Tweed residents urged to prepare as Cyclone Oma approaches
THE Tweed Shire Council has urged residents to plan ahead and use its new online emergency dashboard as Cyclone Oma approaches the North Coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a cyclone watch for coastal parts of south east Qld and northern NSW with gales developing.
The watch zone is between Bundaberg and Ballina.
BOM predicts a significant east to north-easterly swell over far northern NSW beaches, including the Tweed.
The increasing swell is also expected to combine with king tides.
Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, swimming and surfing.
All far north coast beaches are closed until further notice.
Council's General Manager Troy Green said one of the key lessons from the March 2017 flood was the need for an improved online solution to support the Tweed community during emergencies.
The Emergency Dashboard includes the current status for weather warnings, road closures, power outages, water and sewer interruptions, and Council services and facilities, along with links to many other useful resources to help with planning for an emergency and what to do after.
"The Emergency Dashboard provides up-to-date information, useful links and contacts in the event of an emergency. It is linked to our website and is available 24/7," Mr Green said.
"However it is important to note that unlike on the Gold Coast, Tweed Shire Council is not the main agency in an emergency - it's the SES on 132 500.
"If the rain does comes, we reiterate the SES advice to people to not drive, ride or walk through flood water.
"While we don't know how this weather system will play out, we're taking action to prepare and protect Council and the community's assets.
"If the worst doesn't happen, this is a valuable exercise in emergency preparedness.
"We're moving our fleet to higher ground, inspecting and preparing flood gates and levees, filling our treated water supply reservoirs and getting equipment ready to close beach access points should erosion cause big drop-offs.
"In terms of our water supply, we're prepared for potential salt water inundation at the Bray Park Weir with blocks and sand bags in place to provide additional protection against abnormally high tides," he said.
Residents are reminded that ABC North Coast radio is the emergency broadcaster.
A SEVERE weather warning has been issued for the Tweed as Tropical Cyclone Oma moves towards the Northern Rivers.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, at 5am this morning the cyclone was in the eastern Coral Sea approximately 960 kilometres northeast of Brisbane.
Oma is forecast to move to the southwest over the next few days, and will generate a significant east to northeasterly swell over far northern New South Wales beaches.
The increasing swell is also expected to combine with abnomrally high tides.
Water levels at high tide on Friday and Saturday may exceed the highest tide of the year by around half a metre.
The approach of Tropical Cyclone Oma may see additional sea level rises on Saturday.
Hazardous surf conditions are also forecast over the northern New South Wales coast today and on Friday, extending to central parts of the coast over the weekend.
Locations which may be affected include Tweed Heads, Hastings Point, Byron Bay, Ballina, Yamba and Brunswick Heads.
Meanwhile, the Tweed Byron Police District has reminded members of the community of the dangers associated with entering flooded areas and roadways in the lead up to the weekend.
Police urged motorists not to drive into flooded roadways or attempt to traverse flooded areas on foot, or for recreational swimming.
"The risk is too great and you not only put your life at risk but also that of potential rescuers," a spokesperson said.
If you are in need of emergency assistance the SES may be contacted by calling 132500. If the matter is life threatening and you need urgent assistance call triple zero (000).
For more weather information check www.bom.gov.au.
For SES information go to www.ses.nsw.gov.au/regions/richmond-tweed/help or follow their Facebook page NSW SES Richmond Tweed Region
In an emergency call the SES on 132 500.