UPDATE 7.20pm - HOTLINE SET UP

A PUBLIC information hotline, has been activated to support the severe weather operation.

The Public Information and Inquiry Centre can be contacted by calling 1800 227 228.

It is available for members of the public seeking information relating the severe weather and flooding.

Deputy State Emergency Operations Controller, Acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart, has appealed for the public to not become complacent as current weather conditions are likely to deteriorate.

"We are going to experience over the next 48 hours increased rainfall and heavy winds - the public needs to take care in these conditions," Acting Assistant Commissioner Stewart said.

"I appeal to everyone to heed the warnings and advice of the NSW State Emergency Service and all emergency services.

"Our message is clear - do not put your life or that of emergency service personnel in danger.

"Floodwater is extremely dangerous as it can have fast moving undercurrents that can wash people and vehicles away. Everyone should always remember to never drive, ride or walk through floodwater," he said.

It should be noted this inquiry hotline does not replace the State Emergency Service emergency hotline.

Members of the public seeking emergency assistance during a flood or storm should call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500, or visit their website www.ses.nsw.gov.au

Members of the public can also visit www.emergency.nsw.gov.au for a range of flood-related information. For all other emergencies, the public are advised to contact Triple Zero.

 

 

The Tweed Coast SES has issued a warning urging residents to prepare for flooding over the weekend.
The Tweed Coast SES has issued a warning urging residents to prepare for flooding over the weekend. Contributed

UPDATE 6.30pm

EVACUATION centres have been established at three sites across the Tweed, in case an evacuation order is issued during the night for residents at Fingal, Chinderah, Seagulls Estate at Tweed Heads, Tumbulgum and South Murwillumbah.

Wherever possible, people should go and stay with family or friends, or make other accommodation arrangements.

Family and Community Services has set up a centre at the Salvation Army North Point at Banora Point for residents of Fingal Head and Chinderah in need of assistance.

Another site has been set up at Seagulls Football Club for nearby residents of Seagulls Estate at Tweed Heads while at Tumbulgum, residents in need of assitance should make their way to the Seven Day Adventist Hall in Dulguigan Road at North Tumbulgum.

Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.

A Flood Evacuation Order will be issued by the NSW SES if evacuation is required.

Meanwhile, SES Richmond Tweed region controller Andrew McPhee said two rescues had been conducted around Crystal Creek, west of Murwillumbah, while a further two rescues were required at Bangalow and Ocean Shores in the Byron Shire.

In preparation for evacuation, the SES is calling on residents to:

  • Raise belongings by placing them on tables, beds and benches. Put electrical items on top. You may be able to place light weight items in the roof space.
  • Collect together medicines, personal and financial documents, mementos and photos
  • If possible, check to see if your neighbours need help.
  • Make arrangements for care of pets or other animals, or take your pets with you when you evacuate.
  • Take three days' supply of clothing, medicines and personal hygiene products.
  • If you are planning to go to the evacuation centre, take blankets/sleeping bags, pillows and sleeping mats.
  • Find out where to turn off the electricity and gas.
  • Continue to listen to a local radio station for updates.
  • Never drive ride or walk through floodwater

For emergency assistance telephone the NSW SES on 132 500

UPDATE: 5.30pm

FINGAL Head residents have been urged to remain alert, with an evacuation warning remaining in place for the immediate future, as potentially destructive winds of up to 125 kmh are expected to lash the Tweed Coast overnight.

Other Tweed communities including at Seagulls Estate at Tweed Heads, Chinderah, Tumbulgum and the industrial area around South Murwillumbah have also been placed on high alert, with moderate flooding of the Tweed River predicted.

NSW State Emergency Services Richmond Tweed incident controller Andrew McPhee said an official evacuation order had not been made at this stage for any area, but urged Fingal's 1600 residents to remain on high guard.

"We don't want people to panic, but just to give them an early as possible heads up," Mr McPhee told ABC Radio.

"Be alert and be prepared to move should the situation deteriorate further. We urge residents to be vigilant and prepared for the night ahead."

He urged residents to take the necessary precautions in case of inundation, with a king tide expected to hit the area by 8pm, coupled with dangerous surf of between 5-7m.

 

Rain buckets down as seas rise at Fingal Head on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Rain buckets down as seas rise at Fingal Head on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Daniel McKenzie

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for the area, with peak wind gusts of up to 125kmh expected to blast the coast tonight in some areas as the East Coast low moves slowly southwards.

