Dangerous rains have again forced families from their homes as a major river surge floods swampy coastal areas for the second time in weeks and heavy rains cause flooding in far western New South Wales.
Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg said Tuesday morning residents were suffering from flood fatigue.
“Obviously everyone is exhausted. We’ve had a month of cleaning up,” Mr Krieg told the ABC.
Rainfall totals of nearly 150mm in six hours led to flooding in the Northern Rivers region, with several evacuation orders issued in the flooded regional center of Lismore on Tuesday, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Further inland, major flooding occurs at Angledool, as floodwaters from Queensland have raised the level of the River Narran.
Further flash flooding that could turn deadly is predicted for Northern Rivers, the Central North Coast and the Northern Plateaus on Tuesday evening.
Rainfall could intensify to six-hour totals of between 200mm and 300mm, with Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Tenterfield and Dorrigo among the affected areas.
Seven evacuation orders were issued overnight, including for Tumbulgum and surrounding areas in the Tweed Shire, lower parts of Billinudgel, Mullumbimby and Kyogle in the Northern Rivers, North Lismore and areas of South Lismore, East Lismore , Lismore CBD Basin and Girards Hill.
Rainfall totals of nearly 150mm in six hours were recorded across northern rivers on Monday, including 149mm at Burringbar, 147mm at Murwillumbah, 147mm at Mullumbimby and 134mm at Tumblegum.
Dangerous waves will hit the Byron coast on Tuesday, with rough seas stretching out to Coffs Harbor and the Macquarie and Hunter coast on Wednesday.
The thunderstorms are caused by a low pressure system located off the NSW coast which will bring showers over the next few days as far south as Sydney, said BOM’s Jonathan How.
As the system moves south, it will become windy on the state’s east coast, becoming strongest on Friday with the potential to bring down trees and power lines, he said. .
“Luckily though, this rain event won’t last as long as the previous rain event, so we will see conditions really improve towards the end of the week,” Mr How said.
The La Nina weather pattern is flooding the east coast of Australia for the second consecutive year.
Dr Nina Ridder from the UNSW Center for Climate Change Research said the phenomenon would dissipate by autumn, but similar events are likely to bring more extreme rainfall to Australia in years to come.
“We are definitely seeing a change in global weather patterns because of climate change,” she told AAP.