Eight metre waves off the far northern NSW coast are causing alarm as Byron Bay’s Main Beach is hit by “massive” coastal erosion as a king tide approaches.
There have been more than 50 calls for help overnight to the NSW State Emergency Services as wild weather pummels the north of the state and parts of southeast Queensland.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning that northern NSW will be hit with sustained heavy rain, damaging winds and flooding, as well as dangerous surf conditions until the weekend.
It is warning about more showers and storms next week, with those conditions continuing right until Christmas.
Overnight the NSW SES bureau issued a number of flood watch messages for a range of catchments across northern zone
BOM senior meteorologist Dean Narramore says torrential rain will continue from Brisbane down to Yamba in northern NSW, with 100 to 250mm expected in the next 24 hours.
There had already been “massive” beach erosion at Byron Bay and along the coast up to southeast Queensland, he told Nine’s Today show on December 14.
“This morning we’ve observed waves offshore around the eight metre mark,” he said.
“We’ll see a big king tide today, very high tides again tomorrow.
“We could see waves of three-to-five metres come into shore … today and into tomorrow.”
The low-pressure system off the southeast Queensland coast was expected to bring another round of very heavy rainfall and strong and damaging winds, with gusts of more than 100 km/h in some areas forecast.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Greg Leach said the worst affected areas were from Ipswich through to Logan and the Gold Coast and northern NSW.
The Gold Coast and parts of its hinterland copped 193mm of rain overnight on top of the 460mm they received on Sunday.
An emergency alert was issued on Sunday night on the Gold Coast for the areas of Tallebudgera and Currumbin, and the SES responded to about 674 calls in the last 36 hours.
The SES said more than 700 calls for help had been made since Friday and 57 overnight, while a severe weather warning for very heavy rainfall is current for the Northern Rivers areas.
More SES personnel had been sent to the affected area to help after volunteers performed five flood rescues over the weekend in the Northern Rivers region, Tweed Heads and Byron Bay.
NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin said the BOM had issued numerous flood watch messages for a range of catchments right across the state’s northern zone.
“So anybody living up in that area needs to be aware of what is going on around them. Listen to the warnings. And as always we ask that people don’t drive through flood waters,” he told the Today show.
The SES said heavy rainfall over Leycester Creek and the Wilsons River at Lismore is likely to reach the minor flood level (4.20 metres) around midday on Monday, with roads and low lying farm land and rural properties most likely to be inundated with flood waters.
Further rises to the minor flood levels are possible at Billinudgel and Mullumbimby with minor flooding expected along Marshalls Creek and the Brunswick River.
During Monday and Tuesday, minor to moderate flooding is possible along the Bellinger River at Thora and Bellingen.
This will result in low lying areas being impacted by floodwaters along the Bellinger River, possibly impacting on the communities of Darkwood, Thora, Bellingen, Repton, Mylestom and surrounding areas.
The Tweed River at Tumbulgum is likely to reach the minor flood level (1.40m) on Monday with the high tide.
The SES says the flood situation is being monitored and revised warnings will be issued should the situation change.
People in areas likely to be impacted by flooding should refrain from driving or walking through flood water, take note of road closures and monitor emergency warnings and severe weather updates.