More Evacuations in NS Wales

Evacuations are continuing in northern New South Wales, with the Clarence River rising faster than predicted.

The river has already reached the 7.3 metre peak which had been expected at 9:00am (AEDT), and is now heading for a 7.6 metre peak.

The State Member, Steve Cansdell, says the city of Grafton should be saved by its levee of 8.2 metres.

Mr Cansdell says outlying settlements are not faring so well.

“Grafton City looks safe even though the river is rising all the time but small villages own stream – we’ve got Ulmara, Cowper and Brushgrove – will be issued with evacuation orders very shortly,” he said.

“The fate of Maclean, which is 40km downstream from Grafton, that will be considered in the next couple of hours when they get better idea of the height of the river.”

An evacuation warning was issued to about 2000 residents of the Clarence Valley early this morning.

Further west, rising levels in the Macintyre River will see the the evacuation of the entire community of Boggabilla, which has a population of 650, and Toomelah, which has a population of 200.

The river is expected to peak at 12.4 metres, which will leave Boggabilla and Toomelah streets inundated this afternoon.

The villages of Bonalbo, Ewingar, Upper Thora and Darkwood remained isolated by floodwaters overnight. Yamba and Iluka are also expected to become isolated today.

The flood situation in the Bellinger Valley, on the mid-north coast, is improving.

A flood watch remains in place for minor flooding of the Bellinger and Nambucca rivers.

Travel warning

Motorists intending to use the Pacific or New England Highways to travel through northern New South Wales have been advised to cancel their trip.

Flooding has closed the Pacific highway from Halfway Creek in the south to Maclean in the north.

The New England Highway is closed north of the Queensland border, and the Orara Way between Grafton and Coffs Harbour is also closed in both directions.

The Bruxner Highway remains closed between Grafton and Glen Innes, and the Summerland way has been closed overnight from Grevillia to the Queensland border.

In western NSW, the Kamilaroi Highway is closed between Bourke and Brewarrina.

Premier visits

The New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally is making her second trip in seven days to the north of the state to inspect the worsening flood situation.

She intends to visit Grafton today, after travelling to inland Goodooga last week.

Ms Keneally says she wants to inspect the damage and ensure flood response efforts are adequate.

Flooding across the state in the past month has seen a total of 59 Local Government Areas receive natural disaster declarations.

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