NSW storms 2016: Collaroy damage
UNIVERSITY of New South Wales coastal researcher Mitchell Harley says six homes are “cracking up” at Collaroy on Sydney’s northern beaches, as the NSW coast is smashed for the second day in a row.
The kingtide hit the coast from Coogee to Collaroy and Narrabeen on Monday evening, peaking at around 9pm with the worst of the damage occurring between 6pm and midnight.
Homeowners face a nervous wait until first light to assess the extent of the damage that has torn swimming pools from properties and devastated homes and businesses.
Pictures posted online showed waves undermining the Coogee Surf Club after a brick wall was smashed open by the storm.
The SES is warning those who live in coastal communities to consider moving themselves and their belongings to safety. It also wants people to steer clear of cliffs and rocks where there is a “high likelihood of being washed away by large waves.”
About six houses cracking up right now at #Collaroy with #kingtide. Grave conditions #SydneyStorm
— Mitchell Harley (@DocHarleyMD) June 6, 2016
Conditions still extremely serious at #Collaroy tonight. Erosion continuing at #kingtide #SydneyStorm
— Mitchell Harley (@DocHarleyMD) June 6, 2016
‘THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED’
Earlier, meteorologist Phil Perkins said the king tide was expected to peak at 9pm “with the main window of threat” between 6pm and midnight.
It follows a day in which owners struggled to come to terms with damage to their homes and businesses. The SES received 10,000 call outs to deal with damage.
Homeowner Zaza Silk lost a large chunk of her property and her swimming pool on Sunday evening in pictures that have been broadcast around the world.
She revealed on Channel Ten’s The Project on Monday night that she also lost something very personal to the storm.
“My mother was in an urn in the garden along with my beautiful dog who passed away recently,” she said.
“I would go and talk to them regularly and they’re gone.”
She said her local council has “known about this for a long time and should’ve put a wall up” earlier.
“They’ve had this happen before. This could have been avoided.”
Zaza Silk from Collaroy had her mother’s ashes buried in her yard that was swept away by the high tides and storm in Sydney. Courtesy: The Project
Earlier, a devastated Ms Silk told Channel Seven’s Sunrise she was living her “worst nightmare”.
“Within three hours we had a garden that was just totally destroyed — gone,” she said.
She described how the water got “closer and closer” until police told residents to evacuate.
“I never thought it would be this bad,” she said.
Ms Silk told Sunrise she had lost about 15 metres of coastline from her beachside property, likening the devastation of the storm to an earthquake.
“There’s no garden now, where do we go?”
Monday’s king tide follow “the biggest king tide of the year” which joined forces with the east coast low-pressure system and created huge seas which swept away the yards of multimillion-dollar beachfront homes on Collaroy and Narrabeen beaches.
Mr Perkins said Monday’s king tide would be “fairly similar”.
“Our normal highest astronomical tide is an increase in sea levels around 1.2m and last night we saw 1.3m and this evening will be fairly similar, around 1.3m above normal sea.”
The ocean was expected to come as close to houses as it did on Sunday evening but not reach as high, according to Bureau of Meteorology forecasts.
UNSW coastal erosion researcher Mitchell Harley told news.com.au Monday’s 12m waves had “drop(ped) but (were) still at a dangerous level of up to 7m”.
“It’s likely we’re going to see further damage to the already damaged properties from further coastal erosion,” he said.
Dr Harley said he was most concerned about eight houses along a 300m stretch of coastline that were not protected by a rockfall.
“They’re at critical risk of collapse,” he said. “The critical period is around 9-9.30pm tonight when the king tide strikes again … If the houses survive that period then we can probably say they’ve likely survived the storm.
“It’s touch and go really.”
THREE DEAD, THREE MISSING
The wild weather has also tragically claimed the lives of three people.
Two bodies were found in cars caught in floods in Cotter River near Canberra and in Mittagong Creek near Bowral. The body of another man was found in a ute at Leppington, near Camden in Sydney’s southwest, with emergency crews searching for another person who was reportedly swept away.
Three people remain missing; one at Bondi Beach and two in separate locations in Tasmania. Search and rescue efforts have been postponed until first light on Tuesday.
The high tides on Sydney’s northern beaches, fanned by the weekend’s monster storm, eroded huge swathes of Narrabeen and Collaroy beach front land, with some properties losing up to 25m.
Parts of Beach Club Collaroy and a swimming pool also collapsed into the sea as the huge swell smashed the Sydney coastline.
Up to 10-15m of waterfront land washed away at Collaroy overnight as residents returned to their homes to assess the damage after being evacuated on Sunday night.
In total, seven homes and a unit block in Collaroy were evacuated as 8m waves slammed the coast leading to major erosion, police said.
Collaroy homeowner Tony Cagorski said he and his family evacuated Sunday about 6pm and returned home on Monday to survey the damage.
“It’s very scary, I hope we can save the house,” he told Channel Seven. “We were told to evacuate at about six, and I came back this morning and … Wow … It’s shocking.”
Mr Cagorski’s home suffered serious structural damage and the balcony has been left precariously teetering on the edge of the shoreline where his front yard once was.
“Now I know what Fiji went through and Vanuatu, it’s similar to that,” he said when asked to describe the storm.
Local resident Craig Graham has lived in Collaroy for nearly four decades and was among those checking out the damage Monday morning.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen it here … I have never seen it come up this high with this amount of storm surge and I’ve been living here about 40 years,” he told the ABC. “It’s pretty much a disaster zone.”
Aerial vision shows the destructive effects a massive deluge has had across Sydney over the weekend
Sydney, including the northern beaches, was expected to experience “light rain” this afternoon but said the worst of the strong winds and heavy rainfall was “behind us”, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
A number of sinkholes have now opened up along the coastline threatening more damage to homes. Emergency crews worked to save beachfront properties on Monday.
Local resident David told the ABC: “There is no beach at Collaroy,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be calling it Collaroy Beach anymore, I’d be calling it Collaroy Point.”
One Collaroy resident Matt Kemp posted footage of the carnage, which shows Ms Silk’s pool washing into the ocean.
“I also saw power poles, wheelie bins and roofs and heaps of garden furniture washing past,” Mr Kemp wrote on Facebook.
“Pretty crazy. No rain for ages and then whoosh, have a bit of that.”
Heavy rain is predicted to continue across central and southern parts of the state as the monster east coast low that lashed Queensland and NSW over the weekend heads south towards Tasmania.
Rivers rose across Sydney on Monday which had a major impact on traffic and transport.
More than 226,000 homes and businesses lost power during the weekend storms, with thousands still yet to have their electricity restored.
The NSW government will fast-track applications for emergency funding, including interest-free loans and grants for individuals, small business and community groups of up to $130,000.
So far, $30 million worth of insurance claims have been made.
Legal Aid NSW has also advised those affected that it will be providing them with free legal advice, if required.