Evacuation orders issued for Sussex Inlet, St Georges Basin as wet weather continues across Illawarra and South Coast

Flooding on Swamp Road, Jamberoo, on Tuesday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
Flooding on Swamp Road, Jamberoo, on Tuesday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

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4.58pm: Oops! This is what can happen when a news crew is busy covering the news. Thanks for sharing Storm Spotters Australia.

4.15pm: NSW Fire and Rescue have shared foortage of swift water rescues being carried out on the South Coast. A good reminder to say Thank You to our emergency services.

4.08pm: Moderate to major flood warning issued for St Georges Basin.

NSW SES advises that the lake level in St Georges Basin peaked around 1.78 metres and was steady at 3:30pm Wednesday with moderate to major flooding.

Moderate flooding continues at Sussex Inlet where the water level was 1.37 metres and rising at 3:30pm this afternoon.

A flood peak is expected late this afternoon coinciding with the high tide.

At Sussex Inlet the river height is expected to peak at 1.5 metres around 5pm Wednesday afternoon with moderate flooding coinciding with the high tide.

3:51pm: KIAMA: Kiama Council has issued a storm water health and safety warning.

Due to overflowing local sewer systems at Black Beach and at Kendalls Beach residents that they should avoid entering all local beaches and crossing over all areas where there is water including flooded parks.

Excessive storm water has entered the sewer system at both locations causing the system to overflow.

Sydney Water is undertaking all remediation work at Black Beach and residents should contact Sydney Water on 13 20 90 should they have any enquiries.

Council is managing the situation at Kendalls Beach Holiday Park in conjunction with Sydney Water.

Residents are advised there is a risk of contamination and general health dangers associated with raw sewage.

The EPA has been notified and both Sydney Water and Council are working to ensure the public’s safety is maintained.

Residents should be aware that due to the heavy rain, the large volumes of water runoff from land into creeks and streams may also mean that debris has subsequently entered into beaches and other public waterways. 

Stranded cattle surrounded by flood water. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Stranded cattle surrounded by flood water. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

3.39pm: NSW SES crews are currently undertaking a flood rescue for livestock stranded in flood waters. 

The SES were called to Kiama Downs around 3:30pm Wednesday to rescue five horses and 20 cattle needing assistance at a property on Thornett Way.

2.58pm: Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Joanna Gash has confirmed the Shoalhaven River was opened to the ocean at Shoalhaven Heads today during low tide.  

“In great news for the Shoalhaven Heads community the river has been opened to the ocean which should see the water levels starting to drop in these areas,” Cr Gash said.

Shoalhaven River Bridge will remain open.

Horses search for higher ground amid flood water. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Horses search for higher ground amid flood water. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

2.26pm: FLOOD WARNING: A moderate to major flood warning has been issued by the NSW SES for St Georges Basin.

The lake level at St Georges Basin peaked around 1.79 metres at 11:30am this morning with moderate to major flooding.

Moderate flooding continues at Sussex Inlet where the water level was 1.3 metres and steady at 11:30am this morning.

A second and higher peak is expected this afternoon coinciding with the high tide.

At Sussex Inlet the river height is expected to peak at 1.5 metres around 5pm this afternoon coinciding with the high tide. 

2.23pm: NSW SES has warned that moderate flooding on the Shoalhaven River may impact other areas including:

  • 20 properties in the area between Bomaderry and Broughton Creek are being monitored for isolation.
  • Further rain is falling and the there is uncertainty over how fast the rivers will rise. However rainfall is expected to ease throughout tomorrow.
  • It is likely that Bolong Road between Shoalhaven Heads and Nowra will become impassable.
  • Grady’s Caravan Park and Coolendel Caravan Park may be isolated as Burrier Road is cut by floodwaters.
  • Possible flooding in Greenwell Point as a result of ocean and tide impacts in this area.

Current river levels can be found at www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/

You can find more information on the weather in the Shoalhaven area from the Bureau website www.bom.gov.au, or by phoning 1300 659 218. 

People needing help with storm damage or with flooding can contact the NSW SES on 132 500 or www.ses.nsw.gov.au

Wayne Kennedy's tractor is submerged on his 16 acre property at Hay Ave as the Shoalhaven River continues to rise at Shoalhaven Heads. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wayne Kennedy's tractor is submerged on his 16 acre property at Hay Ave as the Shoalhaven River continues to rise at Shoalhaven Heads. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

2.24pm: The Illawarra Hwy has reopened in both directions at Macquarie Pass after an earlier closure due to flooding.

Meanwhile the Illawarra Hwy remains closed in both directions between Croome Lane and Taylor Road at Albion Park.

