Wild woolly weather wreaks a lot of havoc
By DOMINIC FEAIN
CYCLONIC winds, heavy rain and wild seas wreaked havoc on the Northern Rivers yesterday causing car accidents and road closures.
Winds of up to 109km/h were recorded at Cape Byron and rainfall topped 140mm at Evans Head
A car accident involving three cars at Ross Lane, near Lennox Head, left three people injured. Traffic was disrupted for two hours.
Ambulance spokesman Ward McIndoe said State Emergency Service crews spent an hour cutting a 30-year-old woman from the wreckage.
"We had planned to airlift the injured woman to hospital but the high winds and low visibility prevented that," he said.
A 53-year-old man and his 16-year-old son were also taken to hospital.
All the injured were reported to be in a stable condition last night.
Richmond Tweed SES spokeswomen, Dallyce Nilsson, said there had been 56 requests for assistance throughout the day, mainly for leaking roofs and fallen trees.
"We have 78 volunteers in the field dealing with mostly minor stuff," she said.
Ms Nilsson said people were coping well with the wild weather.
"I was up as far as Byron and happy to report that people were pretty steady driving properly for the conditions."
Country Energy spokesman, Mike Hely, reported mostly minor power outages due to the wind, though powerlines were brought down on Coolamon Scenic Drive and Skinners Shoot near Byron Bay, and at Ross Lane near Lennox Head.
"The Ross Lane incident was a result of the car accident there though the Coolamon one was from the wires clashing in the high winds," he said.
"The inbuilt protection devices cut power in all cases though sometimes the wires come off the insulators and come down.
"People should presume fallen powerlines are live and stay eight metres clear of them as 11,000 volts can arc through the air," he said.
Fallen powerlines should be reported immediately on 132080. Kevin Thompson, from Ballina Coast Guard, described conditions as 'bloody awful' but quiet.
"Beaches are closed and we highly recommend people don't attempt crossing the bar," he said.
Byron Coastal Patrol's Ted Taylor reported conditions from the lighthouse as pretty rough. "We haven't had many tourists today," he said.