Sunday 24 February 2013

More flooding in Australia

Here we are again, weeks after the last floods, with yet more extreme weather in Australia.
New South Wales floods cut off thousands

24 February, 2013

Two people are confirmed dead after being caught in the floodwaters and the State Emergency Service says it has made more than 20 rescues.

The ABC reports the worst-hit areas are around Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca Heads where authorities say more than 12,000 homes are without electricity.

The Hastings River peaked at 7.2 metres on Saturday evening and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology is warning a further major peak is expected with the high tide on Sunday morning .

Flood warnings are in place for 14 other rivers in the region.

Further south, more than 17,000 homes in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter region are without power as heavy rain continues across the region.

About 100 passengers were trapped on a train for nearly 17 hours in wild weather. The train from Sydney to Casino was blocked three times, by trees, then floodwater and finally a landslide.

Body of 17-year-old Luke O'Neill sucked into drain at Kew found

14 February, 2013

THE body of a 17-year-old boy who went missing after being sucked into a large drainpipe at a golf course on the state’s Mid North coast overnight has been found.

A friend searching in reeds about 40 metres from the drain exit located the body of Luke O'Neill at 7am.

The 17-year-old O'Neill from Bonny Hills went missing about 5.30pm yesterday when a group of teenage boys were in waist-deep flood water collecting golf balls at a golf course on Kendall Road, Kew

Police have been told the 17 year old was suddenly pulled into a large drainpipe by the force of the water.

When two of his friends, aged 15 and 16, were trying to find him at the drainpipe entrance the 16-year-old was also sucked into the pipe.

He travelled underwater for the length of the 100 metre pipe and emerged into a dam at the other end where he was able to exit the water.

The two boys were taken by ambulance to Port Macquarie Base Hospital in a distraught state. The 16-year-old was admitted for observations with water on his lungs.

Emergency services were contacted and police from the Mid North Coast Local Area Command were joined by NSW Fire and Rescue, ambulance officers and SES officers in their search.

More than 3850 people are isolated on the north coast, with thousands evacuated, and the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has received more than 1570 calls for assistance.

Torrential rain, gales and dangerous surf has battered the region for the second time in just a month with moderate to major flooding in river systems stretching from Lismore to Port Macquarie. No major towns have been cut off, but the SES holds concerns for the town of Bellingen.

There has been widespread falls of between 100mm and 200mm in some parts of the coast with rain as heavy as 360mm at Dorrigo on the Bellinger River just inland of Coffs Harbour in a 36 hour period.

Overnight the SES had to perform 15 flood rescues, most of which they say could have been avoided.

"Many of these rescues relate to deliberate entry into floodwater and the NSW SES urges people not to drive, ride or walk through floodwater,'' it said in a statement.

Flood warnings have been issued for areas around 17 NSW rivers, with major flood warnings in place for the Clarence River and the Bellinger River, where the river peaked at 9m at 5am this morning..

Further south near Kempsey the town of Smithtown (population 650) and its surrounding area received messages from the State Emergency Services this morning to evacuate as floodwater continued to rise in the Macleay River after up to 210mm of rain had fallen in the past 27 hours to 6am this morning.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) the river is expected to reach 6.6m at Kempsey around 6pm today causing major flooding.

There is a major flood warming for the Hastings River where the river peaked at 11m at 7am this morning - higher than the 1978 flood.

The Pacific Highway is closed near Macksville and at South Grafton.

A severe weather warning remains in place for the mid-north coast, Hunter, Illawarra, Sydney and parts of the central tablelands.
Heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding is predicted for those areas throughout today.

Sydney will experience winds of about 50 to 65 km per hour this evening.

"Along the coast winds are quite strong,'' a Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) spokesman told AAP today. "There's also some quite large seas and swell so the surf is quite dangerous and rough.''

"It's generally pretty wild and woolly out there.''

The SES has received about 70 calls from the Sydney metropolitan area but says there hasn't been too much damage around the city.

Cronulla's Wanda Surf Club did lose part of its roof in the wild weather today.

The BOM says the low pressure system should move south tomorrow morning, easing weather conditions around Sydney.

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