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Lismore Flood Pictures and Wilsons River Flood Height Information
Richmond River Catchment Northeast NSW

Report and all photos by Michael Bath
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nrswg

This document will be updated as further floods occur or additional information becomes available. If you have any flood photos or reports to share please contact Michael Bath. For current rainfall, river height and flood warnings refer to the Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall and River Conditions.

For floods in other parts of Southeast Australia refer to these papers by Jeff Callaghan at BoM:

Lismore Flooding - Introduction

2nd February 2001 Lismore flood The Northern Rivers district of NSW, Australia is one of the most flood prone areas of the country outside of the tropics. With Lismore at the junction of two major streams - Leycester Creek and Wilsons River - it is often subject to significant flooding.

Topography and the alignment of the Northern NSW coast relative to prevailing weather patterns allows for prolonged orographically enhanced rainfall events from time to time - particularly during late Summer, Autumn and early Winter. During those months large slow-moving (blocking) high pressure systems are often positioned around 40 degrees south and provide a long fetch of moisture-laden southeast to easterly winds onto the North Coast. Flood producing heavy rainfall can occur if the high combines with a trough, low pressure system, tropical cyclone, upper trough / cold pool and even the monsoon trough. It is not essential for a strong 'blocking' high pressure system to help cause a flood, but it is nearly always present for the major events - as it keeps the rain producing systems in the same area longer. Some examples of flood producing weather patterns:

Lismore aerial photo and location map from Google Maps. Click for larger view.

Lismore aerial photo Lismore map

Richmond River Flood Plain and Catchment Maps

The Wilsons River, Leycester Creek and tributaries upstream from Lismore represent only about one-quarter of the Richmond River catchment, however the majority of flooding occurs in this area and through to Coraki. The Nightcap Range to the north of Lismore, and hills extending through Bangalow to near Alstonville often receive much higher rainfall than the rest of the region due to orographic effects and because it is closer to the coast and the source of rain-bearing clouds. The floodplain is also narrower due to hilly terrain. South and west of Lismore the terrain is quite flat and the floodplain very wide in comparison.

Major flooding of the Richmond River upstream from Coraki requires heavy rainfall west of the Nightcap and Border Ranges and into the eastern parts of the Richmond Range. This occurs far less frequently than Lismore flooding, with February 1954 and January 2008 the stand-out events for Casino, Kyogle and Wiangaree.

Heavy rainfall occurring over the generally flat country and eastern parts of the Richmond Range in the southwest of the catchment contributes to flooding at Coraki, Woodburn and downstream. Heavy rainfall on the southern side of the Alstonville Plateau also affects the Lower Richmond River.

Another part of the catchment is the Teven Valley and North Creek northwest and north of Ballina. Flooding can occur in this area during very heavy rainfall although those waters quickly enter the Richmond River.

Richmond River catchment map source

Richmond River catchment map Richmond River flood plain map

Lismore Flood Heights

Lismore flood level 1974 sign The Lismore flood gauge is on the rowing club building at the western end of Magellan Street (red dot on the Lismore Map) and became operational in 1917. River heights since the November 1917 flood are all taken from that point. Prior to 1917 the flood gauge was on Fawcetts Bridge, where Woodlark Street crosses the Wilsons River. Flood heights prior to 1917 cannot be relied on for the purposes of present-day comparisons.

Australian Height Datum (AHD) was introduced in the late 1990s. AHD flood height measurements are 0.78 metres lower than the old gauge readings that many readers may recall. Flood heights in other parts of Lismore vary depending on a number of factors including the volume and speed of water coming down the Wilsons River and Leycester Creeks, the amount of local flooding due to heavy rain in Lismore, whether the Browns Creek pump is operational and whether levees have or are being overtopped.

The Lismore central business district used to begin flooding when the Wilsons River reached 9.42m AHD. Water would flow into the streets near the old Post Office at the corner of Molesworth and Magellan streets. Major flows into the city would occur by 9.72m AHD with most of the CBD inundated when the river level reached 10.22m AHD.

A concrete wall flood levee was built over a couple of years and finished in March 2005. It protects the CBD from floods up to about 10.65m AHD. Flood waters during major events will still top the levee but will start to enter streets at the Browns Creek spillway on Molesworth Street between Woodlark and Zadoc streets. A long established earthen levee protects South Lismore from all but major floods exceeding 10.95m AHD. North Lismore has no flood protection and is the first area to be cut off.

