NSW floods: Thousands more ordered to evacuate as rain swells rivers

Maureen DettreAAP
More rain and flooding is forecast for NSW, with the drenching shifting to the Mid North Coast.
Camera IconMore rain and flooding is forecast for NSW, with the drenching shifting to the Mid North Coast. Credit: AAP

The heavy rain that has been pounding areas around Sydney has shifted towards the Central Coast and Hunter Valley, with swollen rivers flooding communities and leaving a trail of destruction.

A flood watch has been issued for the Mid-North Coast as the weather system shifts north.

Rain is easing in Sydney and the Illawarra but the flooding remains.

SES Deputy Commissioner Ashley Sullivan says the danger for flooded communities continues and river levels will stay high for some time, prompting fears of landslips.

“This event is certainly still escalating and unfolding,” he told ABC TV on Wednesday.

Overnight the SES received about 1200 requests for help as the Hunter region and Central Coast copped a drenching, with 55 of those calls for flood rescues as people continue to drive into rising waters.

There are now 57,000 people who have been ordered to evacuate their homes, with the SES issuing 108 evacuation orders.

Twelve evacuation centres are open to support people who have been forced to flee.

On top of that, 27,000 people have been told to prepare to leave under 56 further evacuation warnings.

“We are asking them to prepare themselves, and their family and their property, in case they do need to evacuate and head to those evacuation centres or their friends and family for safe refuge,” Mr Sullivan said.

Authorities remain focused on the Hawkesbury-Nepean where the river levels reached heights not seen for decades.

But the danger is increasing for the Central Coast, Hunter Valley and Mid-North Coast where flash flooding is underway as river levels rise around Coffs Harbour and Taree.

“There’s still a few days to go and I suspect these flood warnings will remain in place through the weekend and in some places into early next week,” Mr Sullivan said.

The SES has 1000 volunteers supporting isolated communities by dropping supplies or helping people evacuate, with their efforts backed up by an additional 100 ADF personnel who are arriving on Wednesday, alongside emergency workers from interstate.

Rains over Sydney have eased but roads remain cut off, debris is floating in floodwaters and businesses are completely submerged.

Some properties have been isolated for days and infrastructure such as roads, power, water, and telecommunications are damaged.

River levels have continued to rise, with the Hawkesbury at North Richmond reaching more than 14 metres.

Major flooding is still occurring at North Richmond, Windsor, Sackville, Lower Portland and Wisemans Ferry, with more rain expected.

Heavy rainfall since Sunday morning has caused dramatic water-level rises across the Hunter River catchment.

The Bureau of Meteorology says minor to major flooding is happening at Wollombi Brook and the Lower Hunter River at Bulga, Wollombi, Maitland and Singleton.

Overnight people in the Hunter community of Broke were cut off by rising floodwaters.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet will on Wednesday visit deluged parts of the Hawkesbury region that have suffered four floods in the past 18 months.

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