher, who refused to evacuate his Taloumbi St house, said about 10cm to 15cm of water entered his home.

But he believes the town dodged a bullet.

"This was a different sort of flood to any others," he said.

"Where did all the water go?

"In the 2001 flood, the peak at Grafton was 7.7m and we got the same amount of water in the house.

"This time the peak in Grafton was 8.1m, but we didn't get extra water that must have been up there."

Mr Fisher said there was talk the dry weather leading up to the flood allowed the ground to soak up the extra water.

But he admitted this was purely speculation.

"I know in 2001 we had a smaller flood followed about a month later by the bigger one, so the ground wouldn't have been able to soak up as much water," he said.

Mr Fisher, a bus driver, said he most likely had a day or two at home to clean up before he went back to work.

"We've got the house pretty well set up for a flood prone area, with the living areas upstairs and a hard (concrete) area downstairs," he said.

"Most of the clean-up is just hosing off the mud and cleaning off some of the stuff downstairs."

Topics:  editors picks flood grafton maclean oswald

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