Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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Northern NSW to feel the brunt of East Coast Low overnight


Severe weather warnings have been issued today for damaging winds, heavy rainfall and very heavy surf for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands regions. Communities in the affected area include Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Lismore, and Coffs Harbour.

The conditions are caused by an intense low pressure system, often referred to as an East Coast Low, which is expected to move southwards along the Queensland coast and into New South Wales early on Saturday, before weakening and moving away from the coast on Sunday.

New South Wales Regional Director, Mr Barry Hanstrum, said that people living along the coast from the Queensland border as far as south Port Macquarie would receive the heaviest rain and strongest winds.

“Weather conditions over the northern New South Wales coast are already deteriorating and forecast to be at their worst overnight (Friday),” Mr Hanstrum said.

“Northern Rivers and adjacent districts will see heavy rain and thunderstorms with the potential for flash flooding, damaging winds gusting up to 100km/h, and very heavy surf.

“Falls in the range of 150 to 200mm are expected for northern New South Wales during this event, with localised falls over 350mm possible.

“Water levels could exceed the highest tide of the year during Friday evening's high tide, mostly near the Queensland border,” he said.

Flood Watches were issued on Wednesday, and are current for New South Wales coastal rivers from the border to Nelson Bay for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mr Hanstrum said the Bureau is acutely aware of ongoing clean-up operations in New South Wales, and mindful of the impact further rain could have in affected areas.

"Further rainfall is expected over catchments that experienced flooding last week, with renewed flooding still possible given the saturated landscape. However, we don’t expect to see the extreme rainfall totals and destructive winds that we saw in these areas during the last event.

“Thunderstorms are possible along the NSW coast, as far south as the Illawarra region, and these could lead to localised heavy falls,” he said.

The public are urged to stay tuned for updated forecasts and warnings, follow the advice of local emergency services, and in particular do not drive, ride or walk through flood water.

For further information go to the Bureau's website for the latest Warnings.

The Bureau is now using Twitter to disseminate significant weather information for the community. Follow @BOM_NSW.

The Bureau's website remains the most up-to-date and comprehensive official source of information.