The highest recorded Lismore flood levels were on 21st February 1954 and 11th March 1974. Signs such as this one are displayed on power poles throughout the city to mark the highest level floodwaters reached.

Daily rainfall data from all Bureau of Meteorology sites in the Northern Rivers and eastern parts of the Northern Tablelands are included for each flood event.

Tropical cyclone tracking map links are listed where it is known they directly or indirectly contributed to a flood event. Infrared satellite picture loops are available for all flood events since 1983.

Bureau of Meterology flood levels (metres AHD) for the Wilsons River at Lismore
Minor: 4.2
Moderate: 7.2
Major: 9.7

Metres Date   Synoptic situation and notes. Links to daily rainfall data are provided where available. Weather Maps & Satellite Photos
11.58
21-22nd January 1887 Flood height was an estimate of 38 feet.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
10.35
18-19th July 1889 Flood height was an estimate of 31 feet 8 inches.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
12.46
8th March 1890 Flood height was an estimate of 40 feet.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
10.59
2-3rd April 1892 First actual flood height measurement using the Fawcetts Bridge (Woodlark Street) gauge. All previous heights were estimates.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
8.30
22nd January 1893 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
10.43
11th February 1893 February 1893 is still to this day Lismore's wettest month with 799mm on 27 raindays. Flood peaks were likely 11-12 Feb and also 16-18 Feb. Some publications have the 1893 flood occurring in March 1893 but the rainfall figures show it was February 1893.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
n/a
31st March 1904 Rainfall data shows a significant flood occurred 31st March - 1st April though no height is available.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
n/a
22nd July 1914 Rainfall data shows a moderate flood was possible around 22nd July though no height is available.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
8.77
8-10th November 1917 First flood height using the Rowing Club gauge at the end of Magellan Street. All flood heights from this date forward can be compared.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
8.13
15-17th May 1921 Rainfall data suggests the May 1921 flood may have peaked higher than this.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
10.79
22-24th July 1921 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
n/a
5-18th March 1925 Prolonged flooding with possible multiple peaks in the moderate range.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
n/a
24-28th January 1927 Possible minor flood on the 11th with moderate flooding from the 24th.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
5.42
6-16th February 1928 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
7.75
1-2nd March 1929 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
5.32
30th June 1929 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
10.96
3-7th February 1931 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
n/a
9th May 1934 This event is not listed in the archives. Rainfall figures suggest a moderate flood was likely.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
5.53
8-17th March 1937 Probably two peaks: 10th and 17th.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
8.07
17-21st January 1938 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
8.09
10-12th April 1938 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
8.71
22-27th May 1938 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
7.96
4-6th March 1939 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
n/a
2-3rd December 1940 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
n/a
31st December 1943 Flood peak may have been 1st January 1944.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
n/a
26-29th January 1944 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
11.29
11th June 1945 Mostly likely an East Coast Low. Rain stopped 6pm Monday. Worst in history. Browns Ck raging torrent over Spinks Bridge. River peak may be higher than this.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
 
