Australia – Flood Warnings and Rescues in NSW and Queensland After 700mm of Rain in 72 Hours

A low-pressure trough off the coast of south east Australia caused a wild weekend of weather for south east Queensland and northern New South Wales with torrential rain, damaging winds, abnormally high tides and dangerous surf.

Flood damage in New South Wales, Australia, after torrential rain from 12 December 2020. Photo; NSW SES

Flood warnings are in place in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW) after heavy rainfall. In a 72 hour period to 14 December, 738 mm of rain fell in Upper Springbrook in Queensland, including 323mm in 6 hours overnight, 12 to 13 December. In NSW the highest rainfall totals were seen in Burringar with 424 mm in 72 hours.

NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) said areas of Northern Rivers and parts of Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands Districts were among the worst affected. NSW SES said they had received 900 calls for assistance and carried out 4 flood rescue operations.

In NSW there was a Moderate Flood Warning in place for the Orara river at Glenreagh and Coutts Crossing, a Minor to Moderate Flood Warning for the Bellinger river at Thora and Bellingen and Minor Flood Warnings for Tweed river at Tumbulgum and Chinderah and Wilsons river at Lismore. In Queensland there was a Minor Flood Warning in place for the Logan River at Beaudesert.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said “There have also been some big seas off the coast with wave heights around 10 m, leading to coastal erosion and inundation.” Media in Australia reported the coastline along Byron Bay in NSW was “severely eroded by the wild weather over the weekend”. Coastal flooding was also reported in parts of Brisbane, Queensland.

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