News, weather warning

Heavy rain drenches the Illawarra, as authorities warn residents to stay at home

THE wet weather will continue over the weekend with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting significant rainfall during the next seven days.

The Bureau warn that the heavy rainfall can lead to flash flooding in low lying areas of the region, and advise residents to ensure they are prepared.

Wollongong State Emergency Service (SES) advises that a severe weather warning is current for heavy rainfall, damaging winds and damaging surf for the Illawarra region.

“We are asking northern Illawarra residents to stay inside at home if possible and to avoid all unnecessary travel today,” the spokesperson said.

A limited number of sandbags are available for residents to prepare their property at the Northern Council Depot (177C Princes Highway, entrance near the ‘Welcome to Bulli’ pedestrian bridge). The sandbags are available until they run out, on a first come first served basis. Residents are advised to call 132 500 before attending.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the region’s location between the steep mountain escarpment and the sea means that flash flooding can occur with significant rainfall.

“If you live in an area prone to flooding, make sure you’re prepared before flood water arrives,” he said.

“The best way to stay up to date with the latest flooding information is to follow NSW SES page on Facebook for information.

“Never drive, walk, ride through, play or swim in floodwater. That includes staying away from stormwater drains, creeks and other waterways.”

With the forecasted rainfall this week, Council is advising residents to stay safe and follow the NSW SES Facebook page for updates and information.

The NSW State Emergency Services website also has important information about what to do before, during and after a flood.

“We know flash flooding often occurs in heavy rain and that a flood can peak in less than two hours after it starts raining,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Storms and flooding are often unpredictable and very dangerous as conditions can change without warning. It’s never a good idea to enter floodwater no matter how confident you may feel.”

We know that Wollongong is prone to flooding. That’s why Council has an extensive stormwater and flood risk program which includes ‘debris control structures’ to decrease the risk of stormwater blockage, and the purchase of properties with a very high risk of flooding.

Council also works with the SES and other organisations, providing information on local flood risk. Our crews are on standby to work with the SES and ensure safety in the event of any road closures.

For more information on floods and stormwater please visit Council’s website.

If you do need to travel around the area:

* Plan your trip.

* Check www.livetraffic.com for current road closures.

* Be on the lookout for flood water and never drive, cycle or walk into it. If it’s flooded, forget it.

* Be aware that flash floods may cause roads to close without warning, until water recedes. This may impact your ability to get back home.

* If you are trapped by flood water, call 000 for flood rescue and get yourself into the highest position possible.

* SES 132 500


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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