6.18
25th March 1946 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands  
6.69
2nd May 1948 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
10.74
15-18th June 1948 Peak most likely evening of 16th.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.37
28th February 1950 Prolonged period of wet weather which eventually led to a minor flood peak.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
9.48
24th June 1950 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
8.87
27th January 1951 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
7.81
18-20th March 1951 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
5.54
8th June 1951 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
9.51
21st February 1953 Creeping flood from a prolonged period of very wet weather.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
7.21
20-24th March 1953 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
12.17
5am 21st February 1954 Rain depression from ex TC on 9-11th, then Tropical Cyclone 195303 from midday Friday to early Sunday morning. '54 Flood Disaster. Clear skies Sunday. All communications failed. Highest ever peak Lismore (maybe 12.63m), Kyogle, Casino, Nimbin and Murwillumbah. Some locations had over 1,000mm of rain in 12 days. Detailed report available: Hydrological features of the 1954 North Coast Floods
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
8.95
14th July 1954 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
8.92
29th March 1955 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
6.02
5-6th April 1955 Low presure system that caused the previous flood a week ago returned.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
7.14
1st May 1955 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
6.98
11-13th December 1955 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
11.54
11pm 18th February 1956 Rain event earlier in the month then a tropical low moving S-SW. Robert White bridge collapsed. Sudden stop to rain Saturday afternoon. Sensational rise in creek levels at Nimbin.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.67
19-20th June 1958 Rainfall data suggests flooding around the 11th as well - perhaps two peaks occurred.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
7.07
6-7th August 1958 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
8.14
21-24th January 1959 Caused by Tropical Cyclone Beatrice.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
8.15
17-20th February 1959 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
n/a
18-29th March 1959 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
7.22
9-13th November 1959 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
7.17
18-20th February 1961 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
6.13
6-8th January 1962 Rainfall data indicates another minor flood peak was likely on the 15th.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
7.02
7-9th April 1962 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
11.36
11am 11th July 1962 Cyclonic depression off Gold Coast. Highest ever peak Repentance Ck, The Channon, Bentley. Flood firsts - NRTV, Northern Star uninterrupted production.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.74
1-2nd January 1963 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
6.11
15-18th March 1963 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
5.29
26-28th April 1963 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
11.06
7pm 8th May 1963 Trough in central western districts. Upper low then surface low off Cape Byron Tuesday night. All North Coast flooded. Equal highest peak Bentley. This flood followed a minor flood just 10 days earlier.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.51
26-27th March 1964 Some heavy rainfalls also occurred between the 8th and 10th March.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
10.43
1am 21st July 1965 Very cold southerly then rain depression moving south. Possibly similar to September 1988. Only 6 raindays in whole month. Worst drought in years. Deepfreeze over state. Snow in Sydney. 1st flood for the Tuckombil Flood Canal. Waterspout off Cape Byron.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.51
9-11th June 1966 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
10.27
11am 19th March 1967 Tropical Cyclone Elaine and another tropical low operationally classified tropical cyclone "Dulcie" combined. Record floods in north Queensland.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
8.20
3am 13th June 1967 Lows off SE Queensland coast. 1030hp high.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
9.49
4pm 14th June 1967 Lows off SE Queensland coast. 1030hp high. Worst flooding on the Gold Coast in 25yrs. Grafton badly hit. 2nd peak in Lismore.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.09
11am 23rd June 1967 Another low off the coast moving quickly south.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
6.79
2am 28th June 1967 Complex trough and depression off coast near Cape Byron. 1030hp high. Seas batter coast. 4th June flood peak.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.75
10-13th January 1968 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
6.69
8-10th December 1970 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
6.41
17-19th February 1971 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
9.43
6pm 13th February 1972 Tropical Cyclone Daisy and Tropical Cyclone Wendy. 1036hp high. Severe beach erosion. 1st test for Browns Creek Pump which cut the flood peak by feet.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.67
8-9th March 1972 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
5.07
3-4th April 1972 Tropical Cyclone Emily.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
10.09
6am 29th October 1972 Upper disturbance then a low in north of state. 1030hp high. First October flood. Browns Ck Pump kept water 1m lower in basin. Record rainfalls for year and month.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
5.62
14-17th February 1973 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Surface] [Upper]
9.13
6pm 27th January 1974 Tropical Cyclone Wanda and intense rain depression moving SE from NW Queensland. Australia Day Flood. Massive flooding in Brisbane - worst of the century.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
12.17
am 11th March 1974 Upper disturbance and very small localised low pressure. 1028hp high. '74 Flood. South Lismore levee breached. Shock flood worst ever. Highest ever peaks Wyrallah, Tuckarimba, Coraki, Woodburn, Bungawalbyn. Brisbane 2nd Flood.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
