Taking a battering: Wild weather whips up huge seas that crash onto Lighthouse Beach at Ballina eroding away the shoreline.
Taking a battering: Wild weather whips up huge seas that crash onto Lighthouse Beach at Ballina eroding away the shoreline. Jerad Williams

Wild weather strips away beaches

THE wild weather is paying a toll on the region’s coast-line, stripping away large portions of beach and leaving dangerously eroded sand cliffs.

But local Coastcare groups say the damage may not be assessed for days.

Foamy waves of up to 3.5 metres rolled into Lighthouse Beach at Ballina yesterday and created head-high sand cliffs. There was no visible beach at Lennox Head and foam from the large seas had filled the car park at Sharpes Beach.

Interim sand bag and rock protection works at Belongil Beach also bore the brunt of the large swell and were stripped down to their base, one resident said.

The Ballina Coastguard said three-metre waves were coming over the Ballina bar and the wave rider recorded a swell of up to 4.10 metres on top of a sea level that was already 2.41 metres.

Far North Coast Surf Lifesaving emergency services co-ordinator Jimmy Keough said he will be liaising with council about how to manage the sand erosion.

“Over the weekend we saw the formation of coastal erosion and we expect a lot of debris to wash up on the beach from the flooding and rivers,” he said.

“We will signpost the erosion cliffs and work with local councils. If it is really bad, they will come down and barricade the erosion off.”

Mr Keough advised people to exercise caution when going to the beach and avoid entering the water.

Ballina Coastcare secretary and co-ordinator Lee Andresen will assess the potential erosion damage once conditions are calmer.

“We can’t tell what erosion has been done until the waves have gone down and there is a low tide,” he said.

“At Lighthouse Beach they have been having some of the worst erosion because the wind has been coming around the wall.

“The waves are still coming in and it is far too big to tell yet,” Mr Adresen continued.

“Once the swell and wind stops we will be able to assess what has happened.”

Mr Andersen said the foam, which is covering most of the coastline, may take weeks to disappear.

Bureau of Meteorology Coffs Harbour duty officer Andrew Winchester said the current combination of swell and strong winds would make coastal erosion a lot worse.

He also forecasted winds and rain would ease today.

“The winds will be 20-30 knots for the first part of the day but seas will still be around 3-4 metres,” he said.

“By Wednesday winds will slowly ease to 15-20 knots but the swell will hang around. All the flood warnings will still be in place.”



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