FLOOD LEVEE BREAKS: Lismore residents ordered to evacuate immediately

Northern New South Wales is the latest place to feel the force of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie.

As many as 6,000 residents in the northern part of the state have been ordered to evacuate their homes as heavy rains cause floodwaters to rapidly rise.

Here’s footage taken by one local resident, Alex Clarke, as floodwaters raced into the city this morning.

Around 20,000 people in total are estimated to be affected.

As a result, the flood levee in Lismore was compromised this morning.

Sirens were activated within the town’s CBD around 4am. Residents were ordered to evacuate immediately.

It is the first time in 12 years this alert has been sounded.

As water from the Wilsons River, which passes through the city, continues to rise the NSW SES fears that the structural integrity of the 10.6 metre high levee may not hold.

Up to three metres water is expected to flow through the CBD on Friday.

This is a photo taken from a home in Lismore about 7am AEDT.

Nick Reese/ Facebook

Rotorwing Helicopter Services has taken some incredible shot of the town from the sky this morning.

Here are some of the photos it posted to its Facebook page.

And this video.

77 schools on the far north coast of NSW will be closed today as a result of the flooding.

See which schools are closed, and updates here.

Here’s the latest from mayor of Lismore, Isaac Smith.

Lismore city council has warned people about going moving around the city in the current conditions, saying: “Lots of people driving around downtown to see the floodwaters. Please, if you don’t need to be in the CBD stay home and keep the roads clear.”

Rescue crews are assisting residents in the area.

Lismore is a university town and home to around 45,000 residents. It sits on a floodplain at the base of the World Heritage-listed Nightcap National Park rainforest mountains, 50km west of the coastal tourism town Byron Bay.

Following extensive flooding through the CBD in 2001, the council pushed to build a 1-in-10 year flood levee to protect the business district beside the river from “nuisance” floods, 10.6 metres above the normal river level. This is the first time water has overtopped the levee since its completion in 2005. Waters have risen to 11.47m this morning.

The Bureau of Meterology has severe weather warnings in place for the Northern Rivers region, and parts of the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Metropolitan, North West Slopes and Plains and Northern Tablelands.

It has issued flood warnings for the Tweed, Wilsons, Orara, Upper Macintyre, Bogan, Bellinger, Brunswick rivers, and Marshalls creek.

As of 10am AEDT flood evacuations have been ordered for the Gold Coast.

Residents on the northern Gold Coast have been ordered to evacuate as floodwaters from the Albert and Logan Rivers approach the region.

Those living near the suburbs of Stapylton and Jacobs Well have been advised to evacuate and seek higher ground.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, destructive wind gusts and dangerous surf conditions are expected in the area. As well as abnormally high tides along region’s beaches.

More to come.

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