Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek flash flood warning system

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2017 flood damage to Shackles Bridge in Burringbar (image courtesy of Serena V Dolinska)2017 flood damage to Shackles Bridge in Burringbar (image courtesy of Serena V Dolinska)



Tweed Shire Council, with assistance from NSW State Emergency Service (SES) and other government agencies, is building a flash flood warning system for the Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek areas.

The community was asked to complete a survey to help design the flash flood warning system. This survey has now closed.

Previous flood risk management studies have shown that these areas are subject to flash flooding with little to no warning. The March 2017 flood event proved this with many people caught unawares by flooding.

Funded under the NSW and Commonwealth Government's Natural Disaster Resilience Program, the flash flood warning system will enable residents to prepare their properties and/or evacuate to a safe place prior to the onset of flooding to avoid being caught out by flooding in the middle of the night.

Australian Goverment logo New South Wales Government logo


Flooding in Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek

Photo of flooded Greenvale Court in BurringbarMany areas of Burringbar and Crabbes Creek catchments are known to flood. Key areas of concern include:

  • Dignan Street/Hunter Street/Tweed Valley Way areas
  • Mooball (both north and south of the railway embankment)
  • Crabbes Creek Village
  • various rural road crossings (e.g. Greenvale Court culvert)

View the map of flooding areas.

A key consideration for flooding in the area is the lack of warning time. Floods can occur within a few hours of heavy rainfall leaving not time for resident to prepare and/or evacuate.

The small Burringbar Creek and Crabbes Creek catchments are not covered by Bureau of Meteorology flood warnings as the time between rainfall and flooding is too short. Therefore, Council plans to develop an automated flash flood warning system to provide advanced notice of approaching floods to local residents.


Flash flood warning system

The flash flood warning system has two main components: flood forecasting and warning distribution.

The flood forecasting system involves a cloud based computer system, running continuously, that accepts data from the local rain and stream gauges and combines this with various Bureau of Meteorology prediction products to forecast flooding into the near future.

The forecasting system will be monitored at all times. When predictions exceed certain thresholds a warning will be distributed to the community, SES and Council advising of approaching flooding, the expected timeframe and magnitude at key locations.

Warnings can be distributed by a number of pathways such as SMS, automated voice calls and sirens. These will be selected based on the community’s preference.

For context, below are links to similar flood warning systems other councils are already using:


Community consultation

The community was asked to complete a survey to help design the flash flood warning system. This survey has now closed.

Key questions needing community input include:

  • What are your biggest flood concerns?
  • What flood impacts do you need to know about in advance (e.g. road access closing)?
  • How much warning time do you need to prepare your home?
  • How much warning time do you need to evacuate?
  • How would you like to receive warnings (SMS, phone, siren etc)?
  • What level of flooding do you consider minor/moderate/major at your location?

A community advisory group is also planned to directly advise Council Officers.


2017 flood damage to Shackles Bridge in Burringbar (image courtesy of Serena V Dolinska)2017 flood damage to Shackles Bridge in Burringbar (image courtesy of Serena V Dolinska)



Tweed Shire Council, with assistance from NSW State Emergency Service (SES) and other government agencies, is building a flash flood warning system for the Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek areas.

The community was asked to complete a survey to help design the flash flood warning system. This survey has now closed.

Previous flood risk management studies have shown that these areas are subject to flash flooding with little to no warning. The March 2017 flood event proved this with many people caught unawares by flooding.

Funded under the NSW and Commonwealth Government's Natural Disaster Resilience Program, the flash flood warning system will enable residents to prepare their properties and/or evacuate to a safe place prior to the onset of flooding to avoid being caught out by flooding in the middle of the night.

Australian Goverment logo New South Wales Government logo


Flooding in Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek

Photo of flooded Greenvale Court in BurringbarMany areas of Burringbar and Crabbes Creek catchments are known to flood. Key areas of concern include:

  • Dignan Street/Hunter Street/Tweed Valley Way areas
  • Mooball (both north and south of the railway embankment)
  • Crabbes Creek Village
  • various rural road crossings (e.g. Greenvale Court culvert)

View the map of flooding areas.

A key consideration for flooding in the area is the lack of warning time. Floods can occur within a few hours of heavy rainfall leaving not time for resident to prepare and/or evacuate.

The small Burringbar Creek and Crabbes Creek catchments are not covered by Bureau of Meteorology flood warnings as the time between rainfall and flooding is too short. Therefore, Council plans to develop an automated flash flood warning system to provide advanced notice of approaching floods to local residents.


Flash flood warning system

The flash flood warning system has two main components: flood forecasting and warning distribution.

The flood forecasting system involves a cloud based computer system, running continuously, that accepts data from the local rain and stream gauges and combines this with various Bureau of Meteorology prediction products to forecast flooding into the near future.

The forecasting system will be monitored at all times. When predictions exceed certain thresholds a warning will be distributed to the community, SES and Council advising of approaching flooding, the expected timeframe and magnitude at key locations.

Warnings can be distributed by a number of pathways such as SMS, automated voice calls and sirens. These will be selected based on the community’s preference.

For context, below are links to similar flood warning systems other councils are already using:


Community consultation

The community was asked to complete a survey to help design the flash flood warning system. This survey has now closed.

Key questions needing community input include:

  • What are your biggest flood concerns?
  • What flood impacts do you need to know about in advance (e.g. road access closing)?
  • How much warning time do you need to prepare your home?
  • How much warning time do you need to evacuate?
  • How would you like to receive warnings (SMS, phone, siren etc)?
  • What level of flooding do you consider minor/moderate/major at your location?

A community advisory group is also planned to directly advise Council Officers.