23 May 2009

NSW evacuations continue

7:34 pm on 23 May 2009


More towns on the north coast of New South Wales are expected to be evacuated on Saturday, as flooding continues.

Thousands of people have already been told to leave their homes.

The ABC reports Kempsey, Grafton Smithtown, Gladstone and Jerseyville are the latest to be affected.

Floodwaters in Grafton peaked at around 3am (AEST) at 7.3 metres, slightly lower than expected.

The State Emergency Services says floodwaters in Kempsey are expected to reach 6.9 metres by midday, breaching a levee.

Residents of Yamba and Maclean, north of Grafton, could also be asked to leave.

However, residents are starting to return to Lismore after the city was spared the worst of the floods by a new levee.

The NSW Bureau of Meteorology says conditions should improve on Sunday for the north coast region.

On Friday, Premier Nathan Rees declared the Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley to be local disaster zones.