Winter flood could be on the cards this year
A SEARCH of The Northern Star archives for historic flood photos will mostly evoke steamy summer and autumn. You can almost smell it.
But despite the shirtless young men in the wellknown February 1954 floods or the thongs and stubbies which feature in February 1974 flood photos, the Northern Rivers is not immune to winter floods – and this year may be a case in point.
THE Northern Rivers can expect above average rainfall and temperatures coming into winter as El Nino’s effects come to an end.
The Bureau of Meteorology announced in its May-July outlook there was also a 50% chance La Nina will form this year, increasing the likelihood of floods.
“If we do end up in a La Nina in 2016 it will increase our risk of widespread flooding,” BOM senior climatologist Agata Imielska said.
SES Northern Rivers regional controller Wayne Pettit reminded local people that floods happen year-round and winter events come with increased risks.
“In winter you have the added concern that the water is cold and there is a greater risk of hypothermia for those that enter flood waters. That message to not enter flood waters is key,” he said.
People’s preparedness plans should factor in the shorter days in winter, he added.
The most memorable winter flood in recent years was the June 2005 Lismore flood, when the city waited in anticipation as water crept dangerously close to topping the levee bank, which was only completed in May that year.
The level of the Wilsons River peaked in Lismore at 10.2m – a fraction below the 10.95m of the $20 million levee wall, built along the riverbank to protect the town centre from inundation.
Thousands of people were warned to evacuate their homes and businesses during the winter event.