The State Emergency Service has received nearly 5,000 requests for assistance from severely damaged flood-hit areas of New South Wales, with a local mayor describing the amount of water as astonishing.
- SES responded to 5,000 calls for help and made several rescues
- The peak at Gunnedah overnight was higher than the authorities expected and hung around for 12 hours
- Helicopters are being used to obtain supplies for isolated residents near Gunnedah and Wee Waa
Major flood warnings are still in place for parts of the Namoi and Macquarie rivers in the north of the state and the Lachlan river in the central west.
The Namoi River continues to flood the northwestern part of the state after a weekend of significant damage and water level rises.
At Gunnedah it is at 8.31 m and is stable at the moment after a peak on Sunday.
An evacuation center was set up at the local basketball stadium in the city to help residents get to higher terrain, and SES reported several rescues across the state, including an elderly couple.
Mayor Jamie Chaffey said the amount of water accumulating throughout the region was astounding.
“Wolseley Park, our main park in the center of Gunnedah, is a lake at the moment, our tennis courts are completely covered, drenched.
“Most of our gravel roads have been impacted across the shire, some have been completely washed away.
“We do not know until the water falls completely back on how big the damage is and what the bill will be,” he said.
SES has lifted supplies to homes isolated by floods on either side of Namoi, which will continue.
Isolated for days
Farmer Courtney Evans lives on the outskirts of town and has been cut off from flooding for a week.
She said she had fed her children with greased cruskits until the rural fire department chopped food supplies into their property.
Her children were relieved to be filled up with Vegemite.
“It was a relief to know that we no longer have to live off staples, we can actually have meals,” she said.
Evans expects to be isolated for another four to five days.
Narrabri harnesses to peak
Downstream in Narrabri, the floods continued to rise, and local SES crews spent the weekend sanding properties in preparation.
The city is already experiencing major floods, with a peak of 7.6 m expected later tonight.
Northwest of Narrabri, the town of Wee Waa is cut off by floods, and SES’s Dave Rankin said they expected the major floods to linger.
“We can safely assume that Wee Waa will be isolated for the best part of a week, so at least until Saturday we can expect road access to Wee Waa not exist,” he said.
SES has located a helicopter in Narrabri specifically to help supply the isolated community.
Rankin said emergency services had rescued several people in the region despite strong messages to stay away from flooded roads.
“Disappointingly, we still see some people trying to drive through that floodwater,” he said.
“We have had quite a few rescues overnight along the Namoi hinterland where people are still ignoring road signs and trying to drive through floods.
“Not just wheel height, but quite significant, deep flood water.”