9.81
am 13th March 1974 Tropical Cyclone Zoe moving rapidly south. '74 Flood - second hit.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
8.97
3pm 23rd April 1974 Upper disturbances in north of state. 1030hp high.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
7.52
4pm 3rd June 1974 1030hp high. Small low off border. Flood peril returns. 10 years to recover.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
10.53
12pm 3rd March 1975 Upper disturbance then surface low off the coast. 1030hp high. SES spot on with predictions. Waterspout or tornado Lennox Head.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
7.62
6am 12th February 1976 Tropical depression moving across country. ex TC. Weak high. Tabulam devastated - worst flood ever.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
10.14
9am 29th February 1976 Upper disturbances. NE winds from weak high then Tropical Cyclone Colin. Leap year flood. Wilsons river currents - 4ft/hr rise. Sirens used. Teven devastated. Highest ever peak Nashua, Eltham, Tatham. Federal recorded 290mm of rain in just 4 hours.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
9.97
12pm 19th March 1978 1034hp high cradling deepening low moving SW. Mt Nardi Deluge - 660mm.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
9.53
7am 10th May 1980 Strengthening high and small low moving south. Rain a boost to district - a lot more needed though.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Surface] [Upper]
8.18
4pm 23rd June 1983 1028hp high, upper disturbance and small low moving south. 1st satellite photos in paper.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
9.84
1am 10th April 1984 Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lance and northern NSW low. 1030hp high. Gales. Major flood a close thing. House With No Steps losses great.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
10.43
8am 6th March 1987 Small low off Tweed Heads which formed from Ex-Tropical Cyclone Elsie after it crossed country. 1030hp high. Lismore ready for major flood. Worst since 74. Rocky Ck dam full. Drought preceded flood - especially on Gold Coast.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Surface] [Upper]
10.78
8am 11th May 1987 Slow moving 1037hp high and upper air disturbance. Mothers Day Flood. 2nd major CBD inundation in 2 months - only year to have two major floods.
Flood Pictures: 11th May 1987
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Surface] [Upper]
9.10
10am 7th April 1988 Tropical low moving across country and upper disturbances and lows off SE Queensland. Easter Flood. Floods in red centre, NSW and QLD.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
9.46
5pm 12th April 1988 Small low and upper disturbance. 1038hp high. Longest flood. Woodburns worst - not highest. 2nd peak in Lismore in a week.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
4.42
6th June 1988 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
6.94
11pm 16th September 1988 Deepening low moving down coast. 1030hp ridging high. Rain stopped just in time. First September flood.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
4.72
19th December 1988 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
5.22
29th January 1989 Two weak lows moving down coast. 1020hp high.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
11.28
11am 2nd April 1989 Multiple upper disturbances. Slow moving 1037hp high. April Fools Day Flood. Leycester Ck pushed back Wilsons. Incredible rise of river. South Lismore levee breached. Oil flood. Tropical Cyclone Aivu North QLD.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
9.15
6am 27th April 1989 Upper low then deepening surface low moving down coast. 1034hp high weakening. 2nd flood in a month. Cyclonic wind - Easterly then calm then Westerly.
Flood Pictures: 27th April 1989
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
8.10
pm 3rd February 1990 Tropical Cyclone Nancy with well developed upper trough extending to Victoria along the East Coast. 1026hp high over NZ and 1034hp high over Bight. Major flooding in Sydney and Hunter Valley. Eye of tropical cyclone crossed Cape Byron - winds were calm for a short time.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
5.72
am 7th April 1990 Upper air disturbance from ex TC Ivor, and 1036hp high centred in the Tasman Sea. Minor flooding in Lismore but moderate flooding on the Clarence River. The remains of TC Ivor as an upper low, continued for two more weeks and caused the worst flooding ever for western NSW and Qld.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
7.27
2pm 13th December 1991 Slow moving front and upper air disturbance combined to form an east coast low, which then moved south. 1026hp high in the Tasman Sea. Moderate flooding in Lismore and Murwillumbah. Two deaths. Heavy rain for only 24 hours. Severe flooding at Nimbin with 300mm in one night caused some of the worst flooding ever there.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
5.75
4th March 1994 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
6.76
16th February 1995 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Satellite] [Surface] [Upper]
7.12
9pm 3rd May 1996 A few locations along the Border Ranges received around 1,000mm of rain in a week.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
7.78
11am 7th May 1996 2nd peak at Lismore. Rainfall figures reveal another rainfall event around 17th May but it was fairly coastal in extent.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
5.20
11pm 14th January 2000 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
10.42
6pm 2nd February 2001 First major flood in Lismore for 12 years - this was the last straw in getting the flood levee constructed. Many locations received over 400mm of rain in 36 hours.
Flood Pictures: 1st Feb 2001 | 2nd Feb 2001 | Major Flooding in Lismore Report
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
8.34
10th March 2001 Flood pictures: 9th Mar 2001 | 10th Mar 2001
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
7.50
12pm 6th March 2004 Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands [Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
10.20
10pm 30th June 2005 Details available here: Major Flooding of the Wilsons River Lismore Report
Flood pictures: 29th Jun 2005 | 30th Jun 2005 | 1st Jul 2005
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
