Spared Mother Nature's wrath

THE Northern Rivers escaped Mother Nature's wrath relatively unscathed yesterday, but its regional neighbours were not so lucky.

The Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its severe weather warning for the region early yesterday after many residents awoke from the long weekend's deluge to clear blue skies. The flood watch for the Brunswick, Wilson and Tweed Valleys was also lifted.

Motorists were delayed in the morning on the Pacific Highway at Cumbalum, where traffic was slowed because of flood water across the road.

Ross Lane at Lennox Head was also partially submerged, as was Boundary Rd at Marom Creek.

The Richmond-Tweed State Emergency Service said it had a relatively quiet time on Mondaynight.

It responded to a few calls from people with leaky rooves and the threat of water inundation.

“Things were pretty quiet, but we had a few units from Lismore, Woodburn, Mullumbimby and Ballina respond to jobs,” an SES spokesman said.

“They had to divert a bit of water from people's backyards.”

Evans Head and New Italy each received more than 60mm of rain in the 24 hours until 5pm yesterday.

Nashua and Bangalow had 30mm of rain in the same period.

While the Northern Rivers was relatively unscathed, the Mid-North Coast descended into near chaos as it bore the brunt of a mini-tornado, torrential rain and strong winds.

In what was described by locals as eerily similar to the water spout that struck Lennox Head a year ago, Red Rock, north of Coffs Harbour, was hit badly.

Power was cut, a number of houses were severely damaged and a chunk of the bowling club roof was ripped off by strong winds.

There was major flooding in the Nambucca area, with the Bellinger River reaching 5.88 metres at Thora. The Pacific Highway was closed to traffic 50km south of Grafton at Corindi and was expected to remain closed until at least midnight because of flash flooding and heavy rain.

Traffic was being diverted onto the New England Highway.

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority said it could add three hours to regular travel times and advised motorists to steer clear of the area if possible.

There was also flooding on the Pacific Highway north of Kempsey.

Southbound motorists travelling to Sydney should divert from the Pacific Highway at Grafton on to the Gwydir Highway and then onto the New England Highway.

The forecast for the Northern Rivers today is for isolated showers with a chance of thunderstorms. It is predicted to clear before a mostly sunny weekend.

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