Sydneysiders Jan Twomey and her children Eleanor, 14, and Alexander, 12, take advantage of a welcome break in the wet weather at Byron Bay yesterday to take in the beachfront markets.
Sydneysiders Jan Twomey and her children Eleanor, 14, and Alexander, 12, take advantage of a welcome break in the wet weather at Byron Bay yesterday to take in the beachfront markets. Kate O’Neill

Too busy to sook about big soaking

A RAINY summer day yesterday became a holiday ‘doze’ for Lismore folk watching the cricket on their new LCD big screens, while muddy holiday-makers in thongs squelched about Lennox, Ballina and Byron Bay.

Jan Twomey, of Sydney, who is spending a week in Byron Bay with her husband and two children, said she wasn’t fazed by the wet weather.

“We’ve been getting down to the beach between showers, plus the place we’ve been staying at has a pool, so the kids have been swimming in the rain,” she said.

When the rain clears, she and her children, Alexander and Eleanor, also spent time perusing the craft market on the Byron Bay beachfront.

The term ‘drying out’ has taken on new meaning for soggy campers seeking shelter in local cinemas and shopping centres.

Ballina Fair Cinemas proprietor Paul McGrath said the combination of quality films and wet weather had seen a jump in audience numbers compared with last year.

“It’s been the busiest three days we have ever had,” he said. “People have been coming in from the van parks and campsites to dry out.”

Out and about on Lismore streets, some people have changed their plans because of the rain.

Marlee Clark, of Goonellabah, said she had been ‘lounging at home’ and spending more time with her boyfriend.

While most of NSW copped a drenching over the past five days, the Northern Rivers was spared the worst of it. Kyogle received the highest amount of rainfall in the region – 148mm between December 23 and 30.

During the same period Lismore received 59mm, Byron Bay 94mm, Casino 56mm and Ballina 53mm.

Some isolated flooding occurred in Hanging Rock Creek at Barkers Vale, where residents in Barnes Road were flooded in for 12 hours.

According to Bureau of Meteorology hydrologist Alex Clifton, most of the rain fell in the north-west of NSW, where there were few rain gauges to record official statistics.

One property at Mundiwa, about 200km north-east of Bourke, recorded more than 450mm of rainfall over a 48 to 72-hour period.

Bureau forecaster Andrew Haigh said the heavy rainfall was caused when a low pressure system, the end of Cyclone Laurence, joined forces with a trough in the upper layers of the atmosphere.

“The affect amplified the rainfall,” Mr Haigh said.

Rainfall in central NSW has led to minor flooding of the Castlereagh, Macintyre and Bogan rivers, minor to moderate flooding of the Darling River, near Bourke, and moderate to major flooding of the Culgoa and Bokhara rivers.

There is a 90 per cent chance of at least 1mm of rain on the Northern Rivers on New Year’s Eve, and a 25pc chance of 5mm of rain.

For more local weather, see our weather page.



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