Intense low unleashes flooding across the coast

8PM: THE State Emergency Service is monitoring the flow of floodwaters through North Coast creeks and rivers as the largest tide of the year rises tonight.

Since lunchtime the east coast low has dumped 80mm to 100mm of rain across the Coffs Coast.

Heavy seas and a 1.96-metre high tide at 9pm could stop the flow of water out of swollen river and creek catchments.

However, rainfall has eased in the lead-up to high-tide with the weather system moving over the northern rivers.

Minor to moderate flooding is expected across the Nambucca, Bellinger and Kalang river catchments.

"You can expect conditions like that to crawl further north to places like the coastal parts of the northern rivers later tonight and then compounded with the highest tides of the year," Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Mohammed Nabi said. 

The bureau has warned abnormally high tides could cause sea water flooding in low lying areas, while the heavy surf could create coastal erosion, particularly for the south-facing beaches.

Some 5,000 customers of Essential Energy are without power on the North Coast with crews working to restore electricity. 

The State Emergency Service said volunteers crews are dealing with flood-threatened homes and leaking roofs. 

"We're roughly receiving about 20 jobs per hour," SES spokeswoman Terri Langendam said. 

6PM: AN east coast low is currently centred over the Coffs Coast and Clarence Valley of northern New South Wales with torrential rain swelling river and creek catchments. 

State Emergency Service crews have this evening responded to more than 30 jobs in Coffs Harbour alone involving fallen trees and leaking roofs.  

The Bureau of Meteorology reports that Coffs Harbour has received 60.8mm over the past four hours, Port Macquarie  36mm and Grafton 8mm since 9am.   

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster, Gabrielle Woodhouse said current rainfall predictions on their website are in line with the latest weather patterns.

 "We are still expecting rainfall to travel through that area for the next several hours so I think that we are well on track for what we have online," Ms Woodhouse said.

"The heavy rainfall is particularly of concern around those higher parts of the mid north coast and those southern parts of the Northern Rivers,"

"Some of those rainfall totals further north (up around Queensland) are to do with some thunderstorm activity,

"On the southern side of that low we can still expect thunderstorms to continue and that is where you'll see those higher totals."

The low pressure system which formed off the coast of Coffs Harbour this morning is expected to move northwards, according to Ms Woodhouse.

"It will slowly go up and impact the tweed and Coolangatta region but then the low is expected to weaken and move away reasonably quickly," she said.

"The rainfall we are expecting mostly today and into this evening and going into tomorrow morning it will start to ease."

Ms Woodhouse said tides along the Mid North Coast may also exceed the 1.9m prediction with similar estimates for the north coast near the Queensland border.   

The East Coast Low centred over the Coffs Coast on Wednesday night at 5.30pm.
The East Coast Low centred over the Coffs Coast on Wednesday night at 5.30pm.

2PM: A FORMING east coast low is creating the likelihood of flooded creeks and rivers on the New South Wales' north coast.  

The Bureau of Meteorology has this afternoon issued minor flood warnings for the Bellinger, Nambucca, Kalang and Hastings rivers between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Six other north coast river and creek catchments have also been placed on flood watch.

The State Emergency Service has begun sandbagging low lying homes and businesses, as there are fears abnormally high tides, 1.9-metres tonight at 9pm, torrential rain and large seas may lead to estuarine and riverine flooding.

"This weather system is carrying some very heavy rainfall," SES spokesman Bill Roffey said.

"This is the third low this year following similar weather systems in June and February.

"SES units are operational in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Urunga and Nambucca Heads. 

"Strong winds and heavy localised falls are already seeing emergency call-outs for fallen trees. 

"Greater than average June to December rainfall is expected right across New South Wales," he said. 

The bureau has forecast falls up to 100m on the North Coast with the weather system anticipated to cause the threat of flooding in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Grafton, Nambucca Heads, Port Macquarie and Taree. 

"The developing low pressure system off the northern New South Wales coast will move slowly northwards, before moving east over the Tasman Sea tomorrow," the bureau's Jake Phillips said.

The flood watches mean people living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop.

The bureau said flood warnings will be issued if minor flood levels are expected to be exceeded.

Across New South Wales about 70% of flood watches are followed by flooding.

The synoptic charts are showing the forming East Coast Low.
The synoptic charts are showing the forming East Coast Low. Weatherzone

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