Illawarra resident prepare ahead of torrential rain, damaging winds | Illawarra Mercury

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Sandbag collection points have been hives of activity as Illawarra residents prepare for a deluge of rain to hit the region. The State Emergency Service’s Shellharbour unit had organised for sandbags to be made available at Albion Park Showground and Myimbarr Fields in Shellharbour from 10am on Tuesday, but those who arrived at that time – or even a little earlier – found they had already been snapped up. The unit later replenished these sites and set up a collection at its headquarters, but these – and several sites in Wollongong – remained in high demand. Read more: Rain totals could hit 250mm in Illawarra on Wednesday Among those picking up sandbags for their property were Oak Flats residents Carol Maloney and Mike Taylor, whose garage gets flooded with substantial rain. Ms Maloney said they had six inches of water in their garage a few weeks ago and while they tried to move possessions out of harm’s way, they could not put everything up. She said it was good to see the community spirit yesterday as people helped one another fill their bags. Calderwood resident Tori Johnston was among those embodying this community spirit, having offered to put up other people’s horses in her paddocks if they were at risk of floodwater and help with transport if needed. Read more: Bulli filmmakers could be heading to the Oscars after big win “I decided to offer up space for people’s horses because fortunately I’m in a position where I can do so, I know quite a few people who came close to needing to evacuate the last time we flooded and this one is forecasted to be much worse,” Miss Johnston said. While she did not have much space, she said, she would help out the best she could, and liked to think others would do the same if she found herself in need of help. Councils have been working to mitigate the impact of the impending deluge across the Illawarra. Wollongong City Council general manager Greg Doyle said staff had been preparing to support emergency service agencies if needed. “Our staff have also been out and about inspecting higher-risk locations where we know flash flooding may occur to make sure that these locations are as prepared as they can be,” Mr Doyle said. Read more: Government asked to intervene over shocking living conditions at Windang caravan park “Today, our crews have been out inspecting our city’s culverts and stormwater infrastructure as part of our preparedness.” Staff were on standby with signage in the case roads needed to be closed or there was water over roads, he said, and teams would be ready should the winds bring down any trees in public spaces. If you need emergency assistance in a storm, call the SES on 132 500. If the situation is life-threatening, call triple-0. To read more stories, download the Illawarra Mercury news app in the Apple Store or Google Play. Sign up for breaking news emails below…


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