News Rain eases in northern NSW, but the south braces for wild winds and surf

Rain eases in northern NSW, but the south braces for wild winds and surf

A woman's body has been found in floodwaters at Lismore

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Gale force winds, heavy surf and high tides are expected across southern NSW on Friday, as floodwaters in the north of the state recede.

The rains that had battered the north have eased as Lismore and Byron Bay reel from devastating flooding.

Meanwhile, police said they had recovered the body of a woman whose vehicle became trapped in floods at Lismore, on the NSW northern rivers, earlier this week.

It is yet to be formally identified, but is believed to be the body of 55-year-old Anita Brakel. It was found on Thursday night, in floodwaters in North Lismore.

Ms Brakel’s 2017 Holden Captiva, with NSW registration YHS 51F – which she was driving at the time – has not yet been located.

Wilsons River peaked at 11.4 metres in Lismore earlier this week, below expectations it might reach 12 metres.

The Bureau of Meteorology said floodwaters in Lismore were now below the town’s levee height of 10.6 metres.

But with two low-pressure systems colliding along the south-east of the state, rain was expected to hit Newcastle and Sydney on Friday. It will extend as far south as the Victorian border into the weekend before easing on Sunday.

Gusts will pick up, reaching up to 100km/h. Waves also will be much higher, reaching nine metres in some coastal areas, the BOM said.

The sodden This and That boutique in Byron Bay. Photo: AAP

Meanwhile the NSW government, which has been criticised for its flood response by the state opposition and residents in Lismore and Byron Bay, has joined with national non-profit GIVIT to encourage the public to donate to flood victims.

The government said the arrangement “allows councils, local charities and community groups to tell us exactly what they need”.

GIVIT works to meet these needs through an online warehouse or by buying requested items locally using donations.