East Coast Low Whacks Evans Head

Big swell and surf accompanying the East Coast Low caused significant damages to beaches.

Big swell and surf accompanying the East Coast Low caused significant damages to beaches.

An East Coast low pressure system moved from the Queensland border into Northern NSW over the 22 & 23 of February 2013 causing significant damage to beaches and property and major flooding from the Queensland border to the Hastings.

Heavy seas at Evans Head with surface straffed by gale force winds

Heavy seas at Evans Head strafed by gale force winds

The ‘low’ was accompanied by gale force winds and big seas.

The big surf washed away more of the frontal dune system causing substantial damage to  plants along the dunes.  It is just three weeks since the Australia Day Ex-Cyclone Oswald event which also caused washaway of the coastal dune system all along the coast.

The big surf washed away more of the frontal dune system causing substantial damage to plants along the terrace. It is just three weeks since the Australia Day Ex-Cyclone Oswald event which also caused wash-away of the coastal dune system all along the coast.  Evans Head beaches have been hit hard. This shot shows the beach to the north of the Surf Sheds

The low passed from the sea to land between Ballina and Evans Head causing widespread damage to properties, water supply failures at Lennox Head and power outages.

Many coastal trees were undermined by the coastal surge.  At Chinamen's Beach in Dirawong Reserve at Evans Head there was substantial damage to a number of Pandanus Palms

Many coastal trees were undermined by the coastal surge. At Chinamen’s Beach in Dirawong Reserve at Evans Head there was substantial damage to a number of Pandanus Palms

A local electrician said that the fierce winds of up to more than 200 kph at Ballina ‘wet’ many electrical systems causing them to shut down.

While the winds were not as strong at Evans Head reaching only 125 kph many people had electrical problems and the power was off in some parts of town for a few hours.  However the winds may have been stronger but not recorded as both the Marine Rescue Base and RAAF weather stations were out of action for wind speeds on Saturday.

Energy suppliers were overwhelmed with calls for assistance and a recorded message indicated that more than 20,000 households were without power and it might not be until after the weekend that power was restored.

The long term impact of the low pressure system is not known but with sea level rise already occurring the coast line will continue to be assaulted by the power sea and winds.

Storm surges at high tide along the coast at Evans Head undermined the terrace.

Storm surges at high tide along the coast at Evans Head undermined the terrace

Waves hitting the already damaged terrace created some spectacular displays such as the one shown here and in the next picture

Waves hitting the already damaged terrace created some spectacular displays such as the one shown here

Storm surge created beautiful patterns as the foam enhanced surf washed up against the terrace

Storm surge created beautiful patterns as the foam-enhanced surf washed up against the terrace

Extensive loss of sand from the terrace generated collapse of beach grass.  The picture shows how extensive the root system is for the grass and the important role it plays in protecting the foredune system

Extensive loss of sand from the terrace generated collapse of beach grass. The picture shows how extensive the root system is for the grass and the important role it plays in protecting the foredune system.  Chinamen’s Beach 24 February 2013

The storm surge washed the sand away from the beach leaving the roots of various plants exposed.

The storm surge washed the sand away from the beach leaving the roots of various plants exposed.  This picture was taken at Chinamen’s Beach on Dirawong Reserve 24 Feb 2013

Banksias all along the coast also copped a hiding with many blown over or broken off. The picture below was taken at the Lookout at Evans Head near the Marine Rescue Station.  The banksia crashed across the road on Friday afternoon and was tidied up with a chainsaw by Saturday.

A large banksia was blown over at the lookout near the Marine Rescue Base at Evans Head headland.  One of the big casualties of the blow were the iconic Pandanus Palms at the southern end of Chinamen’s Beach.

Iconic Pandanus Palms at the southern end of Chinamen's Beach Evans Head were undermined by the sea and blown over by the gale force winds.

Iconic Pandanus Palms at the southern end of Chinamen’s Beach Evans Head were undermined by the sea and blown over by the gale force winds.

At time of writing the Richmond River is in flood  with overflow into the Evans River bringing mud and other nasties damaging yet again the health of the Evans River.  The same happened three weeks ago with Ex-Cyclone Oswald.

 

 

 

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