Be prepared for the next downpour

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After yesterday’s deluge, the NSW SES Urunga Unit has called for the community to take steps beforehand to ease their load and ensure that the local volunteer service’s time is used for emergencies.

The water was over the road at the Urunga Ambulance Station – Bowling Club area (again) making it impassable at 1.30pm – and while Newry Island residents had no problems, that may have been a different story if the rain had dropped last week, in tandem with the king tides.

“Lots of calls for assistance from SES members could be avoided, leaving members free to attend to urgent and emergency situations,” the spokesperson said.

“Most of our calls are due to simple issues easily rectified by homeowner maintenance, such as ensuring that drainage around their properties is adequate.

“Every homeowner is aware of where runoff water affects their property during heavy rain. Simple things such as ensuring that these water courses around your property are kept unblocked, be they natural depressions in the ground or dedicated pipework.

“Grass, leaves and dirt are the main offenders for blocking drains, also not a good idea to plant garden beds in natural water courses.

Image via Colin Sutton.

Image via Colin Sutton.

“Homeowners also need to have their roofs inspected periodically as it very common for tiles to become loose or cracked, especially the more common cement tiles. Pointing on tiled roofs does not last forever so this should receive particular attention.

“Cement tiles in coastal areas are subject to loss of the painted surface coating, this can happen in less than twenty years.

McFaddens Bridge, Gordonville, not far off going under at 3.30 (March 15,2017).

McFaddens Bridge, Gordonville, not far off going under at 3.30 (March 15,2017).

“If your tile roof looks dirty and mouldy then it is probably time to have it cleaned and inspected for damage and possibly re-coated as a lot of salt from the sea air settles on our coastal roofs and this further causes accelerated failure of cement tiles – terracotta tiles are not as susceptible. Rain washes these salt deposits into the metal valleys and gutters, which are then prone to corrosion and leaking.

“Inspect your valleys for rust, which may only appear as a slight rusty stain on the outside but is commonly totally rusted through, a bit of a jab with a screwdriver will soon tell.

“Little needs to be said about metal roofs and whilst they are less prone to loss of integrity from hail damage, they can become rusted. Metal roofs approaching in excess of thirty years should be inspected for rust and corrosion – if it looks rusty then it is probably time to get it seen to. After all, everything you own is under that roof and is worth protecting.

“A common misconception is that an insurance company will pay to fix a leaking roof – they won't if they deem it to be through lack of maintenance.

“So come on people, do your maintenance and take a load of work off our unpaid volunteers who are no doubt losing their wages to attend to SES jobs for you.

“After all we, the SES, are only going to put a temporary band aid such as a tarpaulin on your roof and you will still have to get it repaired after, so why not do it before it causes you some problems?

“A typical temporary fix is to a property experiencing floor flooding, from yard runoff water, because the drains were completely blocked.”

The last 24hrs rainfall throughout the area:

  • Gleniffer 143mm
  • Upper Darkwood 40mm
  • Kalang (upper) 41mm
  • Dorrigo 50mm
  • Bellingen (Crystal Creek) 122mm
  • Sawtell 230mm
  • Urunga 155mm
  • Raleigh 214mm


The NSW SES advises residents to take the following actions to reduce the threats to property and personal safety during this weather event:

  • Never enter flood water – this is the leading cause of death and injury during floods
  • Park cars under cover away from trees, power lines and drains
  • Listen to your local radio station and other media for information, updates and advice.
  • Maintain yards, balconies and outdoor areas by securing or putting away items that could be picked up and blown around in strong winds.
  • Locate and check your home emergency kit
  • Should thunderstorms develop - unplug and avoid using electrical equipment connected to
  • main power, landline phones or modems.
  • Stay clear of swollen creeks, drains, causeways, gutters, streams, fallen trees or power lines
  • If you need to drive please drive to the weather and road conditions

NSW SES Mid North Coast Region Controller Tony Day said there is the possibility that northern parts of the Mid North Coast will see cumulative rainfall totals of over 200mm by the end of this week.

Lavenders Bridge at 12.30pm, March 15, 2017.

Lavenders Bridge at 12.30pm, March 15, 2017.

“At this stage we are not expecting any significant riverine flooding however, we are encouraging residents that live close to rivers and creeks to closely monitor weather warnings, to prepare now and to be ready to act early should conditions deteriorate,” he said.

“We have placed a number of volunteer NSW SES crews on standby should residents require emergency storm and flood assistance. In the past we have received great cooperation from the community in terms of people not driving through flood waters.

“We are again looking for this community assistance and for drivers to choose an alternative route should they encounter flooded roads or causeways and thereby avoid situations that pose a risk to their safety and the safety of volunteer SES flood rescue technicians – if it’s flooded forget it.”

For information on how residents can prepare for this weather event please visit the NSW SES website at

For emergency assistance in storms and floods call the NSW SES on 132 500 or in life-threatening situations call 000.

BOM – Warning at 10.51am  Thursday, March 16 2017.

Note: This Flood Watch provides early advice for possible future flooding along all rivers, creeks and overland flow paths within a nominated valley. 

Rainfall is expected to ease along the NSW Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast today. Another trough off the north coast is expected to develop tomorrow and is expected to bring significant rainfall to the Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast of NSW from late Friday and over the weekend.

This rainfall has the potential to cause flooding to develop in the following river valleys from late Friday onwards:

1. Brunswick  – minor flooding

2. Wilsons – minor to moderate flooding

3. Richmond – minor flooding

4. Clarence  – minor flooding

5. Orara – moderate flooding

6. Coffs Coast – minor flooding

7. Bellinger – moderate flooding

8. Nambucca – minor to moderate flooding

9. Macleay – minor to moderate flooding

10. Hastings – moderate flooding

11. Manning – minor to moderate flooding

A Flood Warning remains current for the Wilsons river at Lismore.

This Flood Watch means that people living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop.

Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service. Across NSW, about 70% of Flood Watches are followed by flooding.