Motorists are advised that Moss Vale Rd at Barrengarry Mountain will be closed to all motorists other than local residents from 6pm tonight, due to a landslip.The closure will be in place until further notice.

Before 6pm tonight, all light vehicles not exceeding 4.5 tonnes can use Moss Vale Rd at Barrengarry Mountain under alternating traffic conditions.

For the latest traffic information visit www.livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

Phil Guy walks through water on Hay Avenue where he lives that runs parallel to the rising Shoalhaven River at Shoalhaven Heads. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Phil Guy walks through water on Hay Avenue where he lives that runs parallel to the rising Shoalhaven River at Shoalhaven Heads. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

2.04pm: NSW SES has issued a moderate flood warning for the Shoalhaven River after the BOM predicted that flooding will peak near 4.0 metres at the Nowra Bridge gauge at around 3pm on Wednesday, and flooding will reach 3.6 metres at the Terara guage around 4pm. 

Low-lying areas and some roads are in the area are already flooded. If the predicted heights are reached low lying areas of Shoalhaven Heads may be further inundated.

Residents in these areas should be prepared for possible evacuations. Some residents have already evacuated.

An evacuation centre has been established at the Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club. The previous evacuation centre at the Shoalhaven Heads Community Centre has closed.

If you require assistance with evacuations, call the NSW SES on 132 500.

1.55pm: The Illawarra Highway is now open between Robertson and Tullimbar after it was closed due to flooding. Motorists are advised to continue exercising caution. 

1.35pm: Just to add to the workload of emergency services, Fire and Rescue NSW crews have responded to a substation fire in Nowra.

1.20pm: Jamberoo Mountain Road has reopened after an earlier closure between Jamberoo and the Illawarra Highway. 

1pm: About 60 students are being taken by bus from the Berry Sport and Recreation Centre. 

The students, understood to be from the far South Coast, were already scheduled to leave on Wednesday, a spokesman from the NSW Office of Sport and Recreation said. 

The  spokesman said the front of the centre, on Coolangatta Road, is affected by flooding and the buses are accessing it from another entrance at the rear of the property. 

12.45pm: A spokesman from the NSW Office of Sport and Recreation has dismissed reports students are being evacuated from the Berry Sport and Recreation Centre. 

The spokesman said the group was scheduled to leave the centre on Wednesday and the manager had liaised with the State Emergency Service to ensure they were safe to do so.

It is unclear how many students are at the centre.

12.02pm: Check out these amazing shots taken from the Westpac Life Saver rescue helicopter in the Shoalhaven:

11.30am: Major diversions are in place for motorists trying to access the coast from the highlands, following in the closure of Macquarie Pass and Jamberoo Mountain Road. 

Light vehicles can use Moss Vale Road. Heavy vehicles should use the Hume Highway, Picton Road or the Princes Motorway.

Jamberoo Mountain Road is closed in both directions between Jamberoo and the Illawarra Highway. 

Meanwhile, the Illawarra Highway between Croome Lane and Taylor Road at Albion Park remains closed. 

The Transport Management Centre says the road will remain closed until further notice. Light vehicles can use Tongarra Road as an alternative route, however it isn't suitable for heavy vehicles. 

11.28am: Some amazing rainfall totals have been recorded during this weather event:

11.08am: FLOOD WARNING: A moderate to major Flood Warning has been issued for St Georges Basin.

About 20mm of rain has fallen across St Georges Basin between 6am and 9am this morning resulting in a slightly higher peak in the lake causing moderate to major flooding.

Moderate flooding is also occurring at Sussex Inlet where the water level was 1.26 metres and steady at 7am this morning.

A second peak and higher peak is expected this afternoon coinciding with the high tide.

At Island Point Road the river height is expected to peak near 1.85 metres around 3pm this afternoon causing moderate to major flooding.

At Sussex Inlet the river height is expected to peak at 1.5 metres around 5pm this afternoon coinciding with the high tide. 

11.05am: NSW SES is responding to reports four horses are stranded on a small island of land in Penrose with water rising. The SES is responding with river rescue en route.

10.55am: The BOM has issued a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall for the Illawrra and South Coast.

Rain is forecast for the Illawarra forecast district and parts of the South Coast. Rain will be heavy at times and could lead to FLASH FLOODING.

Locations which may be affected include Wollongong, Kiama, Nowra, Jervis Bay and Ulladulla.

Large and powerful surf conditions during the day are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock fishing.

The rain is expected to ease this afternoon. 

The low is expected to move slowly northeast away from the coast during Wednesday morning and weaken. 

IN THE MOOD FOR A SURF?

Surf's Up! Laura Banks posted this footage of some keen surfers at Black Beach, Kiama. 

