Kempsey CBD gets heads up on flooding after Lismore inundation

Kemspey Floods 2001 CBD Netball Courts

Kemspey Floods 2001 CBD Netball Courts

THE NSW SES is urging businesses in the Kempsey CBD to plan and prepare now for floods as the emergency service agency continues to participate in ‘after action’ reviews of the weather event which inundated central Lismore earlier in the year.

A number of themes have emerged from meetings with the Lismore business community that may have relevance for Macleay businesses, especially for those who experienced the last major flooding of the Kempsey CBD in 2001.

Some of these areas included limited time for evacuation, sourcing river height and warning information, sandbagging, moving stock and equipment, flood clean up safety information, road closures and information on how to access recovery support services and financial assistance.

During the March Northern Rivers floods, the Wilsons River at Lismore peaked at 11.34 metres, over-topping the Lismore CBD levee system, causing major inundation of business and millions of dollars in lost stock, profits and property damage.

VIDEO: A live horse floated past us

“Like the Lismore CBD the central part of Kempsey is subject to flooding and rapid river rises, therefore we are asking business and residents in the area to understand their local flood risks and to have a written flood plan that includes river height triggers for actions such as moving stock, raising furniture and evacuation,” NSW SES Mid North Coast region controller Tony Day said.

“The Kempsey levee system provides protection for the CBD up to an approximate river height of 6.65 metres to 6.9 metres at the Kempsey gauge, however after that we are likely to see the river start to over-top the levees.

“The peak height for the 2001 flood was approximately 7.44 metres, with the largest recorded flood being the 1949 flood of 8.52 metres. No two floods are the same so we need the community to be prepared and ready to act early if necessary.”


NSW SES has a range of online emergency planning tools available for businesses and residents. The template based tools prompt the user for information that is then used to generate a specific emergency plan that can then be downloaded as a word document.

For more information go to the website

As part of the NSW SES Kempsey Unit’s community education activities, local SES members will be guest speakers on the topic of flooding in Kempsey at the July meeting of the Macleay Valley Business Chamber.

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