Waves wash over roads, lap at houses as storm cell moves south

“We’re getting quite a lot of this now,” she said. “This is climate change. We’re dealing with some pretty severe surf conditions so we will be making sure we build good and strong walls.”

The Bureau of Meteorology issued gale warnings for coastal areas of Sydney, the Macquarie, Hunter, Illawarra, Batemans Bay and Eden. Winds of 60km/h were predicted from Kurnell near the airport to Narooma on the South Coast, and heavy surf warnings for more than 500 kilometers of coastline from Newcastle to Eden.

Heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding is predicted for parts of the South Coast and for the Snowy Mountains on Sunday morning, by which time the clouds are expected to part further north. The lower NSW South Coast was put on flood watch.

As the floodwaters receded in the north, a congo line of State Emergency Service and Country Fire Authority volunteers from Victoria made their way up the coast to help with the clean-up, the scale of which can only be appreciated once the water levels drop.

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People staying in emergency accommodation in hotels and caravan parks in Byron Bay were informed that they would need to move out over the Easter holidays to make way for holiday-makers who had booked up to two years in advance. Around 3.5 per cent of the 1500 people who had been provided accommodation by the government will be moved to Coolangatta, Grafton or Brisbane for the duration of the holidays.

Department of Communities and Justice Deputy Secretary Paul Vevers apologized to those affected.

“We are doing everything we can to minimize distress to those who are displaced from the floods and assisting them to rebuild their lives,” Mr Vevers said.

“We do not want to leave people without accommodation and our focus will always be on trying to accommodate people as close to their communities as possible.”

The government urged holiday-makers to travel responsibly through Northern NSW over Easter, including checking road closures, confirming their accommodation, spending at local businesses and refraining from flood tourism.

Flood warnings remained in place for parts of the state, including from Bega to the Victorian border in the state’s south-east, and for Lismore’s Wilsons River. Flood warnings continue for the Clarence, Hastings, Bellinger and Macleay rivers.

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