7.85
12pm 20th January 2006 Flood pictures: 19th Jan 2006 | [20th Jan 2006 | 21st Jan 2006
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
5.95
1pm 6th March 2006 Flood Pictures: 4th March 2006
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
9.40
6pm 5th January 2008 Although the river peak in Lismore failed to reach the major level, elsewhere in the district it was the biggest flood since 1954. The entire catchment was saturated from days of rain, then further extreme rainfalls fell in the Tweed and Upper Richmond rivers during the evening of Friday 4th January.
Flood Pictures: 4th Jan 2008 | 5th Jan 2008 | 6th Jan 2008 | 7th Jan 2008 | 8th Jan 2008 | 9th Jan 2008
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts] [Upper]
10.38
2-3pm 22nd May 2009 This event was very well forecast by the weather models many days before it occurred. A slow moving upper low moving over western NSW and central/southern QLD, along with a blocking Southern Tasman Sea high with deep onshore flow onto the East Coast resulted in a persistent coastal trough/low setup. Several intense meso-lows formed in the trough and brought very heavy rain and destructive winds - particularly to the Northern Rivers region on Thursday 21st. Major river and flash flooding occurred between the Queensland Sunshine Coast and Port Macquarie between Wednesday 20th to Sunday 24th May. In Lismore, the new levee once again saved the main part of the central business district from inundation - but only just - another hour of heavy rainfall and it would have over-topped. Flooding was major in the Wilsons, Richmond and Clarence rivers, with the Tweed and Brunswick Valley not as badly hit.
Flood Pictures: 21st May 2009 | 22nd May 2009
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
4.57
6am 12th October 2010 Heavy falls in the eastern part of the catchment on 3rd and 4th of October were followed by a second rain event less than a week later. A strong high pressure was anchored in the Tasman Sea. A mid level trough in the southern Coral Sea tracked westward and crossed the coast during the morning of the 11th. This time the heaviest falls were in SE QLD however local rainfall was enough to push the Wilsons River in Lismore to minor flood levels.
Flood Pictures: 4th October 2010
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
6.89
noon 28th December 2010 A prolonged period of moderate to heavy rainfalls across the region due to the influence of the monsoon trough. Many centres received 250 to 300mm between the afternoon of 24th December and the afternoon of the 27th though Boxing Day did see lighter rain until later in the day. An unusual aspect of this system was that most rainfall streamed down from the northwest from mid to upper level cloud rather than from the usual low-level onshore flow. The upper Richmond River went into major flood with parts of the Kyogle CBD inundated from late evening 27/12 with a peak of 15.94m at 4am 28/12. The Wilsons River at Lismore peaked at 4.91m at 5am 26/12 before the main peak two days later.
Flood Pictures: 25th December 2010 | 27th December 2010 | 28th December 2010
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
5.05
8.30pm 11th January 2011 Another prolonged period of moderate to heavy rainfalls across parts of the region from 5th to 11th January due to a slow moving upper low and the monsoon trough. Extreme flash flooding occured in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley (in SE QLD) on 10/1 with major river flooding through greater Brisbane 11-13 Jan - the worst since 1974. Most of the Northern Rivers did not receive heavy falls, only the northwest parts and adjacent Northern Tablelands - parts of which had record flooding as well. Tenterfield, the MacIntyre River Basin (Bonshaw, Ashford) and the Clarence River (Tabulam, Grafton and lower river) all had major flooding. The several days of moderate rainfalls eventually pushed the Wilsons River at Lismore to minor flood levels.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
7.58
12.20pm 26th January 2012 A persistent upper level low over western NSW and southern QLD combined with a high pressure system in the Tasman sea (and a second quickly replacing it) to deliver a deep E-NE flow and resultant prolonged rain event for NE NSW and SE QLD. A number of surface troughs near and on the coast during the week contributed to some flash flooding too. The hardest hit areas were the Tweed, Bellingen and Sunshine Coast areas though flooding occurred in most regions between Taree and Noosa Heads. The heaviest rainfalls in the Wilsons River catchment occurred between midnight and 3pm 25th January.
Flood pictures: 26th Jan 2012
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
4.31
8.40pm 29th June 2012 A fairly strong high pressure system moving across SE Australia and the South Tasman Sea directed moisture into a surface and upper trough just off the SE QLD / NE NSW coast. A low pressure system formed off the SE Queensland coast overnight 27/28th June though with the high weakening it was not enough to result in massive rainfalls. However there were extensive rainfalls in the 100mm to 150mm range across the coastal Northern Rivers district - most of which fell between late on the 27th through to early on 29th. It was the second flood in a month for the Wilsons River upsteam of Lismore though the earlier event (11-12th) failed to reach minor flood levels at the official Lismore gauge. The Eltham gauge peaked at 6.95m at 1pm on 29th June, and at 7.24m at 12.10am on 12th June.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
9.43
10.30am 29th January 2013 Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald took an extraordinary track down the East Coast (over land) after being a category one system for a few hours in the Gulf of Carpentaria. A strong blocking high over New Zealand helped steer the tropical low and monsoon trough slowly along the entire length of QLD and into NSW over a week. Record heavy rainfalls hit many areas but one of the stand-out features was the destructive winds (of category one strength) and numerous embedded tornado reports along the coast. Lismore managed to avoid a major flood and the levee again saved parts of the CBD from inundation - thanks to lower rainfall totals in the western part of the catchment. Parts of the Tweed, Lower Richmond and Clarence endured major flooding, with Grafton recording its highest ever level of 8.09m - just centimetres below the top of the levee wall.
Track of Ex-TC Oswald

