AT A STANDSTILL: Traffic on the Pacific Highway wasdelayed for 45 minutes due to floodwaters covering the road north of Deadmans Creek Road at Cumbalum.
AT A STANDSTILL: Traffic on the Pacific Highway wasdelayed for 45 minutes due to floodwaters covering the road north of Deadmans Creek Road at Cumbalum. Doug Eaton

Flooded roads delay motorists

BALLINA residents, visitors and animals were all hit hard by yesterday’s wild weather.

The storm, which drenched the Ballina Shire from about 5pm on Wednesday, did not give up until 9am yesterday when it had dumped 170mm of rain in 24 hours.

Ballina Heights residents were left stranded in their ridge-top homes after floodwaters cut off Deadmans Creek Road, the one road out of the estate that connects to the Pacific Highway.

Carol Dunn, who lives in Ballina Heights at Cumbalum, was not surprised by the road being cut off as it occurs ‘every time a big storm happens’.

“I was called into work this morning, but I couldn’t go because I couldn’t get out,” she said.

“Every time we have a big storm the water floods across the road and no one can get out.

“The council has been talking about putting another road inbecause this is a one road estate.”

Mrs Dunn looked at the massive traffic jam on the Pacific Highway as she talked about the flooded causeways.

“The water flows down and over the new highway. Even when we have a really high tide it happens,” she said.

Delays on the Pacific Highway just north of Ballina Heights started on Wednesday night, and by yesterday drivers were backed up about four kilometres with a 45-minute delay due to the flooding.

Humans were not the only ones put out by yesterday’s wild weather.

Rochelle Ferris, from the Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) in Ballina, was devastated by yet another storm damaging the habitat of wildlife under her care.

“If the tide comes up then we are in real trouble,” she said.

“It is going to get really busy with wildlife washing up all along the coast after becoming exhausted from fighting the wild weather.

“The flooding also affects the quality of water pumped into our sea turtle tanks and all our tours have been cancelled.

“I have no volunteers eitherbecause they can’t get past flooded causeways.

“It is just devastating when a huge storm like this hits.”

During yesterday’s storm, lakes at the rear of the ASR headquarters that act as homes for rescued seabirds were flooded, while trees that shelter other wildlife swayed dangerously on the verge of snapping during the gale force winds.

Chaos on slippery causeway

THREE cars were swept off a flooded causeway at Uralba, yesterday morning, but the drivers managed to save themselves bef-ore emergency services arrived.

Emergency services were called to the Lovegrove Lane incident about 7.45am, but had trouble accessing the distressed victims due to flooded roads, a NSW Fire Service spokesperson said.

“We were called to an incident with persons trapped and it isunderstood there were three cars involved,” the spokesperson said.

“The fire unit couldn't get through because of floodwaters, so they tried another road but were met with floodwaters again.

“All the persons managed to get themselves out and our job was called off by police by not having a job any more.”

Uralba, located between Ballina and Alstonville, was one of many communities surrounded by floodwaters early yesterday, after Ballina received 170mm of rain in the 24 hours up until 9am yesterday.

Richmond-Tweed SES flood co-ordinator John Brown said the Uralba rescue was called off when the people were known to be ‘safe and sound'.

The Ballina SES made two flood rescues yesterday.

Causeways around the region flooded after yesterday's deluge.

Emergency services personnel have again emphasised how dangerous it is to attempt to drive across flooded low-level crossings

Earlier this year, Ballina man Kevin Richards, 74, drowned while trying to cross a flooded causeway near Ellangowan in his ute.

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