10.38am: Transport Management  advises the following roads are currently affected by the weather: 

  • Gerringong - the Princes Highway southbound off-ramp to Fern Street is closed due to flooding. Motorists are advised to use Belinda Street instead
  • Berry - Princes Highway affected by flooding near Albert Street
  • Falls Creek - Princes Highway affected by flooding around 1km south of Jervis Bay Road
  • Bewong - Princes Highway affected by flooding; speed limit reduced to 40km/h
  • Burrawang - Illawarra Highway affected by flooding; speed limit reduced to 40km/h
  • Barrengarry Mountain - Moss Vale Road affected by a landslide; alternating traffic conditions in place
  • Cambewarra - Moss Vale Road affected by minor landslips and debris on the road between Cambewarra and Beaumont

Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions, follow the direction of emergency services and traffic crews on site, and not attempt to drive through floodwaters.

For the latest information on state roads, visit www.livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

10.17am: The Illawarra Highway remains closed in both directions at Macquarie Pass due to flooding.

Light vehicles can use Moss Vale Road however motorists will experience delays as crews are clearing debris after landslips.

Heavy vehicles can use the Hume Motorway, Picton Road and the M1 Princes Motorway.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Meanwhile - Tongarra Road has reopened westbound in Albion Park Rail, so the road is now open in both directions.

Motorists are advised to exercise extreme caution when driving in wet weather conditions.

Nowra Sailing Club at 10.20am Wednesday morning.

Nowra Sailing Club at 10.20am Wednesday morning.

10.07am: The NSW SES issued the all clear for Jerrara Dam at 10:00am after heavy rain eased in the Kiama area resulting in dam levels have falling.

Engineers from Kiama Council have assessed the dam along with the NSW SES and believe the threat of dam failure has reduced.

It is now safe to return to the lower areas of Mt Brandon Road, Jerrara Road and Jamberoo Road. People with access to transport can return to their properties now.

If you require assistance returning to your property, contact the NSW SES on 132 500.

9.55am: About 880 Endeavour Energy customers are without power in the Shoalhaven on Wednesday morning.

A spokeswoman for the company said large trees had fallen onto power lines near Lake Conjola. 

Customers in Bendalong, Burrill Lake, Lake Conjola, Manyana, Mollymook, Ulladulla, Yatte Yattah and Old Erowal Bay have been without power since about 8pm Tuesday.

9.50am: A MODERATE TO MAJOR FLOOD WARNING has been issued for the St Georges Basin:

An additional 20 millimetres of rain has fallen across St Georges Basin between 6am and 9am Wednesday. The Bureau of Meteorology says these falls will result in a slightly higher peak in the lake, causing moderate to major flooding.

Moderate flooding is occurring at Sussex Inlet where the water level was 1.26 metres and steady at 7am this morning. A second peak and higher peak is expected this afternoon coinciding with the high tide.

Predicted River heights/flows:

* Island Point Road - peak near 1.85 metres around 3pm this afternoon causing moderate to major flooding.

* Sussex Inlet - peak near 1.5 metres around 5pm this afternoon with moderate flooding coinciding with the high tide.

9.45am: Latest road closures from Kiama Municipal Council:

The following roads are CLOSED:

■ Swamp Road, Jamberoo

■ Mr Brandon Road, Jamberoo

■ Jamberoo Road (sections), Jamberoo

■ A landslip has occurred at Minnamurra bends. Council workers are cleaning up debris and traffic controllers are allowing only one lane of traffic throughout at a time. Delays should be expected.

9.15am: ROADS UPDATE

Tongarra Road has reopened eastbound between Croome Road and Terry Street at Albion Park Rail, however westbound lanes remain closed. 

Diversions are via the Princes Highway, East West Link, Ashburton Drive and Terry Street (Jamberoo Road). 

The Illawarra Highway remains closed between Croome Lane and Taylor Road at Albion Park. Tongarra Road is the alternative for light vehicles.

9am: Evacuation orders were issued for Sussex Inlet and parts of St Georges Basin on Tuesday night, as consistent torrential rain drenched the Illawarra and South Coast. 

Here's a recap of what happened on Tuesday night.

St Georges Basin

The Bureau of Meteorology has advised a moderate flood is expected in the St Georges Basin area about 10am on Wednesday.

The NSW State Emergency Service is directing residents in the following streets to evacuate.

It is expected that low lying areas of the following streets will be affected:

- Walmer Avenue

- Loralyn Avenue

- Island Point Road

Sussex Inlet

Moderate flooding was expected in the Sussex Inlet area at 5am on Wednesday. The NSW State Emergency Service directed residents in the following streets to evacuate on Tuesday night.

