10 February 2020

Torrential rain brings new emergency to South Coast

| Michael Weaver
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Caseys Beach

Caseys Beach at Batemans Bay on 10 February. Photo: Josh Burkinshaw Images.

Torrential rainfall, large seas and king tides have brought a new emergency to the NSW South Coast which is struggling to recover from weeks of devastating bushfires.

Steady rain has been falling since Friday (7 February), but heavier falls quickly became a deluge that has wreaked havoc on rivers and waterways.

King tides have also caused erosion on beaches, with waves spilling across the walkway at Batemans Bay. More than 140 mm of rain has been recorded in the past 24 hours at Batemans Bay and more than 300 mm of rain has fallen at Araluen in the upper Deua River. The river is rising rapidly as it becomes tidal closer to Moruya where it is known as the Moruya River.

Areas west of Bodalla including Nerrigundah and Belowra have been isolated thanks to more than 200 mm of rain causing the Tuross River to rise rapidly.

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has issued a flood watch for the coast from the Hunter to the Bega rivers. This means 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.

The Big 4 Holiday Park at Nelligen is flooded as the king tide pushed water up a swollen Clyde River. The floodwaters have not crossed the Kings Highway.

Moderate flooding is forecast along the Moruya River.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that the Moruya River will reach 8.20 metres at the Riverview gauge on this afternoon. This will cause moderate flooding in and around Moruya.

The Moruya Businesses Chamber has been advised by Eurobodalla Shire Council that 300 mm of rain had fallen overnight and that Moruya is at a ‘watch and wait’ status for flooding.

The chamber advised its members that “a major flood warning means that Moruya will flood within 5-6 hours. Premises opposite Air Raid Tavern will flood first followed by all businesses along and east of Vulcan Street”.

Heavy rain and expected high tides could combine in coming days to bring flooding to low lying coastal areas in the Eurobodalla Shire.

The latest report from the NSW SES says rain is easing; however, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a 90 per cent chance of rain and thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday.

Moruya River

The Moruya River this morning, 10 February. Photo: Alex Rea.

The widespread rainfall is the result of a tropical low-pressure system that formed in the Coral Sea and made its way down the east coast of NSW and further inland.

Torrential rainfall along the east coast of NSW has delivered 24-hour totals to 9:00 am this morning in excess of 200 mm to much of the central and southern coast, with multiple locations receiving more than 350 mm.

More than 230 mm of rain has fallen at Araluen, while 91.4 mm has fallen at Moruya in the past 24 hours. At Moruya Heads there has been 104 mm of rain, 166 mm at Bodalla and 140 mm at Batemans Bay.

Further south, minor flooding is expected along the Bega River from this afternoon onwards.

The Bega Valley Shire Council says the Bega River at Bega North is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.60 metres) at around 6:00 pm today. The river level is expected to reach around 6.0 metres early Tuesday morning with further rises possible.

Surf and swell conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating and swimming. Wave heights in excess of five metres have been recorded off the South Coast.

Residents and business owners are advised to monitor the NSW SES website for updates.

The rain has been welcomed by the NSW Rural Fire Service which has declared the Currowan fire officially extinguished. The Currowan fire burnt for 74 days across 499,621 hectares and destroyed 312 homes.

The fire spread to neighbouring councils including Eurobodalla, Wingecarribee and Queanbeyan-Palerang.

“Tremendous work by firefighters and residents saw 1889 homes saved,” the NSW RFS said.

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on About Regional.

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