A car driving through floodwater on Brewster St near the Lismore shopping centre
A car driving through floodwater on Brewster St near the Lismore shopping centre Leah White

Drivers, swimmers, surfers ignored warnings in savage storm

STICKYBEAKERS, cavalier drivers and careless swimmers and surfers have left emergency services dumfounded during the dangerous weather event to hit the Northern Rivers over the weekend.

The SES performed 54 flood rescues from the time the rain started falling on Friday through to the minor to moderate flooding that continued into Saturday and Sunday.

That means crews had to rescue people trapped in their cars, despite repeated pleas from the SES not to drive through dangerous floodwaters.

Northern Star reporter Leah White even took video footage of a car driving across a flooded road and then almost doing a burn out as it sped off in Lismore's CBD.

One letter writer to The Northern Star described how one motorist nearly came unstuck in downtown Lismore on Sunday.

"At the height of the flood in Lismore on Sunday afternoon a utility driven by an older man, with an older female passenger, ignored a 'road closed' sign in Zadoc Street and proceeded down the steep slope, in front of the police station, towards to turbulent Wilsons River," Maurice Rowe said.

"Then of course they had to turn around - a difficult move at any time on the side of a hill - and there was nothing but air between them and the fast current.

"My heart was in my mouth as I watched this scene unfold. One mistake or a mechanical failure and the result could have been disastrous"

In Byron Bay, lifeguard personnel were disappointed by the behaviour of some swimmers and surfers who decided to take to extremely messy waters off Byron Bay because there was a break in the rain.

Local lifeguard supervisor Ruben Roxbourgh said surfers were ignoring warnings and obviously still hazardous conditions to head out on the water, making the job of lifeguards even more difficult.