Road closed detour in place in Keen St Lismore on January 6, 2021.
Road closed detour in place in Keen St Lismore on January 6, 2021. Cathy Adams

Severe weather warning and minor flood watch

Update 3.30pm: Northern Star reporters and readers are confirming rain and thunder recorded across Northern NSW.

In Lismore, drains have started to overflow in some CBD streets and near shopping centres, plus a road detour is already in place in Keen Street.

This video was recorded at Brewster St earlier this afternoon by reporter Cathy Adams.

Rain in Lismore: Rain i Lismore on January 6, 2021.
Rain in Lismore: Rain i Lismore on January 6, 2021.


Update 12.30pm: The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued Severe Weather Warning for heavy rainfall for the Northern Rivers and parts of Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.

A low pressure trough over eastern New South Wales is bringing a humid and unsettled air mass into northeastern parts of the state.

Heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding may develop this evening about the Northern Rivers district, and possibly affect northeastern parts of the Northern Tablelands district.

This potential for heavy rainfall is expected to continue into Thursday morning, before easing by Thursday afternoon.
Localised intense or very heavy rainfall, though a small risk, is possible with embedded thunderstorms, and may result in more dangerous flash flooding if they eventuate.

Read more>> SES SES warn flooding could be a 'repeat of a couple of weeks ago'

A Flood Watch for riverine flooding is current for the Richmond-Wilsons, Orara and Bellinger Rivers.

Locations which may be affected include Lismore, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Ballina, Casino, Kyogle, Yamba and Maclean.

BOM also issued a Strong Wind Warning for the Byron and Coffs coasts, and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for people in parts of Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, North West Slopes and Plains and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.

Listen to the BOM meteorologist offering an update on the current situation: 

BOM update 06 Jan 2021: BOM update for January 6, 2021
BOM update 06 Jan 2021: BOM update for January 6, 2021

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Don't drive, ride or walk through flood water.
* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
* If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
* Be aware that run-off from rainfall in fire affected areas may behave differently and be more rapid. It may also contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks.
* After bushfires, heavy rain and the loss of foliage can make the ground soft and heavy, leading to a greater chance of landslides.
* Stay vigilant and monitor conditions. Note that the landscape may have changed following bushfires.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.


Original story: The SES has advised of possible flooding for the Richmond Wilsons, Orara and Bellinger rivers later Wednesday, January 6.

Rainfall associated with a slow-moving low pressure trough through northeast NSW has the potential to cause minor to moderate riverine flooding across the Orara and Bellinger River catchments from late Wednesday, and minor flooding in the Richmond Wilsons catchment from Thursday.

Catchments likely to be affected by flooding are currently saturated following rainfall over the last few weeks, the SES explained.

The weather system is expected to cause riverine flooding for the catchments.

Based on this prediction catchments likely to be affected include, the SES is expecting minor flooding in the Wilsons River and Richmond River.

Minor to moderate flooding is expected for the Orara, the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers.

The SES reminded residents that, at minor flood levels, low-lying areas next to water courses are inundated.

Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged.

In urban areas, inundation may affect some backyards and buildings below the floor level, as well as bicycle and pedestrian paths.

In rural areas, removal of stock and equipment may be required.

In moderate flood levels, in addition to the above, the area of inundation is more substantial. Main traffic routes may be affected.

Some buildings may be affected above the floor level. Evacuation of flood affected areas may be required. In rural areas removal of stock is required.

The SES explained that people living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop.

Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service.

Severe Weather Warnings will be issued or updated if very heavy rain is forecast or observed.

For more information on the Flood Watch Service.

FloodSafe advice is available at

For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.