Residents in inland NSW are being warned to prepare for “a month’s rain in just four days” with heavy falls forecast for already flood-affected communities.
- Two separate fronts are expected to bring significant, widespread rainfall over the coming days
- Inland NSW is struggling with ongoing flooding with rivers and catchments already saturated
- The SES is warning communities to prepare for renewed or worsened flood conditions
The Bureau of Meteorology has briefed the SES as it prepares for another week of concerning conditions with much of the state’s west already impacted by ongoing floods as rain falls on already full catchments and rivers.
Some rural residents remain cut off due to high floodwaters on their properties and impacted roads — in some cases for “three, four weeks already” — with farmers also concerned about keeping stock safe and potential crop losses.
Two separate fronts are expected to bring unwelcome, widespread deluges between Wednesday and Sunday.
“The bureau has said we’re expecting one rain front this Wednesday that could drop 20–40mm across much of the inland western parts of NSW,” SES spokesperson David Rankine said.
“There’s a thunderstorm warning that comes with that and the risk of 50–80mm under those isolated storms.
“Unfortunately, there’s a second front coming across the far west of NSW on Friday and could bring anywhere from 20–40mm of rain as it moves west into Saturday.
“Then on Sunday the northern inland and central west of NSW could experience another 20–40mm.
“That’s a very broad part of the state about to receive all it’s average rainfall for October in the next seven days. For us, that’s quite concerning.”
Rain on full rivers and catchments
The SES is expecting renewed flooding for the Macquarie, Bogan, Peel, Gwydir and Namoi Rivers, as well as the Belubula at Canowindra.
Fortunately, some river heights have dropped over the long weekend with floodwaters receding enough for the cut-off community of Wee Waa to finally regain road access.
But the relief could be short-lived, with the SES warning anyone who has been impacted by flooding over the past two weeks that “there is certainly an expectation you will be flooded again in the next seven days”.
Farmer Michael Armstrong is preparing to return home with his family after Callubri Station, located on the Bogan River between Tottenham and Nyngan, was evacuated.
He was relieved the peak was lower than they had prepared for with floodwater reaching just under their home’s floorboards.
The Bogan River is expected to peak at 4.1 metres in Nyngan late today or early tomorrow.
Many residents — including Mr Armstrong — feared what so much rain this week would mean for their home and community, after dodging the worst of the damage last week.
“It’s really scary, some of the forecasts are saying half our annual rainfall in four days, that puts all the flood areas well and truly under water and nearly in record territory,” he said.
“We’re really hoping that doesn’t happen. It’s just a wait-and-see game now. We’re doing everything we can now to prepare.”
‘Months’ of flooding ahead
The western NSW farmer, who also grew wheat, expected to spend the next two days mustering stock.
“Most of our crops are on the hill country so they’re all fine for now, apart from checking for disease,” Mr Armstrong said.
“We just have to get the sheep off the flood plain and onto higher country.”
The SES has been in active flood operations since November 5 last year but feared there could be much more to come.
“The advice from the bureau is we can expect above average rainfall through spring and into early summer,” Mr Rankine said.
“With dams full, soils completely saturated, and rivers in continual flood cycles, it won’t take as much rain over the next four to six months for these rivers to continue to react and flood.
“As an organisation, our operational response is designed to address the potential for flooding in the next six months.
“I would not be surprised to see rivers react to these fronts as they pass through certainly for the next six months.”