Temperatures dip as winds batter NSW coast

Finbar O'Mallon and Farid Farid |

Windy weather and high tides are forecast for NSW over the weekend after the state received record rainfall last month.

Five metre waves were recorded along Sydney’s coast on Friday, and winds over 102km/h in the upper Hunter.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued weather warnings for damaging winds affecting southern and central parts of the NSW, along with hazardous surf and abnormally high tides, as residents in the north try to rebuild once again as flood levels recede.

NSW Police on Thursday night found the body of a 55-year-old woman they believe is aged care nurse Anita Brakel, who went missing in floodwaters south of Lismore three days ago.

Adam Guise, a North Lismore resident and councillor, said the town won’t go back to the way it was after another bout of floods this week.

“I think people are just in shock. I’m exhausted. I don’t know where to begin,” he said

“There are too many people devastated and incapable, both financially and emotionally, to do this again.”

Residents from Lismore to the Lower Macleay in northern NSW are under evacuation orders even as floodwaters recede in other parts of the region.

The State Emergency Services received 550 calls for help and performed four rescues in the past 24 hours, warning the community on Friday that floodwaters still posed a big threat.

Major flooding is occurring at the already devastated small towns of Coraki, Bungawalbin and Woodburn, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

It also warned that flooding is possible along the state’s coastal catchments from Bega to the Victorian border this weekend.

Drenched areas could see flash flooding, with saturated soil increasing the risk of falling trees.

Victorian and South Australian SES teams are flying into flooded areas to help with rescue and recovery efforts.

In Lismore, the Rapid Relief Team charity was donating 30 truckloads of hay to farmers after flooded roads added hours to journeys.

“Very, very devastating to come through Lismore and see what they’ve been through,” charity director Lester Sharples said.

“To see it again a second time, it’s gut-wrenching, really. It’s important to get these farmers back online.”

South of Lismore, Clarence Valley Council mayor Ian Tiley said the towns of Maclean, Yamba and Iluka had “dodged a bullet” after floodwaters threatened it a second time.

But even then parts of the region were again underwater, and the repair bill from the floods in February is expected to balloon.

“We’ve got to go back to recovery mode again. We were in clean up mode. It’s pretty debilitating, people are obviously feeling very depressed,” Cr Tiley said.

With two low pressure systems colliding over the state’s southeast about 400km off Illawarra, the windy weather will mark the weekend before easing on Sunday.