It is expected that low lying areas of the following streets will be affected:

- Wunda Avenue

- Fairview Crescent

- River Road

- Ellmoose Avenue

- Carter Crescent

FLOOD WARNINGS

St Georges Basin: Moderate flooding is occurring at Island Point Road where the lake level is peaking at 1.72 metres at 7am this morning.

Moderate flooding is also occurring at Sussex Inlet where the water level was 1.26 metres and steady at 7am Wednesday. A second peak and higher peak is expected Wednesday afternoon coinciding with the high tide.

Predicted River Heights/Flows: Sussex Inlet  - peak near 1.5 metres around 5pm Wednesday with moderate flooding coinciding with the high tide.

Moderate flood warning for the Shoalhaven River: Rain rates have eased on Wednesday morning, although some moderate falls are still persisting in the lower Shoalhaven Valley. The rain is expected to ease on Wednesday afternoon.

Predicted River Heights/Flows: Nowra -  peak near 3.8 metres around 3pm Wednesday with moderate flooding, Terara -  peak near 3.3 metres around 4pm Wednesday with moderate flooding.

The SES says flood levels have risen faster than first forecast early Wednesday morning. 

"At these heights, low-lying areas near the river and its tributaries will be flooded. Water is likely to spread over roads and farmlands downstream of Nowra and throughout the floodplain," the latest SES flood bulletin, issued at 8.55am, said.

At these heights,there is a high probability that the following will occur:

- From the current height up to the predicted heights, low lying areas of Shoalhaven Heads may require evacuation. These include houses at: Hay Avenue, Jerry Baily Rd and Wharf Rd and at Berry’s Bay.

- Residents in these areas should be prepared for possible evacuations. Some residents have already evacuated. An evacuation centre has been established at the Shoalhaven Heads Community Centre, 111 Shoalhaven Heads Road. Should you require assistance with evacuations, call the NSW SES on 132 500.

Other impacts include:

- 20 properties in the area between Bomaderry and Broughton Creek are being monitored for isolation.

- Further rain is falling and the there is uncertainty over how fast the rivers will rise. However rainfall is expected to ease throughout tomorrow.

- It is likely that Bolong Road between Shoalhaven Heads and Nowra will become impassable.

- Grady’s Caravan Park and Coolendel Caravan Park may be isolated as Burrier Road is cut by floodwaters.

- Possible flooding in Greenwell Point as a result of ocean and tide impacts in this area.

SEVERE WEATHER WARNING STILL CURRENT

A severe weather warning remains in place for the Illawarra and South Coast. 

"A small low pressure centre near Sydney coast is very slowly moving north, while a strong high pressure system southeast of the Bight extends a ridge across the southern Tasman Sea," the Bureau of Meteorology said.

"The low is expected to move away from the coast during Wednesday morning and weaken."

Rain, heavy at times which may lead to flash flooding, is forecast for the Illawarra and northern parts of the South Coast on Wednesday. Rain is expected to ease by Wednesday afternoon.

Very heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is forecast for parts of the Illawarra and South Coast forecast districts. Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

ROADS UPDATE

Various Illawarra roads remain affected by the continuing wet weather:

■  At Gerringong, the Princes Highway southbound off-ramp to Fern St is closed due to flooding, with motorists advised to use Belinda Street instead.

■  The Illawarra Highway remains closed between Croome Lane and Taylor Road at Albion Park. Tongarra Road is the alternative for light vehicles.

■ Tongarra Road is closed in both directions between Croome Road and Terry Street at Albion Park Rail. Diversions are via the Princes Highway, East West Link, Ashburton Drive and Terry Street (Jamberoo Road). 

Elsewhere, roads remain affected by flooding, fallen trees and landslips:

■ Burrawang - Illawarra Highway affected by flooding; speed limit reduced to 40km/h

■ Cambewarra - Moss Vale Road affected by minor landslips and debris on the road between Cambewarra and Beaumont

■ Falls Creek - Princes Highway affected by flooding around one kilometre south of Jervis Bay Rd

■ Berry - Princes Highway affected by flooding near Albert St and a large rock in the northbound lane near Tindalls Lane

■  Bewong - Princes Highway affected by flooding; speed limit reduced to 40km/h

TRAINS

Good service on the South Coast Line.

UNIVERSITY 

Due to flooding, the ​Shoalhaven UOW campus is CLOSED on Wednesday and the open night scheduled for 6pm has been postponed to a later date.

Access routes to and from the campus have been affected by localised flooding and road closures, with more rain and disruption expected today.

"The University of Wollongong wants to discourage any unnecessary road travel by Shoalhaven Campus staff and students during this extraordinary weather event," Head of Shoalhaven Campus, Associate Professor Robbie Collins, said in a statement.

COASTAL CONDITIONS

Strong wind warning is current for the Illawarra, Batemans and Eden coasts on Wednesday. 

RADAR