Jim McCormack, local controller for Richmond Valley SES, at the Woodburn SES headquarters yesterday after the Richmond River pe
Jim McCormack, local controller for Richmond Valley SES, at the Woodburn SES headquarters yesterday after the Richmond River pe

River fails to hit predicted peak at Woodburn

By Jamie Brown jamie.brown@northernstar.com.au WOODBURN SES controller Jim McCormack says every flood is different, and this latest deluge proves his point.

As late as Sunday night, the Richmond River was predicted to peak at Woodburn at 4.5 metres, the same level as the 1988 flood, which inundated businesses and swamped the Woodburn to Evans Head Road. But the reality at 10am yesterday on the high tide was half-a-metre less, with no damage in town.

The rural sector, meanwhile, will have to cope with 'cooked' cane, drowned soybeans, damaged fencing and drowned stock.

"There is no such thing as a good flood," said Mr McCormack, who has been with the SES since 1982.

Woodburn butcher Merv Morgan has seen water come into his River Street shop on several occasions, with 1954 being the highest.

But yesterday's flood peak reminded him of the many%similar inundations that happened in the 1960s.

"It was not unusual to get a couple of these floods a year back then," he said.

What kept the peak below major level at Woodburn was a lack of heavy local rain.

For instance, with relatively little rain in the Bungawalbyn catchment, floodwater from the Richmond pushed upstream and broke Bungawalbyn's banks near Boggy Creek, flooding properties from behind

In most floods the Mid-Richmond receives a good solid drenching, which inundates the flats, forcing the flood-%waters to spread out.

A bonus of that scenario is that SES boats have access to isolated properties.

"This flood is too shallow for a boat and too deep for a car," said SES volunteer David Roots, who was born during the 1954 flood. At the time his mother, Joan, was evacuated to Lismore in the family's Ford Blitz truck.



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