Flood pictures: 28th Jan 2013 | 29th Jan 2013
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
8.18
6.30pm 23rd February 2013 A prolonged period of wet weather occurred from the 13th as a result of an upper trough and a strong blocking high pressure system directing a deep moist layer into northern NSW and QLD. A surface trough developed off the coast on the 17th followed by a low off Central QLD late on the 18th. This low tracked SSE parallel to the coastline then did a loop in the North Tasman Sea before slamming into the Northern Rivers coastline during the 22nd Feb as the equivalent of a category one tropical cyclone with regards to wind speeds. Ballina and surrounds bore the brunt of the wind damage. Rainfall accumulations were substantial over the many days of this event but increased sufficiently 21-22 Feb to result in moderate flooding in Lismore. The Low was also responsible for major flooding in southern parts of the Northern Rivers and throughout the Mid North Coast.
Flood pictures: 22nd Feb 2013 | 23rd Feb 2013
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
5.56
7.30pm 3rd March 2013 The lower Richmond River had only just dropped below minor flood levels when an upper trough delivered further heavy falls to the Northern Rivers. This system had brought widespread rainfall across most of NSW before combining with an onshore flow and focusing on the North Coast and Southeast QLD. Rainfall accumulations were mainly less than 150mm in the Northern Rivers for the event but with a saturated catchment the Wilsons and Richmond rivers again went into flood.
Flood pictures: 3rd Mar 2013
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
4.79
11pm 2nd July 2013 An East Coast Low formed off the SE Queensland coast in response to an upper trough passing over the region, and a pre-existing coastal trough. Gale force southerly winds and widespread rain fell across the northern two-thirds of the Northern Rivers district particularly during Monday 1st July and early Tuesday. Rainfall accumulations reached 150 to 200mm over 36 hours in some locations and this was enough to push the Wilsons and Lower Richmond River into minor flood.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
4.70
2pm 28th August 2014 A strong blocking high pressure system in the Tasman Sea combined with a series of upper troughs to deliver two weeks of wet weather culminating in an East Coast Low on the 27th. Significant falls fell across parts of the Northern Rivers during the 27th quickly clearing pre-dawn on 28th. Unusually the Nightcap Ranges and Tweed region missed out on the heavy rainfalls. The lack of heavy rain to the north of Lismore limited the flooding to minor.
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
5.88
9pm 21st February 2015 The weather patterns had the potential to produce major flooding in the Northern Rivers district with a strong high in the southern Tasman Sea, coastal trough and a tropical low moving towards the southern half of the QLD coast. However the Coral Sea low far exceeded all modelling and became category 5 Tropical Cyclone Marcia. This intensity change resulted in the trough largely remaining offshore instead of over the Northern Rivers and reduced the rainfall potential. Regardless there was still widespread falls of 150 to 300mm over 36-48 hours for the Northern Rivers and north-eastern Northern Tablelands to late evening on the 20th, with minor to moderate flooding in some streams.
Flood pictures: 21st February 2015
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
7.36
7pm 2nd May 2015 A strong high pressure system crossing southern Australian into the southern Tasman Sea directed a humid easterly air mass onto the NSW and southern QLD coastline for a number of days. Combining with an unusually strong upper trough passing over NSW into SE QLD, this helped induce surface troughs inland and along the coastline by Wednesday 29 April. The resulting instability led to a number of days of patchy heavy thunderstorm/rain events culminating in the development of an East Coast Low on Friday 1st May. Widespread rain and embedded thunder occurred on this day, peaking during the afternoon and early evening, before a fairly rapid clearing as the low moved over SEQ and started to weaken, although some narrow convergence lines persisted in the region until late on the 2nd. The western half of the Wilsons catchment received less than half the falls over the east, with the highest totals in the eastern parts of the Alstonville Plateau.
Flood pictures: 1st May 2015 | 2nd May 2015
Daily rainfall data for: Northern Rivers | Northern Tablelands
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
9.04
5pm 5th June 2016 A well forecast event by weather modelling which was showing up nearly a week ahead. A sharp upper trough which evolved into a cut off upper low moved northeast across NSW into SE Queensland. A surface trough was present along most of the East Coast with a large blocking high over New Zealand feeding in rich Coral Sea moisture. The upper low induced a surface low drawing in the existing trough. A convergence line edged across SE QLD and Northern NSW during Saturday, peaking during the evening on the Northern Rivers. An east coast low developed early Sunday along the Coffs Coast. This was a massive system bringing flooding rains from the Sunshine Coast to Tasmania over several days. The bulk of the rainfall in the Northern Rivers occurred between 6pm Friday and the AM hours of Sunday.
[Satellite] [MSL Charts]
Metres Date   Synoptic situation and notes. Links to daily rainfall data are provided where available. Weather Maps & Satellite Photos