BOM senior meteorologist Adam Morgan said the king tide, coupled with the damaging surf waves could cause significant erosion and inundation of low lying areas.

"The hidden risk is the risk that comes from the ocean onshore, when we get the high tide and high waves, it really is dangerous to be anywhere near the coast today and tomorrow," he told ABC Radio.

"I would not be anywhere near the beach at this time."

Mr Morgan said while an East Coast low was not unusual at this time of the year, the sheer size of this system was unique as it was tracking from south-east Queensland down along the entire NSW coastline before clearing tomorrow.

Tweed Heads resident, Sam, was looking out over the Tweed River at Chinderah, assessing the scene on Saturday afternoon.

He said he'd been tuning into SES transmissions, to see whether the area would be evacuated.

"I'm not sure if Chinderah or Fingal Head will be evacuated, but I don't think it will be," he said.

"I was out in weather like this a few Australia Day's ago and this is just as bad."

"I've seen a lot of people driving around and having a look, so I don't think people are heeding warnings to stay at home or indoors."

An evacuation centre has been set up by Family and Community Services at the Salvation Army North Point at Banora Point.

 

UPDATE: 2pm

RESIDENTS at Fingal Head have been put on evacuation standby with the State Emergency Service expected to make a final decision on whether to evacuate the area within the next two hours.

SES Richmond Tweed spokesman Phil Campbell said residents west of the single lane temporary bridge should be on particular alert as higher than expected rainfall combines with king tides tonight.

"The tides are really critical here," Mr Campbell told ABC North Coast.

"People at Fingal Head right now may not think that the river is that high and doesn't look too bad but what they need to account for is that it is currently low tide and around 8pm this evening we will be having one of the highest tides of the year.

"We have also got waves off the coast of around 5-7m trying to push into the Tweed River estuary aswell... so effectively the waves and the tide are acting like a bit of a dam and they are pushing up the flood levels a little bit, particularly in those coastal areas such as Fingal Head."

Mr Campbell said at present, the evacuation was just a warning, with people asked to prepare to evacuate.

A decision on whether to order an evacuation will be made within two hours, upon advice from the Bureau of Meteorology.

An evacuation centre has been set up by Family and Community Services at the Salvation Army North Point at Banora Point, which was due to open at 2pm today.

"We don't want people to be evacuating in darkness and darkness will come around 5pm today," Mr Campbell.

"We want to get people out as safely as we can so people have plenty of time and the roads aren't congested."

Up to 250mm of rain has fallen during the past 24 hours to 11 am today, with further rain forecast.

Minor flooding is also expected at Murwillumbah and Chinderah today.

Mr McPhee said he expected weather conditions to ease around midnight tonight.

Residents preparing to evacuate are advised to:

  • Raise belongings by placing them on tables, beds and benches. Put electrical items on top. You may be able to place light weight items in the roof space.
  • Collect together medicines, personal and financial documents, mementos and photos
  • If possible, check to see if your neighbours need help.
  • Make arrangements for care of pets or other animals, or take your pets with you when you evacuate.
  • Take three days supply of clothing, medicines and personal hygiene products.
  • If you are planning to go to the evacuation centre, take blankets/sleeping bags, pillows and sleeping mats.
  • Find out where to turn off the electricity and gas.
  • Continue to listen to a local radio station for updates.
  • Never drive ride or walk through floodwater

For emergency assistance telephone the NSW SES on 132 500

Murwillumbah

Exceed minor flood level 3 metres at Murwillumbah around 2pm today.

May reach moderate flood level 4 metres around 5pm today.

Further rises possible.

Chinderah

Exceed minor flood level 1.3 metres around 7pm today.

With forecast rainfall and high tide reach 1.6 metres with minor flooding around 9 pm today.

Further rises possible.

This will cause moderate flooding on the Tweed River around Murwillumbah, Condong, Tumbulgum and Chinderah.

Latest River Heights: Location

Height of River

Date/Time of Observation

Tweed R at Uki

5.73m rising

10:43 AM SAT 04/06/16

Oxley R at Eungella

4.53m rising

10:46 AM SAT 04/06/16

Tweed R at Murwillumbah

1.47m rising

10:45 AM SAT 04/06/16

Rous R at Boat Harbour

4.05m rising

10:46 AM SAT 04/06/16

Tweed R at Tumbulgum

1.06m steady

10:37 AM SAT 04/06/16

Tweed R at Barneys Point

0.68m rising

10:46 AM SAT 04/06/16



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