City of Newcastle's flash flood alert service provides early warning to residents

28 Aug 2020

City of Newcastle is encouraging residents to register for its free flash flood alert service after July brought record-breaking rainfall and severe East Coast Lows. 

July’s wet weather saw residents flock to the service to receive up-to-the-minute information, with a 41% increase in subscriptions between 25 July – the day before an East Coast Low dumped 107.6mm of rain at Nobbys weather station in three days – and mid-August. Subscriptions spiked from 3,337 to 4,711 across the eight zones. 

The late July weather event triggered moderate flood warnings to be issued across four zones, encompassing suburbs such as Wickham, Hamilton, New Lambton, Jesmond and Stockton. Around 2,000 emails and text messages were sent to residents, as well as 474 pre-recorded messages to landlines.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was the largest-scale alert distribution since the service was successfully trialled in Wallsend in 2017 and rolled out across the LGA in 2018. 

“Due to our city’s topography, heavy rainfall can cause flash flooding in low-lying areas extremely quickly,” the Lord Mayor said. 

“This is why our flash flood alert service is an important tool to help residents avoid hazardous areas and remind them to never walk or drive through fast-moving and unpredictable floodwaters, potentially preventing serious injury or worse. 

“Anyone can register for free, but those who would most benefit include those who live, work, visit or own a business in Newcastle.” 

The eight zones covered by the flash flood alert service are: 

  • Wallsend and Elermore Vale vicinity   
  • Jesmond, Birmingham Gardens and Callaghan   
  • Kotara and New Lambton vicinity   
  • Lambton, Hamilton, Islington, Broadmeadow and Mayfield
  • Merewether, Junction, Cooks Hill and Newcastle West
  • Carrington, Stockton, Maryville and Wickham
  • Beresfield, Tarro, Hexham and Sandgate
  • Stockton, Kooragang, Carrington and Wickham

You can register to receive alerts for multiple zones. Alerts are sent by SMS, email or recorded voice message to landline, and there are three levels: minor, moderate and major flood warning. 

The alerts are activated through the Early Warning Network (EWN), which continuously monitors local rainfall gauges and records intensity and duration. 

For more information, including how to register, visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/floodalert