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Flood Pictures Lismore and district

11th May 1987 flood pictures11th May 1987

The Mother's Day Flood: Lismore was hit with an unprecedented second major flood event in the space of two months. These flood pictures were taken overlooking the Lismore basin then around the central business district. The flood peak had dropped about 20cm by this time.
[11th May 1987 Pictures]

27th April 1989 Lismore flood pictures27th April 1989

Two floods in one month! After the biggest flood since 1974 hit the region on 2nd April 1989, a second flood for the same calendar month occurred. A few photos were taken near the Lismore rowing club and Browns Creek pump.
[27th April 1989 Pictures]

1st February 2001 McLeans Ridges flood pictures 2nd February 2001 Lismore flood pictures2nd February 2001

Major flooding returns to the Lismore region - it had been 12 years since the last major flood to hit Lismore. This CBD inundation proved to be the final straw to get the Lismore flood levee built. The pictures on the 1st were taken near Eltham, and on the 2nd near Eltham and in the Lismore CBD.
[1st Feb 2001 Pictures] [2nd Feb 2001 Pictures] [Event Report]

9th March 2001 McLeans Ridges flood pictures 10th March 2001 Lagoon Grass flood pictures10th March 2001

Major flooding along the Clarence River occurred this time with a smaller event in Lismore. The flood photos are taken of the Wilsons River at Eltham and along the Bangalow Road leading into Lismore.
[9th Mar 2001 Pictures] [10th Mar 2001 Pictures]

30th June 2005 Lismore flood pictures 1st July 2005 McLeans Ridges flood pictures30th June 2005

Just three months after the Lismore CBD flood levee was finished, it was given its first test. Major flooding peaked at the low end of the major level. It illustrated how well the levee worked in protecting the CBD from 90 per cent of floods that occur in the region. The flood photographs are taken near Eltham and around Lismore.
[30th Jun 2005 Pictures] [1st Jul 2005 Pictures] [Event Report]

19th January 2006 McLeans Ridges flood pictures 20th January 2006 Lismore flood pictures 21st January 2006 Boat Harbour flood pictures20th January 2006

Moderate flooding along the Wilsons River into Lismore with a major flood in the Brunswick Valley. The pictures are taken around Eltham and Lismore.
[19th Jan 2006 Pictures] [20th Jan 2006 Pictures] [21st Jan 2006 Pictures]

