Flood risk persists in Australian towns as rains recede

Hundreds of people in the interior of New South Wales (NSW) have been ordered to evacuate as swollen rivers and catchments are flooding towns in southern and central western New South Wales.

With 104 emergency alerts in place statewide, officials have directed some residents of Forbes, Wagga Wagga and Gunnedah to evacuate the lowlands.

Severe flooding is expected in the central western town of Forbes on Thursday and Friday as communities reel from flooding weeks ago.

Ashley Sullivan of State Emergency Services told ABC TV on Thursday:

“Over the next few days, we can expect severe flooding, perhaps comparable to the 1952 flood in that area.

“While we have seen flooding in Forbes in recent months, we are urging communities to pay particular attention to the current warnings as these floods are higher than what we have seen in those floods.” He said.

Many other inland watersheds are coping with massive flooding, including along the Namoi River in the agricultural town of Gunnedah.

The towns of Tumut, Gundagai, Wagga Wagga, Hey and Kootamundra will also be flooded as the Murrumbidgee River reaches massive flood levels.

Flooding on the Murrumbidgee River, exacerbated by a combination of runoff from the Balingjak Dam and inflow from the Tumut River and other tributaries, has pushed peaks above the 1989 flood level at Gundagai.

The communities of Lightning Ridge and Walgett have also been isolated by the flooding of the Barwon and Darling river systems, and the catchments are likely to remain flooded for months.

Albury is also at risk of flooding as the Murray River rises to moderate flood levels on Thursday as major flooding in the border towns of Echuca and Moama continues into next week.

SES has issued several vigilance and action warnings to the town’s lowlands and nearby Corowa.

The floods came after Murray-Darling Basin authorities increased water discharge from the Hume Dam in response to persistent rains, closing the main road and the only access to the area.

Combined with the inflow from the Kiewa River downstream from the dam, the Murray River is expected to approach or exceed major flood levels in the city, one of the largest regional centers in the state.

SES has received 431 calls for assistance and conducted 15 flood reliefs in the last 24 hours.



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.