Australia storms: Byron Bay’s Main Beach ‘all but disappeared’

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Byron Bay’s famous beach has all but disappeared, as extreme weather batters Australia’s east coast, officials say.

Main Beach – a popular tourist destination – had already been depleted due to previous erosions.

But local mayor Simon Richardson said “severe weather” and “massive swells” were smashing what was left. “We’re watching our beach disappear,” he said.

A 1,000km (620 mile) stretch of coast is being hit with torrential rain and “abnormally high” tides.

More than 2,000 homes in cities, including Brisbane and the Gold Coast, lost electricity on Monday after strong winds struck power lines.

Tides up to 8m (26ft) high were recorded, eroding the shoreline in some areas, including Byron Bay.

Emergency services said they had received over 700 calls for help since Sunday. About half a dozen people stranded in floodwaters had been rescued, they added.

Meteorologists have warned that this Australian summer will see the impacts of a La NiƱa weather pattern, which typically brings more rainfall and tropical cyclones.

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