Lower Macleay Flood Hypothetical

Joint media release - 15 March 2018

A community emergency planning exercise for residents of the Lower Macleay has been praised by participants and organisers as being an overwhelming success.

The NSW SES, in partnership with the SES Lower Macleay Community Action Team and Kempsey Shire Council, conducted the Lower Macleay Flood Hypothetical last weekend.

The event aimed to provide residents with a clear understanding of their flood risk and to help participants develop a number of actions to prepare for, respond to and recover from floods.

The event involved the presentation of four flood scenarios including a flood watch for moderate to major flooding on the Macleay River, a moderate flood warning, a major flood warning/evacuations and a recovery phase. Participants working in groups were asked to consider what individuals and the community needed to be doing to support emergency services in maintaining people’s safety and minimising property damage.

The 76 participants were guided in their deliberations by advice from a panel of emergency services. The panel consisted of representatives of NSW SES, Kempsey Shire Council, MNC Local Health District and NSW Police, who after the presentation of each flood scenario, described what their agency would be doing to save lives, protect communities and return the community back to normalcy as soon as possible.

The event provided a great opportunity for residents to share their local knowledge, flood preparation tips and experience as people talked about strategies that had worked well for them in past flood events. 

Some of these strategies included, closely monitoring river heights in the upper part of the catchment, checking the Bureau of Meteorology and SES social media and websites for warnings and advice, stocking up on essential items, having a home emergency kit, liaising with workplaces and schools about possible road closures, moving stock early, contacting business suppliers to organise early deliveries, taking actions in daylight hours and having all preparations complete before the moderate flood level of 5.7 metres at the Kempsey gauge, the river height which roads on the Lower Macleay become inundated.

NSW SES Mid North Coast Region Controller Mr Tony Day praised the efforts of participants, the other agency representatives and NSW SES volunteers on an effective and worthwhile community education workshop. 

Mr Day said, “The event enables us to clearly articulate some of the consequences of a major flood on the Lower Macleay and to explain to people that emergency services resources are limited, people need to be prepared and need to seriously consider evacuation when such warnings are issued.”

Mr Day continued,” In an 8 metres plus flood at the Kempsey gauge, it’s likely that the Lower Macleay will experience flood waters that are of a high velocity and depth. In these types of situations there is no guarantee that that emergency services can get a helicopter in the air or a boat in flood waters to reach you if you have not evacuated.”

The results of the flood hypothetical will now be provided by to the event participants so they can create or update their flood planning arrangements.

Lower Macleay residents who were not able to make it to the event but would like a copy of the hypothetical results can contact the NSW SES Mid North Coast Region via their facebook page or download a copy from the Kempsey Shire Council website.

For more information about creating a flood plan contact the NSW SES or visit the website www.sesemergencyplan.com.au 

Lower Macleay Flood Hypothetical workshop
NSW State Emergency Service logo

Issued by NSW State State Emergency Service and Kempsey Shire Council