Families stranded on roofs in NSW flood emergency

·4-min read
  • Residents of Lismore are being urged to evacuate

  • Flooding emergencies in both Queensland and NSW

  • Seven people have now died in Queensland flooding

  • Brisbane River to reach major flood levels on Monday

  • Lismore recorded 341mm of rain from 9am Sunday to 3am Monday

Residents of Lismore are stranded on the roofs of their homes trying to escape rising floodwaters that have all but covered buildings in the northern NSW city.

Lismore has been hit by "dangerous and life-threatening flooding", with water levels expected to reach heights not seen since 1974.

Residents of Lismore in a boat as flood waters rise.
Residents of Lismore, in northeastern New South Wales have been told to evacuate. Source: AAP

People are messaging the NSW State Emergency Services (SES) worried about family and friends stuck on the roof of their home.

Meanwhile, areas around Brisbane have been inundated by surging floodwaters as the river reaches peak level this morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the Wilson River at Lismore could peak at 14 metres on Monday night, surpassing the previous record of 12.4 metres.

“There were areas of locally intense rainfall associated with embedded thunderstorms,” BOM said.

Terrifying stories emerge from Lismore's biggest flood in history

BoM issued a severe weather warning for the Northern Rivers and parts of the Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands with the potential for life-threatening flash flooding as severe thunderstorms continue to smash the east coast.

“Dangerous and rapid river level rises are being observed along the tributaries upstream of Lismore," the warning read.

"Heavy rain is falling over the Wilsons River catchment and is forecast to continue during the remainder of Monday morning.

This is something like we have never seen before. This is what I call a catastrophic weather event," Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg told 9News.

"It is life-threatening at the moment. As we saw from those pretty graphic pictures just before, you know, there are... We think hundreds of people still trapped in their homes."

Around 15,000 people have been evacuated on the north coast so far.

One resident took her children and dog to the roof of their home, and used a tarp to create a shelter under a solar panel on her roof.

"If another 200mm comes, we will all be swimming. And I'm talking about at least 50 people," Kate Davis told 9News, referring to her stranded neighbours.

Another woman was pictured using a washing basket to protect herself and her child from the rain as they sat on the roof of their home.

A woman and her child stranded on the roof of their house in Lismore as flood levels rise.
A woman and her child stranded on the roof of their house in Lismore. Source: Twitter/ ElmerRudd

Desperate messages for help have been posted on community Facebook pages, begging anyone with a boat to check on relatives and friends who have no way out.

One woman pleaded for someone to check on her elderly grandfather who has a pacemaker and "trouble breathing".

"Please anyone with a boat... we need to help him. He has no phone or power so can't get in touch."

Another cry for help was for a woman who lives alone in her 70s who had water entering her unit.

"She has tried calling SES and 000 but no luck getting through," a friend of the woman wrote.

Lismore resident Lucy Vader posted on social media begging for help before her phone ran out of battery on Monday afternoon.

"DANGER HELP. Phone now dead. Still not safe," she wrote, estimating floodwaters to be about 4 metres.

"Roof slimy and slippery. I’m having to flex my back to stay on the roof and not slip off."

She also posted a video saying her dog was still trapped inside the house and begged for someone to help her.

Eight deaths confirmed in Queensland flooding

Queensland’s floods have so far claimed the lives of eight people after surf lifesavers found the bodies of a man in his 50s and his dog in a submerged car in the Currumbin Valley on Monday morning.

Police said their car was swept off the road on Sunday night.

Residents along the Brisbane River have been asked to consider evacuating, as overnight flows and are likely to coincide with the morning and afternoon high tides.

A man is seen paddling a kayak through flood waters in Brisbane.
A man is seen paddling a kayak through flood waters in Brisbane.

Brisbane City Council said full-scale or partial flooding is anticipated in Brisbane City, Newstead, West End, New Farm, Milton, St Lucia, Bulimba, South Brisbane, Toowong and Rocklea,

One NSW life has already been lost, with a man killed when his LandCruiser was carried away by floodwaters on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, on Friday.

with AAP.

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