The biggest king tide in 15 years yesterday forced cars to drive through sections of Ballina’s Tamar Street flooded with seawater. Some, apparently not realising they were spraying their cars with salt water, laughed as they roared through the flood.
The biggest king tide in 15 years yesterday forced cars to drive through sections of Ballina’s Tamar Street flooded with seawater. Some, apparently not realising they were spraying their cars with salt water, laughed as they roared through the flood. DAVID NIELSEN

King tide floods Ballina street

A RECORD king tide failed to reach Jaimini’s makeshift ‘place of pilgrimage’ on Belongil Beach yesterday.

However, the Byron resident still had a message for humanity: Such high sea levels will be a normal occurrence in years to come.

“I was once a member of the State Emergency Services and I have seen worse,” Jaimini said.
“A house almost fell into the ocean.

“Climate change is quite real and many people are in denial.

“It’s real and we have to do something about it.”

The east coast of Australia yesterday experienced the biggest king tide it is likely to experience for the rest of the year. That meant high tides were 50cm higher than normal.

All beaches at Ballina were closed yesterday because of the dangerous surf conditions created by the big tide.

Northern NSW Lifeguard co-ordinator Stephen Leahy said there was some erosion of dunes from waves surging up beaches.

“People walking along the beaches have to be wary, as well as rock fishermen, because there will be larger than normal waves,” he said.

“There is a huge amount of water coming into shore that needs to return to the sea.

“So there will be flash rips forming which can potentially wash swimmers out to sea.

“We have king tides twice a year, but this tide is the highest king tide we’ve had in 15 years.”

CSIRO climate researcher Dr Kathy McInnes said the tides could be a regular occurrence by 2060 if sea levels continued to rise.

“This king tide is not caused by climate change, but it can help us picture what our coast-lines might look like in the future,” she said.

At Ballina, the big king tide forced seawater into drains and on to Tamar Street.

Russell Southwood, of Ballina, said he did not think rising sea levels would take as long as 50 years.
“I think in 15 years we will be in a lot of trouble,” he said.

“Then, I reckon, any storm surge that comes through would take out River and Tamar streets.
“And it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

“The Government sho-uld to be looking seriously at carbon trading.”

— With AAP


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