Riverine and flash flooding flooding information for the Derwent River and Lachlan River at New Norfolk. See also the related flood guide for the Lachlan River above New Norfolk.

DRAFT – Please email any comments to ses@ses.tas.gov.au

Parts of New Norfolk are subject to flooding from the Derwent and/or from the Lachlan Rivers.  The Derwent and Lachlan Rivers may flood at the same time or at different times. Low lying areas may also be impacted by storm water runoff following local high rainfall events.

The maps show the estimated flood levels for widespread rain that has a 2%, 1% and 0.5% chance of happening any year (% Annual Exceedance Probability). You are likely to experience these levels of flooding at least once in your lifetime. 

Derwent River flooding

Widespread heavy rainfall in the Derwent catchment as far away as Lake St Clair and yingina/ Great Lake can flood low-lying riverside areas of New Norfolk. The bridge across the river may be cut.  Such floods can isolate the New Norfolk and surrounding areas.

Tides, melting snow, the level of soil moisture and the dam levels can impact flood levels.  During storms, sea levels can rise and this can increase flooding at high tide. However, dam level management is not likely to have a significant impact on flood levels during a major flood.

Lachlan River flooding

Flooding from the Lachlan River is fed by high rainfall on kunanyi / Mount Wellington. It is difficult to predict and there is often little to no warning.  Tynwald Park and the nearby highway can become inundated.  See the related flood guide for the Lachlan River for more details.

Are you at risk of flood?

New Norfolk has a long history of flooding.  The most significant flood since European settlement in 1960 flooded many homes and other buildings near the river and isolated the area. Flooding also happened in 1916, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1958, 1962, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1988, 1991, 1994, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2016 and 2018.

It is important to be prepared for major flooding events that may not have happened within most people’s living memory.

What should I do?

  • Check the map opposite to see whether your home or business is likely to be at risk of flooding during a flood.
  • Prepare a Home Emergency Plan, including whether you need to evacuate in advance of a flood, where you will go and what you need to take.
  • If you have a business in the area, you should have a plan that covers flooding.  Business Tasmania can help– see www.business.tas.gov.au/manage_a_business/ 
  • If you need to evacuate or return home during a flood, make sure your route is safe.
  • Asses your home or business and know what you need to do to prepare it to minimise possible damage from water inundation.

Floods like the one shown on the map, or worse, will occur again. No two floods are the same.

If you live in a low-lying area or near a watercourse, your house may flood. Even if your home is safe, you may need to detour around flooded areas or your road access may be cut. Never drive into or enter flood waters. Roads and bridges may be washed out or unsafe. Avoid travel during floods.

Knowing what to do can save your life and help protect your property. Having a Home Emergency Plan is one of the best ways to prepare. Decide on weather and rainfall triggers for when to act.

Bureau of Meteorology Forecasts, Warnings, and Observations

The Bureau of Meteorology monitors rainfall and river levels in the upper reaches of the Derwent River.  They issue flood warnings when river levels are likely to reach the following heights. SES works closely with the Bureau to provide timely warnings where possible.

River gauges Alert Minor Moderate Major
Ouse River at Ashton 2.4m 2.4m 3.2 4.5
Ouse River at 3B Weir   3.0 3.7 4.3
Clyde River at Bothwell 0.9m 2.0m 3.0 4.0
Styx River at Bruces Bridge   2.0m n/a n/a
Derwent River below Meadowbank Dam 4.1m 4.1m 6.1m 7.3m
Derwent River at Macquarie Plains 4.0m 4.0m 5.0m 6.7m
Plenty River at Feilton   2.8m n/a n/a
Derwent River at New Norfolk   2.0m (2.3m estimated 50% AEP) 4.0m (4.3m estimated 10%AEP) 6.0 (6.3m  estimated 1% AEP)


  • % AEP (Annual Exceedance Probability) is estimated and only a rough guide. Rainfall levels and so flood levels can differ greatly across the catchment in a flooding event. More precise estimates of gauge and flood warning levels is a work in progress.
  • A major level in the upper catchment may not translate to a major level at New Norfolk if there is not high rainfall in other parts of the catchment.
  • While previously the 1960 flood was considered about a 0.75%AEP event (1 in 150 year event), more recent information suggests the event was more rare, that is, with less than a 0.5% chance of happening any year.

For information on flood warnings in the Lachlan River see the related Lachlan River Flood Guide.  In summary, there are no water level gauges on this river – the short catchment does not give enough time to issue a warning before flooding arrives.  Keep an eye on rainfall on kunanyi/ the Wellington Range.

Whenever heavy rain is expected in an area that may lead to flooding, the Bureau issues

  • Severe Weather Warning and/or
  • Thunderstorm Warning for heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.

Download BOM Weather app and set your location to receive push notifications of warnings (more details at www.bom.gov.au/app/) .