4th March 2006 Wooyung flood pictures6th March 2006

Moderate flooding and wild seas occurred due to an intense low off the coast. The river peak in Lismore was quite slow to arrive with floodwaters persisting from the 4th to the 6th. The pictures are taken near Eltham and the Tweed Coast.
[4th March 2006 Pictures]

5th January 2008

4th January 2008 Lismore flood pictures 5th January 2008 Kyogle flood pictures 6th January 2008 McKees Hill flood pictures 7th January 2008 Coraki flood pictures 8th January 2008 Coraki flood pictures 9th January 2008 Coraki flood pictures

Major flooding occurred along the Richmond River in January 2008 with Kyogle hit hard. Lismore was lucky and only saw moderate flooding. Most low lying areas along the Richmond River were inundated with some record stream rises.

[4th Jan 2008 Flood Pictures] taken from McLeans Ridges, Eltham, Boatharbour and Lismore.
[5th Jan 2008 Flood Pictures] taken at South Lismore, Fairy Hill, Casino, Leycester, Rock Valley, Kyogle and Lismore.
[6th Jan 2008 Flood Pictures] taken McKees Hill to Clovass on the Bruxner Hwy.
[7th Jan 2008 Flood Pictures] taken from a NSW State Emergency Service (SES) helicopter between Lismore and Coraki including stranded cattle rescued along the Wilsons River near Coraki.
[8th Jan 2008 Flood Pictures] taken between Lismore and Coraki from the SES chopper, and at Coraki.
[9th Jan 2008 Flood Pictures] taken around Coraki from the SES helicopter then during two SES flood boat operations.


22nd May 2009 Lismore flood pictures 22nd May 2009 Lismore flood pictures 22nd May 2009 Lismore flood pictures22nd May 2009

Major flooding occurred along the Wilsons, Richmond and Clarence rivers in May 2009. The Lismore flood levee protected most of the central business district from inundation.

[21st May 2009 Flood Pictures] taken from McLeans Ridges, Eltham and Booyong.
[22nd May 2009 Flood Pictures] taken at McLeans Ridges, Eltham, Goonellabah, Lismore, South Lismore and North Lismore.

4th October 2010

Local flooding in the Eltham and Booyong areas following 200mm overnight 3-4 Oct, most of which fell between midnight and 3am.
4th October 2010 Lismore flood pictures 4th October 2010 Lismore flood pictures 4th October 2010 Lismore flood pictures
[4th October 2010 Flood Pictures] taken from McLeans Ridges, Eltham and Booyong.

25th December 2010

Local flooding in the Eltham area following 24 hours of moderate to heavy rain across the Wilsons River valley upstream of Lismore.
25th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures 25th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures 25th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures
[25th December 2010 Flood Pictures]

27th December 2010

Local flooding around Eltham and Booyong then major flooding into Kyogle late evening.
75th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures 27th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures 27th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures 27th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures
[27th December 2010 Flood Pictures]

28th December 2010

Local flooding around Eltham.
28th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures 28th December 2010 Lismore flood pictures
[28th December 2010 Flood Pictures]

26th January 2012

Local flooding around Eltham.
26th January 2012 Lismore flood pictures 26th January 2012 Lismore flood pictures 26th January 2012 Lismore flood pictures
[26th January 2012 Flood Pictures]

29th January 2013

Significant flooding of the Wilson River at Lismore and upstream following Ex-TC Oswald
28th January 2013 Lismore flood pictures 28th January 2013 Lismore flood pictures 29th January 2013 Lismore flood pictures 29th January 2013 Lismore flood pictures
[28th January 2013 Flood Pictures]
[29th January 2013 Flood Pictures]

23rd February 2013

River and flash flooding around Eltham and Booyong.
22nd February 2013 Lismore flood pictures 22nd February 2013 Lismore flood pictures 23rd February 2013 Lismore flood pictures
[22nd February 2013 Flood Pictures]
[23rd February 2013 Flood Pictures]

3rd March 2013

Local flooding around Booyong and Eltham.
3rd March 2013 Lismore flood pictures 3rd March 2013 Lismore flood pictures
[3rd March 2013 Flood Pictures]

21st February 2015

Local flooding around Booyong and Eltham and Wollongbar storm damage.
21st February 2015 Lismore flood pictures 21st February 2015 Lismore flood pictures
[21st February 2015 Flood Pictures]

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Document: lismore_flood_pictures_reports.htm
Updated: 18 July 2016
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