Weather warning

By SAMANTHA HEALY

SCIENTIST Keping Chen of Risk Frontiers has warned more than 18,000 addresses - homes, industrial buildings and businesses - would be flattened if a cyclone was to hit the Tweed.

"These addresses are all within three kilometres of the coast and less than six metres above sea level," Mr Chen said.

"They would all be at risk to coastal hazards and at risk of inundation.

The low-lying addresses would be vulnerable to any rise in sea levels including cyclonic storm surges.

Initial fears over the Tweed's ability to withstand a cyclone were raised last week as weather experts monitored lumbering giant, Cyclone Odette, building on the Coral Sea.

On Saturday the Daily News reported that well-known meteorologist and storm chaser Anthony Cornelius believed "questionable" building codes on the coast could result in extensive damage if the area was hit by a category three cyclone.

"Building codes on the Gold and Tweed coasts should be built to withstand a category three at least," Mr Cornelius said.

Politics, complacency and a need to keep building costs down were all blamed for the "questionable" building practices on the coast.

Tweed Shire Council town planner Nick Folkers said while it was not known how a major storm would effect the Tweed Coast all developments had to abide by the Building Code of Australia.

"Engineers have to approve wind loadings in the area prior to building approval," Mr Folkers said.

"We've also recently revised our flood levels meaning some building floor boards will be under the flood level.

"A lot of older houses and lower lying houses could be vulnerable."

Mr Folkers said the flood plan did not account for beach erosion as a result of storm surge, which could affect water front properties such as those at Casuarina and Salt.

"That's why we are not encouraging any further beachfront development," Mr Folkers said.

"No one really knows what will happen if we are hit by a major cyclone."

Ex-tropical cyclone Odette is now well east of the Queensland coastline and has been downgraded to a tropical low.

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