Nearly 70 flood warnings have been issued in New South Wales (NSW) and more rain is expected for much of the state this week, shifting focus to the southernmost Riverina region.
A low pressure system bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms is expected to hit New South Wales Wednesday through Friday.
Downpours could trigger renewed flooding along some rivers in the northwest, midwest and southwest inland catchments, where months of sustained rains have already caused flooding.
“There is a risk of flash flooding from severe bursts from severe thunderstorms, and potentially destructive wind gusts,” said Jane Golding, a meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, on Tuesday.
About 300 people have already been evacuated from Moama, near the border with Victoria, and floods could be higher than those of 1993 by Friday, the second worst record in the region. It is
Another evacuation was ordered near Murray Valley Regional Park, northeast of Moama, telling people to evacuate by Tuesday evening before evacuation routes are cut off.
Residents of East Moama were told to evacuate by 1pm on Wednesday.
State Emergency Services has dispatched more than 125,000 sandbags and set up two shelters in the area accommodating up to 550 people.
With nine aircraft and five high-clearance vehicles on standby statewide, up to 180 Defense personnel are available to support western NSW.
SES Assistant Commissioner Sean Kearns said the next 48 hours are critical, with up to 3,000 people in communities near Moama doing flood watch.
He said there have been six flood rescues and 50 calls for help in the past 24 hours.
“This situation is not over and will continue for the next few weeks,” Kearns told reporters.
“It may be blue skies, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be floods and rivers won’t rise.”
Prime Minister Dominic Perrotet has again warned that many communities are having a difficult week.
“Our dams are full. Our rivers are full,” he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be a difficult time, but we’ve overcome difficult times in the past.
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cook said the wet conditions are testing the resolve of flood-weary communities.
“This is what it looks like to get through three consecutive La Niñas,” she said.
“Our grounds are saturated and it’s been raining continuously.”
Massive flooding continues on the Macquarie River in Warren in the central west, slowly lowering the river level.
The Murrumbidgee River could reach major flooding in Narrandera on Tuesday night, prompting residents to evacuate over the weekend.
The water then flows downstream into the hay, which could cause major flooding by the end of the week.
People in Forbes who were forced to evacuate after the Lachlan River burst last week were told they could return with caution, but were advised to stay away from the floodwaters.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Perrottet visited the region on Monday.
Albanese warned that the threat of flooding is likely to continue for some time.
“We are living in very dangerous times in the coming days and weeks,” he said.
Perrottet issued an alert to flood-threatened communities over the summer and urged people to follow the advice of emergency services.