LARGE LAKE: The site for the future Evans Head Retirement Village next to the aerodrome resembles a large lake.
LARGE LAKE: The site for the future Evans Head Retirement Village next to the aerodrome resembles a large lake. Samantha Elley

In the eye of the storms

BILL and Gail Ferrier, of Woodburn, have been kept busy in the past three months, with each storm that has come through battering their home.

"We were in Evans Head when the Woodburn storm hit last November," Gail said.

"When we got home we noticed all the branches on the road.

"Bill said, 'Look we've lost a gutter' and I said 'Don't worry about the gutter, the roof's gone'."

Their roof had landed in their neighbour's yard.

The effects of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald saw them re-tarping their roof, and last week's east coast low felt like a bad joke.

"I got up to the skylight to secure the tarp, even had a stranger going past who asked if I wanted a hand," Bill said.

"We had just got it secured and next thing the tarp split."

The SES came and helped the couple to secure the house from more rain.

"We are very independent people - we don't like to ask for help," Bill said.

Another group of people who needed help during the ungraded cyclone over the weekend were five young Japanese tourists in Bungawalbin.

The tourists were on their way to Sydney from the Gold Coast when they had to detour as the Pacific Highway was closed.

"They somehow diverted to our road and as they were driving in the rain on our dark road, they did not see that part of the road had become a lake," Bungawalbin resident Jimmy Malecki said.

"They drove into the water and luckily escaped as the car sank.

"Most of their belongings were still in the car."

Mr Malecki said they endured a night with leeches and mozzies before making it to a neighbouring home at first light.

"They were given blankets, food and cream to help with the multitude of bites," he said.

"Not long later they boarded an SES helicopter wearing my wardrobe."

For the most part, damage in the Lower Richmond was limited to fallen trees, blown annexes and requests for sandbags to stop some flooding.

Debris littered the streets of Evans Head, with trees down but not blocking roads.

"We had a timber pole snap off at the ground," Evans Head resident Natalie Chapman said. "It was hold- ing up a large shade sail."

Parents and children in the local schools huddled under cover after the final bell on Friday as a huge thunderstorm hit the Evans Head and Woodburn areas.

Rainfall

Rainfall for the week to 9am February 25 courtesy Bureau of Meteorology:

Evans Head - 110mm

New Italy - 301mm

Woodburn - 273mm



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