Listen to ABC 936AM or go to tasalert.com for warnings.

Understand the warnings and key information

Keep aware of what is happening around you. Check forecasts, observations and warnings regularly.

 Advice (Yellow): an incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes. 
Watch and Act (Orange): There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect you and your family
Emergency Warning (Red): An Emergency Warning is the highest level of warning. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk. 
Community update (Blue): Specific information and updates for affected communities regarding a particular event or incident.
Incident (White): an incident is the initial occurrence of an event before it becomes an emergency warning. As soon as an incident is reported, TasALERT published basic information including the type and location of incident.

Flood levels around the Derwent River

While no two floods are the same, the following describes what is likely to happen if there is flooding around the area. Even if your property is not flooded, you need to think about access.

The rainfall amounts that might cause such an event are examples. Other levels of rainfall can cause flooding depending on

  • where the rain falls
  • how heavy the rain is
  • how long the rain lasts, and
  • how wet the ground is beforehand.

Melting snow can also contribute to flooding.

Minor flooding (Derwent River level at New Norfolk is at least 2m)

This level of flooding has an estimated 20-50% chance of happening any year.

  • Water spills over riverbanks and covers nearby low-lying areas. 
  • There are some areas of Tynwald Park and New Norfolk’s riverside parklands inundated.
  • Agricultural and horticultural land on river flats around Sorell Creek may be at risk.  Livestock should be moved from these areas.

Moderate flooding (Derwent River level at New Norfolk is at least 4m)

This level of flooding has an estimated 5-10% chance of happening any year.

  • There is extensive flooding of Tynwald Park, riverside parkland areas and some low-lying nearby properties, mostly below floor height.
  • The caravan park and other riverside facilities are likely to be impacted..
  • Low lying areas of railway line may be impacted.

Major flooding (Derwent River level at New Norfolk reaches at least 6m).

Widespread heavy rainfall across the catchment that has a 1- 2% chance or less of happening can cause major flooding.  This level of widespread rainfall around Bushy Park might be more than for example:

  • 51mm at Bushy Park and 61mm at Derwent Bridge over 6 hours
  • 57mm at Bushy Park and 89mm at Derwent Bridge over 12 hours
  • 73mm at Bushy Park and 129mm at Derwent Bridge over 24 hours
  • 90mm at Bushy Park and 183mm at Derwent Bridge over 48 hours

Note the level of flooding can depend on many factors, such as where the rain falls and how widespread it is, and how wet the catchment is beforehand.  Areas that are likely to be flooded from Derwent River flooding in a major flood event include:

  • The Lyell Highway/ Molesworth Road intersection
  • New Norfolk Esplanade
  • Upper Boyer Road / Rocks Road from Boyer Road to Station St
  • Lyell Highway Derwent crossing at New Norfolk and lower Hamilton Road
  • Glenora Road #95-#119
  • 130 Hamilton Road
  • Lyell Highway Back River crossing
  • Glenora Road Glen Fern Creek
  • Glenora Road W of New Norfolk
  • Derwent Valley Railway, various areas

Areas that are likely to be flooded from Lachlan River around New Norfolk include:.

  • Tynwald Park and nearby Lyell Highway
  • Lower Road on the Lachlan River
  • Humphrey St/ lower Lachlan Rd

Please see the related flood guide for the Lachlan River for more details.

In a major flood event, the New Norfolk area may become isolated from Hobart and upstream areas due to water across the Lyell Highway, Boyer Road and Plenty Road. The areas on the north and south side of the river are likely to become isolated as the bridge becomes flooded or dangerous.  Other potential areas of isolation are:

  • South-eastern New Norfolk/ Brookside
  • New Norfolk Central Business District (south of the Derwent)
  • New Norfolk north side river, Lawitta, Magra
  • Pulpit Rock Road
  • Glenora Road
  • Glenfern Road and surrounds
  • Lachlan and surrounds

If flooding levels reach the same heights as the 1960 floods in New Norfolk (6.8m at New Norfolk), flooding in the areas already listed will be deeper, and water could spread to the following areas.

North side of the Derwent River     

  • Extension of flooding along Rocks Road to above the rail line
  • Properties on Golding Avenue, Oast Street, Station Street, Craw Street
  • Lower Back River Road
  • The rail line west of bridge and all properties below

South side east side of the New Norfolk Bridge over the Derwent 

  • Bridge Street, ‘The Woodbridge’ accommodation riverside building
  • All properties on Page Avenue and Ferry Street, Montegu Street, Alfred Street
  • The sewage works

South side Derwent River west of the bridge     

  • Glenora Road to past Water treatment plant and further low-lying properties near the river
  • The bottom end of Glenfern Road
New Norfolk in flood 1960 showing inundation along the Esplanade and surrounding streets, and along the north shore reaching close to the oval.

