Storm watch: 4,500 still without power on North Coast

UPDATE 1.30pm: 4,500 customers remain without power across the North Coast as Essential Energy crews make repairs to the network following the strong winds and rain associated with the east coast low.

Areas affected range from Mitchells Island up to the Tweed Valley, with crews having just restored supply to those living in Terranora, Banora Point, Maclean and Crystal Waters.

Extra crews are being brought in to the area to assist local teams with patrolling lines and making repairs. 

Vegetation contractors are also assisting Essential Energy with the removal of trees over lines and clearing vegetation for access in to some areas of the network.

Areas currently without power on the Northern Rivers include:

Alstonville, Bangalow, Alstonvale, Rosebank, Federal, Coraki, and surrounding areas.

Customers can contact Essential Energy on 13 20 80 for further information or visit the Essential Energy Facebook page.

 

UPDATE 9.36am: THOUSANDS of Essential Energy customers across the North Coast are experiencing unplanned power outages as a result of the east coast low that is moving across the region.

13,600 customers are currently without supply between Taree and the Tweed Heads border  with crews patrolling lines and commencing repair work, where safe to do so, to get the power back on.

At this point estimated times  for power restoration are not confirmed, however this information will be provided once available, Essential Energy have said.

Affected areas on the Northern Rivers include:

  • Banora Point: 1,300 customers
  • Alstonville: 950 customers
  • Wardell: 950 customers
  • Tyalgum: 200 customers
  • Alstonville: 150 customers
  • Maclean: 140 customers
  • Uki: 120 customers

Other areas affected include Rosebank, Federal, Evans Head, Coraki, and Bentley.

Damage has been caused mainly by vegetation coming down over lines, Essential Energy said in a statement.

Customers are reminded that if they see powerlines down to stay eight metres away and call Essential Energy on 13 20 80.

Meanwhile, the State Emergency Service have released another severe weather warning for large waves off the North Coast.

A low pressure system off the Tweed Heads coast is slowly moving east/northeast and weakening.

Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is possible along the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers coast, particularly on southward-facing beaches.

Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:

  • Drive carefully to avoid storm debris on roads
  • Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
  • Report fallen power lines to the energy provider on your power bill
  • Don't drive, ride or walk through flood water.
  • For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500. 

 

UPDATE 8.25am: A NUMBER of roads across the Northern Rivers are affected by trees down or flooding following the heavy rain and high winds overnight.

According to My Roads Info, a number of roads in the Northern Rivers are marked with "proceed with caution".

Boundary Creek Road at Marom Creek and Marom Creek Road at Gum Creek are both closed due to flooding.

A tree is reportedly across the Coast Road at Boulder Beach, and another on the same road at Sharpes Beach. 

Other roads marked with "tree down" are Ellis Road, Eltham Road, Rous Mill Road, Tamarind Drive between North Creek Road and Cumbalum Interchange, Teven Road, and Wardell Road.

Caution is recommended for Binna Burra Road, Dalwood Road at Gum Creek Weir, Lindendale Road at Marom Creek, Repentance Creek Road, 

 

A map of current power outages from the Essential Energy website.
A map of current power outages from the Essential Energy website. Marnie Johnston

UPDATE 6.50am: THERE are a number of areas affected by power outages across the Northern Rivers currently thanks to a low pressure system that moved north along our coastline overnight, bringing heavy winds and rain.

A map of current outages on the Essential Energy website shows outages in areas of Evans Head, Woodburn, Wardell, West Ballina, Tuckombil, Lindendale, Bungabbe, Tyalgum, McLeods Shoot, Rosebank, Doon Doon, and Mount Burrell, leaving more than 1000 customers without power.

Essential Energy lists the outage at Wardell alone as leaving 952 customers without power. 

 

Radar image from Bureau of Meteorology showing conditions overnight.
Radar image from Bureau of Meteorology showing conditions overnight. Marnie Johnston

THURSDAY 6am: THE Northern Rivers has copped a night of heavy wind and rain due to a low pressure system off our coastline.

Since 9am yesterday, Lismore has received 63.8mm of rain, Casino 47.6mm, Ballina 30.8mm, and Byron Bay 26.6mm.

In Lismore winds reached speeds of 50km/h at 1am, while over in Byron they reached 96km/h at 4am.

The low pressure system which moved along our coast overnight is currently off the Tweed Heads coast is slowly moving east/northeast and weakening, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The BoM's latest severe weather warning, released at 4.41am this morning said this low pressure system may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is possible along the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers coast, particularly on southward-facing beaches.

Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

The Severe Weather Warning for Damaging Winds and Damaging Surf has been cancelled.

There is also a Gale Warning in place for the Byron coast today and a Strong Winds warning for tomorrow.

Forecast for today:

Cloudy with a 90% chance of showers, becoming less likely after this morning. 

Winds southerly 30 to 45 km/h decreasing to 20 to 25 km/h in the late evening.

