NSW wet weather inundates Central Coast as rockslide damages homes at Great Mackerel Beach

Police say two homes have been damaged — one extensively — during a rockslide at Great Mackerel Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches.

An exclusion zone has been set up at the scene and residents from six nearby homes remain evacuated because of safety concerns.

Eight properties were initially evacuated but residents from two of the houses have been allowed to return home this afternoon.

The land where the rockslide happened is owned by National Parks. Officers said geotechnical experts would assess the area when weather permitted it.

Great Mackerel Beach, near Palm Beach, is accessible by boat only and is home to just over 100 properties.

Police said the rockslide happened just after midnight and nobody had been injured.

But there are still concerns the rocks could cause further damage if there is any more movement.

Mackerel Beach Rural Fire Service Senior Deputy Captain Bob Mitchell was on the scene last night and helped alert residents to the danger.

“Looking at it this morning, there’s a lot more damage than what we thought; structural damage to the houses, major beams being broken out from under houses,” he said.

“One lady, she’s in a little bit of shock at the moment — that’s to be understood — and the other people … they’re looking at a major repair to a house, so [we’ll] see what they can do with it.”

Lorraine Kemp said the back deck and spare bedroom of her holiday house had been destroyed.

“It’s a bit of a shock,” she said.

“Structurally it’s not safe to go in so we’re not even allowed to go up to get a few bits.”

Ms Kemp has lost a home once before in bushfires seven years ago.

The rockfall comes as rain lashes parts of NSW due to a trough that is sitting almost stationary off the east coast.

Small communities across the Central Coast have been inundated by heavy rain and strong winds, forcing multiple rescues and callouts for emergency crews.

NSW State Emergency Service (SES) crews have responded to 150 jobs in the region — 100 from Gosford and another 50 from Wyong — mainly to deal with leaking roofs and branches down.

There were at least five flood rescues from cars, mostly on the Central Coast, but also at Williamtown north of Newcastle.

Rescues were due largely to people driving into water and then needing to be extracted.

Central Coast SES commander Rolf Garda labelled some drivers as fools.

“The early ones were just mishaps, just genuine accidents. We don’t begrudge that, that happens,” he said.

“But the fools who were just going around barriers and driving through trying to be heroes, it takes the gloss off from the volunteers’ perspective.”

Wallis Lakes Pacific Palms on the Mid North Coast recorded 210 millimetres in six hours and 82mm was recorded at nearby Bungwahl over the same period.

Williamtown Airport recorded 129mm to 9:00am with a further 62mm to 3:00pm, causing the flash flooding.

‘This is pretty full on’

Mark Bunyan from the rural area of Matcham on the Central Coast said it had been a worrying night.

“The flood came up in 10 hours, if that. Last night it wasn’t too bad, it was just a wet paddock, but by this morning six o’clock it is what you see now, just a torrent of brown water,” he said.

“I am a bit concerned, the way it’s coming down at the moment, this is pretty full on … I am a little concerned that this may go a little bit higher.”

North of Newcastle, the small communities of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest were cut off by rising floodwaters.

The SES said Myall Way and Viney Creek Road were closed.

Martin Laidler, who has been holidaying in Tea Gardens with his six-year-old daughter, was attempting to leave this afternoon.

He is now taking refuge in the local library

“I’ve got two choices basically, I just hold out and hope for a break in the weather — and the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to change for the next day or days,” he said.

“Or I’ll have to go and book into a motel room and try to keep my daughter entertained as best I can.”

SES crews have checked on waterfront homes on the Coast at Wamberal, where big seas caused erosion over the winter, and a number of houses remain perched precariously over the water.

They reported no immediate risk, no indication that land is slipping, and no warning of high seas.

There is more rainfall ahead for the region and other parts of eastern New South Wales through the week due to inland troughs and associated lows.

Models suggest most of the heavier falls will be closer to the coast, especially in the areas between about Forster on the Mid North Coast and the South Coast, including the Hunter and Sydney coast.

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