The members of the NSW SES have proven their versatility again this storm season, dealing not only with the challenges of storm damage and flooding, but also the devastating impacts of tornados, responding to more than 17,100 storm and flood jobs.
The season began with a series of severe thunderstorms that brought damaging winds which unroofed homes and businesses and brought down trees. These winds mainly affected the coastal parts of the state including Sydney.
In January, the Severe Weather went from wind impacts to heavy rainfall. This led to nearly every coastal river system from the Queensland border down to Sydney experiencing some degree of flooding. Major flooding hit communities along the North Coast and Mid North Coast of New South Wales, resulting in over a dozen evacuations as rivers rose, and in some cases, levee systems were overtopped. Hardest hit were the communities around Grafton, Maclean and Kempsey.
The widespread flooding resulted in 139 flood rescues, with many people deliberately entering floodwater. An additional 22 rescues of animals were also carried out. The flooding also resulted in isolations to many communities along the North Coast and Mid North Coast for several weeks. The NSW SES conducted resupply operations delivering food and medical supplies to these affected communities and assisting with medical transport where needed.
Towards the end of the season the severe thunderstorm activity, escalated to what was sometimes referred to as “supercells”. In some cases these intense thunderstorm cells produced tornados. The associated violent winds caused extensive damage to properties and serious injuries to people. The communities affected by these three separate systems included Kiama and Gerringong on the south coast, the Sydney suburbs of Randwick and Chifley, and Mulwala, Corowa and Barooga on the NSW-Victorian border.
NSW SES Commissioner Murray Kear has praised the efforts of SES volunteers and other agencies for their response to these events.
“As with the previous three storm seasons, there wasn’t a part of our state that didn’t at one time or another require the help of the NSW SES. Once again our amazing volunteers displayed their generosity and community spirit in giving up time with their family and work to support these affected communities. They deserve our praise and thanks,” Commissioner Kear said.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the community minded employers that release their staff who are NSW SES volunteers to help with these important operations, ” he said.
“While the storm season runs from October to March , wild weather is a year-round possibility so it’s important for everyone to be prepared for severe weather,” he added..
The NSW SES now has two websites to ensure everyone can easily prepare for storms and flooding .
Check out NSW SES FloodSafe http://www.floodsafe.com.au/
and NSW SES StormSafe http://www.stormsafe.com.au/
Keep up to date on what’s happening at our Facebook site http://www.facebook.com/NSW.SES
For emergency help in a flood or storm call 132 500. Call 000 in a life threatening emergency.