Emergency services have been inundated with hundreds of calls overnight as heavy rains bring flash floods to southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales.
NSW SES conducted four flood rescues in the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions overnight and evacuated 20 caravans to higher ground in Murwillumbah.
Several horses remain stranded in the floods, and emergency teams are unable to reach the animals.
There is a severe weather advisory from Fraser Island to the New South Wales border for heavy rain and damaging winds.
Residents of Billinudgel, near Byron Bay, woke up today to find their cars submerged and the roads impassable with conditions that will worsen with more rain later today and tomorrow.
Inland from the Gold Coast, nearly 500mm has fallen in some areas in a “one in 100 year” event, according to Senior Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Shane Kennedy.
A total of 475 millimeters of rain fell on Upper Springbrook in the 24 hours to 9:00 a.m., with 323 millimeters falling in just six hours overnight.
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York reminded residents not to drive through floods, noting that they can often be deceptively deep.
“The weather, as described, will be quite heavy for the next few days with the effects of flooding in a large number of areas,” Ms York said.
“This is not the time to take a chance and drive through those floods; you and my SES volunteers are in danger.”
There is a moderate flood warning for the Orara River, while the Nambucca, Wilsons, Tweed and Rouse rivers will likely experience mild to moderate flooding.
Minor flooding is anticipated for Hastings, Coffs Coast, Richmond River, Brunswick River, and Marshalls Creek.
The NSW SES received more than 200 calls for assistance last night alone, with around 700 calls received in recent days.
The region is experiencing a brief respite before the low-pressure channel that is currently off the coast returns, bringing with it more downpours and wild winds to come.
Heavy rains and hurricane force winds combined with a queen tide have prompted fears of widespread coastal erosion and possible flooding for low-lying coastal communities.
Waves of almost five meters high have already been seen off Byron Bay, while on the Gold Coast the waves have reached 4.1 meters.
Another 100-150 millimeters of rain is forecast from Sunday night to Monday morning in the southeastern Sunshine State, which also received decent rain yesterday.
Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) has urged people in the region to prepare for the wild weather, which is expected to include abnormally high tides, dangerous waves and damaging winds.
The wild weather is expected to continue throughout Monday before it subsides on Tuesday.