SES warns on Macleay floods

JUST a yearago, the Macleay was enjoying the lull between two of the biggest rain events of recent times – tropical cyclone Oswald, which swept down from the north in the closing days of January, and an un-named but equally ex-treme weather system less than four weeks later hosed the area with hundreds of millimetres of rain.
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The view of SWR Road from the Kempsey bypass bridge in February 2013.

Evacuations, road closures and emergency call-outs were making the news up and down the Valley, with the Macleay River peaking at 7.1m at the Kempsey traffic bridge – which was still well below the 1949 record of 8.42m.

Twelve months on, things couldn’t be more different, with Kempsey currently in near-drought, despite the respite of the past few days rainfall, and the shire council last week announcing water restrictions.

During the two floods the NSW SES responded to over 354 requests for assistance and conducted a number of critical flood rescues in the Macleay area.

SES members from Kempsey, South West Rocks and Gladstone provided 4240 volunteer hours of work during the two early 2013 flood emergencies.

One year on and the SES is encouraging those businesses and residents in flood-risk areas to stay prepared.

SES controller for the Mid North Coast, Stephen Hart, said it was important people in flood-risk areas were aware of the consequences of flooding.

“By having an understanding of the potential impacts of river heights on their property and having a written flood plan in place, with river height triggers for implementing actions, and maintaining a home emergency kit, you can be prepared for a flood emergency,” Mr Hart said.

Since last year’s floods the SES has been working with businesses in the coastal settlements of Hat Head, South West Rocks and Crescent Head to refine strategies for getting food and other essential supplies and services into the three communities when the next big rain comes.

New SES headquarters in Gladstone

The organisation has also been working with the shire council on the construction of a new headquarters for its Glad-stone unit, which will contain boat and vehicle storage areas, office space, an operations room, a training room and a laundry.

For more information on flood safety go to the SES FloodSafe website www.floodsafe爱杭州同城论坛m.au, and for emergency assistance in floods and storms call the NSW SES on 132 500.

Anyone wanting information on how to become an SES volunteer should phone 1800 201000 for an information pack.

What road? Glenrock Drain burst it banks in the 2013 floods, closing the Highway between Kempsey and Frederickton, and leaving at least one car under water