Australia Weather News

The NSW Tweed Heads area has been declared a natural disaster area after a night of heavy rain caused flooding. - ABC

Dangerous weekend along the coast

The Bureau of Meteorology warns the beaches will be extremely dangerous along the NSW coast this weekend and people should stay out of the water.

A hazardous surf warning has been issued. Thunderstorms, damaging swell, inundation, tidal surges and coastal erosion are expected.

The advice comes after a night of heavy rain and flooding on the north coast, with Tweed Heads declared a natural disaster area.

The Tweed River at Tumbulgum peaked at 2.3 metres at 1.30 this morning, just below the major flood level.

Work continues to restore power

Repair crews are still working to try to restore power to about 18,000 customers throughout NSW by Sunday.

Some of the areas hit hardest by last week's extreme weather include Ashfield, Hornsby and Bankstown.

Ausgrid is facing questions over whether it has enough staff on hand to undertake the repair work.

Spokesman Shaun Fewings said it was some of the worst damage the network had seen in 20 years.

Uni orders spending cuts due to coronavirus

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has told staff to cut down on spending following a significant downturn of enrolments of Chinese students due to the coronavirus outbreak.

OUW's chief operating officer sent an email to staff last week clamping down on international travel, equipment purchases and conference attendance.

A spokesperson for UOW confirmed that steps had been taken to "shield the organisation … by controlling costs".

The university has roughly 2,200 Chinese students enrolled — 1,082 of which are still abroad — and is planning to provide online alternatives for students unable to attend classes.

De Belin's future in doubt as trial drags on

An NRL expert says delays in Dragons' star Jack De Belin's rape trial are unlikely to make the league reverse its stand down policy.

Under the NRL's controversial 'no fault' stand down rule, De Belin cannot play rugby league until his trial has ended, and he is almost certain to miss the season's first four games.

However, a delay in his case means it will not be before the court until at least April, which puts his playing future in doubt.

NRL expert commentator Brad Walter said despite the delays, the league was unlikely to make concessions.

"There's no indication of any change or anything happening in that regard," he said.