Image: New Norfolk in flood 1960 by Pauline Plunkett

Go to tasalerts.com or listen to ABC local radio for detailed up to date information and advice during heavy rainfall events.

Know your risk, get ready, reduce risk where you can, connect with others, stay alert and act safe.

Before a flood

1. Know your risk

Flooding often happens in Tasmania and can cause widespread and significant damage. In the past 200 years there have been 78 flood related deaths in Tasmania. This guide is to help you understand flood risk in your area.

2. Prepare your household

Have an emergency plan that covers storms and floods

Thinking about what you would do in a storm or flood means you are more prepared and everyone is safer. Have an emergency plan that everyone in your household understands. There are checklists to help you think through your plan – see the SES website or Red Cross Rediplan.
Check your plan regularly and test it by everyone in the household thinking through a flooding scenario that may affect your household.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Ready to Go

  • Battery powered radio and torch, spare batteries
  • Important information, such as your emergency plan
  • A list of emergency numbers
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit
  • Rubber or strong leather gloves

Pack when needed

  • Warm clothes, sturdy shoes or boots
  • Medicine, glasses or other essential items
  • Mobile phone and phone charger
  • Pet food and anything else they need
  • Photos and special keepsakes
  • Money
  • Important documents, for example
    • insurance papers
    • passports and
    • birth certificates

Regularly test batteries in radios and torches.

3. Reduce your risk from flooding where you can

  • Think about storms, flooding and other hazards when buying, maintaining or developing property.
  • Trim or remove trees and branches overhanging your home, business or near powerlines on your property.
  • Keep your gutters and drains clear.

4. Connect with others

Know your neighbours and get involved in your community.  A connected community is a safer and more resilient community in an emergency and can help everyone recover better afterwards. Check that family and neighbours are safe and aware of what’s happening.

See for example the Huon Valley Good Neighbour project.


5. Keep up to date

Keep aware of what is happening around you. Check forecasts, observations and warnings regularly. 

6. Act Safe

  • Supervise children.
  • Prepare for possible power, water or internet outages.
  • Check your emergency kit is ready to go.
  • Keep clear of flooded areas such as drains. NEVER walk, play, ride or drive in floodwater. You can’t always see what is under the water or how deep or fast-moving the water is. It is easy to be swept away and drown in as little as 20cm of fast-moving water. Flood water can be dangerous.

When your home may be flooded

  • Put household items up high to minimise possible damage.
  • Turn off the electricity and gas if it is safe to do so. 
  • A great way to stop sewerage flowing back into your home is to place sandbags inside plastic bags and use them to block toilets and cover drains and sinks.
  • Leave while you can get out safely.

If you need to evacuate

  • Follow the advice from SES / Tasmania Police.  
  • Take your emergency kit. 
  • Go to friends or family in a safer place or an evacuation centre. 
  • Let others know where you have gone.

Look after your animals

You are responsible for your animals in an emergency. If you have pets and other animals it will take you longer to evacuate in a flood or other emergency. Move livestock from flood prone areas well before flood waters may rise.  For more information see

Avoid travelling during storms and after storms

  • Do not go sightseeing. Sightseers delay emergency services and cause accidents.
  • Watch out for hazards such as
    • water over roads
    • damaged powerlines
    • landslides
    • damaged roads
    • falling trees or roofing iron.
  • Never drive through flood waters. Most deaths and rescues in floods are from people driving through flood waters.
  • Drive slowly and turn your headlights on roads not affected by flood waters.


  • Keep listening for ABC Local Radio updates, road re-openings, community meetings, etc.
  • If you left your home, do not return home until SES or Tasmania Police tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Be aware of road hazards, such as mud or debris on the road, damaged roads/bridges and crews working on clean-up and repairs.

If your home has been damaged

  • Stay at ground level while checking for damage. Be careful of fallen trees, broken glass, loose roofing or other hazards.
  • Wear strong boots, gloves and protective clothes. 
  • Use a torch, never use matches or candles inside flood affected buildings. 
  • Boil all drinking water until you are told the tap water is safe again.
  • Do not turn on it is tested by a licensed electrician or gas fitter for safety.
  • If your home is damaged and you need to stay somewhere else, take your emergency kit and pets with you
  • Take photos of any damage if safe for you to do so and contact your insurance company.
  • Supervise children.
  • Check neighbours are okay.

For further information go to www.ses.tas.gov.au

Staying informed and further information

Current warnings (TasAlerts) alerts.tas.gov.au

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)

Emergency Broadcasters ABC 936AM

TASSES Social Media

  • facebook.com/sestasmania
  • twitter.com/sestasmania

Preparing for Flood Emergencies ses.tas.gov.au/plan-prepare/flood 

Derwent Valley Council  derwentvalley.tas.gov.au   6261 8500

National Relay Service (NRS) relayservice.gov.au