A coastal town in NSW is being evacuated because the dam nearby looks set to burst

Photo: NSW SES Kiama Unit /Facebook.

An emergency warning to evacuate, issued for residents living near Jerrara Dam on the New South Wales south coast this morning, has been downgraded to homes in the immediate downstream area this afternoon.

Only homes in the immediate downstream area – including Jerrara Road and Jamberoo Road – now need to evacuate.

The dam, which is in the process of being decommissioned, has shown signs of the wall failing due to heavy rainfall in the area, according to the SES.

“NSW SES advises residents living downstream of the dam need to take action to protect themselves and their properties and evacuate immediately,” it reports.

Failure of the dam would result in extremely dangerous flooding to areas including Mount Brandon Road, Jerrara Road and Jamberoo Road.

Google Earth image of Jerrara Dam.

An SES spokesperson has said: “The dam is currently being decommissioned and we are noticing the water is spilling over the top and is too risky, we are asking residents to evacuate immediately.”

Here’s the evacuation order from the SES.

EVACUATION ORDER FOR JERRARA DAM

The dam failure warning system for Jerrara Dam has issued a Red Alert, for areas downstream of the dam. This alert means dam failure is imminent. Failure of the dam will result in extremely dangerous flooding of the following areas: Mt Brandon Road, Jerrara Road and Jamberoo Road.

The NSW State Emergency Service directs residents within these areas to evacuate. Do not delay your evacuation. Roads may be congested or closed. You could become trapped and need to be rescued. Remaining in flooded areas is dangerous and may place your life at risk. Wherever possible, people should go and stay with family or friends, or make other accommodation arrangements. For people who need assistance.

For people who need assistance with evacuation call the NSW SES on 132 500

The SES has also suggest should you evacuate;

  • Take your important documents, mementos and photos.
  • Take your spare clothing, medicines and personal hygiene supplies.
  • If you are going to the evacuation centre, take blankets/sleeping bags, pillows and sleeping mats.
  • If possible, check to see if your neighbours need help.
  • Turn off the electricity and gas.
  • Never drive ride or walk through floodwater.
  • Continue to listen to a local radio station for updates.
  • Kiama is already experiencing severe flooding.

    NSW SES Kiama Unit has just posted these photos on Facebook.

    The Bureau of Meteorology reports that the region is expected to receive periods of heavy rain.

    Rain totals from 9am Monday to 4am Tuesday include 94mm in Kiama.

    A flood watch has now been issued for the Illawarra, South Coast and the St Georges Basin, while a moderate Flood Warning is in place for the Belubula River.

    The low pressure system moving across the area is expected to reach peak intensity later today, before gradually weakening during Wednesday.

    “The East Coast Low is expected to weaken considerably overnight Tuesday, with lighter rainfall expected on Wednesday,” said Bureau of Meteorology acting New South Wales regional director, Stephen Lellyett.

    “The heaviest rainfall is expected to be south of Sydney, however, this will depend on the movement of the East Coast Low, and of course we will continue to monitor this carefully,” he said.

    Here’s what people are saying on Twitter.

    According to the Illawarra Mercury, Kiama Council started work on the $700,000 decommissioning of the Jerrara Dam this year.

    The dam was transferred to the council’s ownership in 1975.

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