Daytime maximum temperatures around 18.

Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, swimming and surfing.

 

UPDATE 4.30pm: AN INTENSE low pressure system has formed off Coffs Harbour around noon today and is rapidly making its way north.

 

UPDATE 9.55am: THE State Emergency Service have issued another weather warning regarding heavy rain, high winds and large waves on our coastline today. 

A developing low pressure system off the northern New South Wales coast is expected to bring heavy rainfall, damaging winds and damaging surf to parts of the northern coast.

Heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding is likely across southern parts of the Mid North Coast this morning, extending to northern parts of the Mid North Coast and southern parts of the Northern Rivers by this afternoon and evening.

24 hour totals in excess of 100 mm are likely, with localised totals above 200 mm possible.

Heavy rain is also possible with thunderstorm activity in these districts today.

Damaging winds, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h are likely about higher parts of the Hunter and the coastal fringe of the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers today

Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is possible today for the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers districts, particularly on southward-facing beaches.

Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

 

WEDNESDAY 6am: THE expected rain has begun to fall on the Northern Rivers, as a developing low pressure system off the coast moves slowly northwards.

While you were sleeping, 5.8mm of rain fell over Lismore, 5.4mm over Casino, 3.2mm over Ballina, and 2.4mm over Byron Bay.

The Bureau of Meteorology has a cloudy day forecast for the Northern Rivers, with heavy rain expected this afternoon and a possible thunderstorm. 

Winds are expected to be southwesterly 15 to 20 km/h turning southerly 30 to 50 km/h during the morning and early afternoon then increasing to 40 to 60 km/h in the late evening.

Daytime maximum temperatures between 17 and 20.

Large and powerful surf conditions this afternoon and evening are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, swimming and surfing.

The severe weather warning is still in place, and a marine wind warning is in place, with gale-force winds expected for the North Coast.

 

Image via BSCH and Higgins Storm Chasing showing the forecast ECL Wednesday night
Image via BSCH and Higgins Storm Chasing showing the forecast ECL Wednesday night Marnie Johnston

UPDATE 12.40pm: AN East Coast Low which is likely to develop along the coast of NSW during Wednesday is set to bring heavy rainfall of up to 200mm.

Higgins Storm Chasing said heavy rain with 24 hour totals of 100-150mm was likely with localised falls to 200mm possible during Wednesday persisting into early Thursday morning.

Flash flooding, river, creek and stream flooding is likely to develop through parts of the region, Higgins said.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning in light of the forecast East Coast Low.

The BoM warns that a cold front will move through northeastern NSW on Tuesday night and a low is expected to develop off the Far North Coast during Wednesday morning, bringing damaging winds, high tides and heavy surf.

Damaging wind, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h are possible along the coastal fringe of the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers districts during Wednesday.

Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is possible on Wednesday on Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers districts, particularly on south facing beaches.

Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:

  • Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
  • Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
  • Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid on 131 388, or Endeavour Energy on 131 003 or Essential Energy on 132 080, as shown on your power bill.
  • Don't drive, ride or walk through flood water.
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
  • If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
  • For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500. 

 

TUESDAY 6.15am: WATCH out Northern Rivers - another East Coast Low is on the way.

Higgins Storm Chasing has reported that "an East Coast Low is expected to combine with a surface trough and upper level support to generate heavy rain with flash flooding and thunderstorms across North-East NSW during Tuesday and Wednesday".

Higgins said that during Tuesday, a low pressure system is set to be located over Northern NSW with a trough extending from NW NSW into Central Inland/Coastal NSW.

Showers and rain areas are likely to be occurring along this trough.

During Tuesday, the trough is forecast to move up the Coast as it contracts towards the East, with the potential for some isolated to scattered thunderstorms to develop across the NW Slopes and Plains, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast during the afternoon and evening.

These storms have the potential to produce strong winds, heavy rain and hail, Higgins said.

Falls during Tuesday and Tuesday night are expected to be good, with widespread falls of 20-40mm likely and localised totals of 50mm+ possible.

During Wednesday morning an East Coast Low is expected to develop off the Northern Rivers Coastline and linger there for the remainder of the day.

Due to the positioning of the East Coast Low, heavy rain areas are expected to increase in intensity across the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast, while the addition of strong to possibly damaging winds may also impact the direct coastline.

Falls of in excess of 100mm are likely on Wednesday, Higgins said, with even higher localised totals not ruled out.

This heavy rain is expected to last until early on Thursday afternoon when the East Coast Low is forecast to finally move East and away from the Coast.

Across the two days, falls of 100-150mm are expected across North-East NSW with higher totals possible, while widespread falls of 50-100mm are also expected.

These kinds of falls have the potential to lead to flash flooding with roads cut, as well as creek and river rises that could see minor to moderate flood warnings issued, Higgins said.

Severe weather warnings are also expected for damaging winds and heavy rain along with the addition of abnormally high tides / dangerous surf conditions.