Senior Geography Project

Topics: Flood, Water, Natural environment Pages: 7 (1351 words) Published: December 8, 2011
Background Information
Background Information

Coffs Harbour is located on the Mid North Coast, between Sydney and Brisbane. It has a semi-tropical climate consisting of hot summers and mild winters. The Coffs Harbour area experiences high rainfall averaging between 1200 mm to 1700 mm per year, most rainfall occurring in late summer/early autumn.

The landforms surrounding Coffs Harbour influences the rainfall greatly, The Great Dividing Range passes close to the area and the area has no major river systems. Due to these landforms higher rainfalls occurs east of coast due to the moist maritime air rising over the land. This leads to storms. The steep catchment is small in area and this causes flash flooding.

Between 30 March and 3 April 2009 there was a low pressure system on the Far North Coast of New South Wales and a strong high pressure system centred over the Southern Tasman Sea. This resulted in windy conditions and increased rainfall over the north eastern parts of New South Wales and caused widespread showers with heavy rainfall between 31 March and 1 April on the Mid North Coast. These weather conditions caused flash flooding in the Coffs Harbour area.

Due to the flash floods, on the 1st of April 2009, Coffs Harbour was declared a ‘Natural Disaster Zone’.

Flood Warnings & Flood Levels
Flood Warnings & Flood Levels

It had been raining constantly in Coffs Harbour for three days before the 31st of March. The State Emergency Service (SES) released a flood warning for Coffs Creek at 11:35 am on the 31st of March as the forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) was that the Coffs Harbour area was expected to have another 50mm of rainfall.

Another flood warning was released at 2:44 pm that same day as an unexpected 120mm of rainfall occurred between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm. The BOM predicted another 50mm on top of that and expected the heavy rainfall to cause minor flooding Grafton St Bridge Coffs Harbour and flooding of Coffs Creek, with levels peaking at 3.0 metres approx. 5:00 pm.

Due to a recording of 250mm of rainfall over three hours, the BOM released yet another flood warning and expected flood levels of Coffs Creek to peak at 4.0 metres by approx. 5:00 pm.

The following table shows the total rainfall over the Coffs Harbour area;

Area| Rainfall (mm)|
Middle Boambee| 518.0|
Newports Creek| 460.0|
South Boambee| 613.5|
Perry Drive, Coffs Harbour| 377.5|
Red Hill, Coffs Harbour| 484.5|
Shepherd’s Lane, Coffs Harbour | 439.5|

At 6:15 pm, Coffs Creek peaked at 5.14 metres. This resulted in flash flooding in the Coffs Harbour area.

The following table shows the flood levels of the Coffs Harbour Area;

Location| Flood Level (m)|
Bray Street Complex| 5.5|
Taloumbie Road| 5.8|
Park Beach Road| 4.6|
Elbow Street| 5.5|
Moonee Street| 5.9|
Robin Street| 8.8|
Goodenough Terrace| 12.5|
Harbour Drive – Rivers Store| 4.1|
Harbour Drive Museum | 3.9|
Castle Street| 4.5|
Park Ave – Pathology| 4.2|
Hogbin Drive Bridge| 2.6|

The Impact – Social Environment
The Impact – Social Environment

Safety and Wellbeing
Safety and Wellbeing

During the flash flooding a number of events occurred which impacted on people’s safety and wellbeing. These include; * Road closure
* Evacuations
* The Pacific Highway was blocked at Coffs Harbour and Urunga * The section of road between the Airport and the Coffs Harbour Education Campus was closed * Cars were caught in flood waters and had to be abandoned * Waterfall Way was blocked for six days

* Bellingen was isolated for several days

The times of road closures and the rapid rise of water coincided with the end of the school/working day, causing many people stranded at work or school. This includes; * 900 students were stranded at Bishop Druitt College until 11 pm * 150 students had to spend the night

* 4 Students were evacuated to...
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