Stay Safe This Wet Weather Weekend – Wollongong

With more rain on the way, Wollongong City Council is encouraging people to stay safe this weekend.

A little over a month after the city had a huge amount of rain that led to a Natural Disaster Declaration, there are predictions of more significant rainfall across the weekend, particularly on Saturday afternoon and into Sunday evening.

“We’re working closely with the SES who are advising there will be quite a lot of rain around this weekend,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM.

“We’ve got teams on standby to support the SES and our community should they be needed. Already this week we’ve had a number of sandbag-filling points across the city, and crews have been out inspecting culverts and other hotspots to ensure they’re as ready as they can be to manage rainfall.

“If the rain is consistent and regular, our city’s stormwater infrastructure is prepped and ready. It’s when we get rainfall that is heavy, fast and over a short period of time that we see flash flooding like we experienced in April. The volume of water that comes down off the escarpment into our suburbs and streets during an event like that is difficult to manage.”

Cr Bradbery said he understood that with the weekend’s predicted weather, it’s understandable that people who experienced flooding or had flooding in their community may be feeling concerned.

“It’s natural and completely understandable that some people may be feeling a little nervous or unsettled about this weather forecast,” he said.

“We’re a resilient community and one that supports one another. If you, your family, friends or neighbours are concerned now is the time to reach out and offer support. Sometimes just talking through your concerns can make a big difference.”

The SES also offers plenty of advice on preparing your home to manage the risks associated with flooding and rain.

Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said Council’s teams have this week been inspecting known flooding hotspots to ensure culverts and drains are clear of debris and ensuring regular deliveries of sand in key locations across the city to support residents to prepare their properties.

“Over the past 5 years, the Illawarra Emergency Operation Centre has been activated 17 times due to severe weather and impacts,” he said.

“While no two weather events are the same, we continue to fine tune and put into practice Council’s protocols to prepare the city.

“What makes this weekend’s weather forecast different is the fact we’ve had so much rain recently. This means we’re at increased risk of seeing landslip across the city and we’re asking people to be mindful of this as they move around the city.”

One area we’ve already seen land movement is at Scarborough where we’ve closed the footpath between Scarborough Public School and the Imperial Hotel due to a footpath collapse. We’re working with Transport for NSW to address repairs to the footpath urgently.

Council staff are also closely monitoring the city’s beach headlands and asking people to stay away from cliff faces on our rock platforms.

“Back in April 2022 we asked people to be cautious around headlands, particularly in our northern suburbs thanks to the steep topography, as well as the types of soil and rocks in the area,” Mr Doyle said.

“With all the rain we’ve had of late making the ground really sodden, there is an increased risk of ground movement. We’re asking that people be mindful of this as they move about the city.”

All of Council’s sports fields are currently closed with an inspection of their conditions planned for Monday 13 May.

We are also asking people if they’re using the city’s greenspaces for exercise to try and minimise any impact on to grass.

Fill-your-own sandbags

Based on the updated weather forecast for the next few days, we’re supporting residents with the opportunity to fill-your-own sandbags.

From 8am on Saturday 11 May more sand will be distributed at the following locations:

  • Bellambi Boat Ramp Overflow carpark
  • Fairy Meadow Beach carpark
  • Fred Finch Park carpark
  • Rex Jackson Oval, Walker Street, Helensburgh

Remember to bring your own bags (if you don’t have hessian bags, the supermarket “green” bags do the trick) and a shovel. If you’re looking for advice on how to prepare properties for heavy rainfall, we recommend checking out the SES website.

/Public Release. View in full here.