Northern Rivers on flood watch
By ANDY PARKS
LISMORE State Emergency Service unit controller Lindsay Matterson was yesterday preparing for a flood.
"We're just watching everything at the moment," he said.
At 5pm yesterday, the SES updated its warning for residents to prepare for 'minor to moderate' flooding of the Wilsons River at Lismore.
Minor flooding is also predicted for the Lower Richmond River at Coraki and further downstream.
In a minor flood, water levels rise 4.2 to 7.2 metres. A moderate flood is 7.2 to 9.7 metres, while a major flood sees water top 9.7 metres.
When the Wilsons River rises to 5.1m, water starts to cover Simes Bridge. When it reaches 6.63m, Woodlawn Road is cut at the railway underpass and Alexandra Parade on the southern edge of Lismore Showground is cut off.
About 150mm of rain had fallen in the Lismore area in the 48 hours to 3pm yesterday, and further heavy rainfall was expected last night.
It generally takes about 10 hours for water to travel from Nimbin to Lismore, Mr Matterson said.
The latest figures he was able to give The Northern Star when we visited at 2.30pm yesterday revealed that Leycester Creek at Nimbin had risen by about two metres in just over two hours.
"We won't see that water reach Lismore until much later tonight," he said.
It is the first time the Lismore SES has been on flood watch since moving to its new headquarters at Brunswick Street in June.
"It's the first time we haven't had to think about getting out of our headquarters first," Mr Matterson said.
In the sheds out back, SES volunteers were readying boats and trailers.
Melinda Rosewarne, who has been a volunteer for about four years, was packing silicon, tarpaulins, ropes, lights and other supplies into a trailer.
"We've got three boats and a small punt on standby," she said. "There's a lot of people hanging around ... it's quite exciting."
Ms Rosewarne had already%taken sandbags to a house in%Goonellabah where water had%entered and was flowing through a bedroom.