The decomposing carcass of a sperm whale that was unearthed by massive swell is now adrift in the ocean.
Newcastle City Council staff were due to re-bury the dead whale today but high tide claimed the carcass first.
Monster swell devours coast
THOUSANDS of tonnes of sand have been stripped from Hunter beaches in the past 24 hours.
The seven-metre plus swell that gnawed away at the coastline during yesterday’s high tide left some areas alarmingly exposed.
Among the most dramatic sights to be uncovered was a buried whale carcass that had been washed up at The Cliff two years ago to the day.
Newcastle City Council staff are due to re-bury the decomposing carcass today.
Shortland Esplanade between Newcastle and Nobbys was closed at 5.30pm yesterday because the huge swells battering the coast were washing across the road.
Video filmed and produced by Dean Osland
The State Emergency Service Hunter branch said it had received 88 call outs since Monday for downed tree branches, leaking roofs, debris on roads and minor flooding around the region.
Fire and Rescue NSW had a strike team on stand-by in case flooding or destruction got out control.
Police said there had been few car accidents despite the treacherous conditions.
Great Lakes Council staff worked around the clock to prevent the sea breaking through The Esplanade at Jimmy’s beach, one of the state’s erosion hot spots.
About 170 truckloads of sand were dumped at the beach on Tuesday and another 200 loads yesterday.
Despite the replenishment, an estimated five metres of sand was lost.
‘‘At 10am yesterday [Wednesday] we were going backwards big time,’’ Great Lakes Council parks and recreation manager David Bortfeld said.
An estimated 100 metres of shoreline has been lost from the beach since the 1960s.
It is widely believed that sand swept from Jimmy’s beach is ultimately clogging up the nearby Myall River.
A state government taskforce is considering options for the best way to manage the sand movement.
‘‘This has been going on for 30 years. Those in authority need to take action because things are just getting worse,’’ Myall River action group’s Gordon Grainger said. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie beaches experienced moderate erosion.
The worst of Sydney’s wild weather is over, but monster waves and flash flooding remain a threat. The Bureau of Meteorology has gale warnings in place between Point Danger and Crowdy Head near Port Macquarie and nine-metre waves are expected to pound the coast.
A spokesman said the strong wind was expected to ease across most of the state today.
‘‘The worst of it is certainly finished,’’ meteorologist Andrew Haigh said.