Emergency services are warning the worst flooding may be yet to come as rain continues to lash NSW.
Parts of NSW are again staring down the barrel of the worst flooding in years, as emergency services warn residents “are by no means out of the woods”.
Thousands of residents have been left stranded by more than 70 evacuation orders as the state braces for more than 100mm of rainfall on Monday. The forecast rainfall is feeding fears of flash flooding across the state, with emergency services warning the worst may be still to come.
NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said residents should brace for continued downpours.
“It’s going to be another very difficult day and we’re by no means out of the woods,” she said.
“Out in the western part of Sydney, we’re still in the height of an emergency.”
Major flooding is expected to impact the Hawkesbury-Nepean area, where the majority of the evacuation notices have been issued. Over the past few days, the State Emergency Service (SES) has performed more than 111 flood rescues – many of which involved people trapped in rising waters.
“We are facing dangers on multiple fronts, including that riverine flooding,” Ms Cooke told 2GB’s Chris Smith.
“It’s fast-flowing water so we’re very concerned that people may find themselves trapped.”
Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the situation was “very worrying” and called on those living in the area to do what they were told.
“If you‘re subject to an evacuation order, please don’t waste a moment,” he told ABC Radio.
“If you’re subject to an evacuation warning, be ready to move quickly.”
This is the fourth time in 18 months that residents along the Hawkesbury River, as well as other parts of southern NSW, are battling rising floodwaters.
Senator Watt said the latest flooding was shaping up to be the worst of them all.
“There’s a very good chance that the flooding (of the Hawkesbury) will be worse than any of the other three floods that the area’s had in the last 18 months,” he said.
“The other worrying aspect to this is that there are areas that haven’t flooded before in the region in the last 18 months or so which could very well flood this time.”
Mr Watt said an extra 100 ADF troops would be available from 8am on Monday, in addition to the 100 troops already on the ground who had been assisting with evacuations with the two night-time-capable helicopters.
His NSW counterpart noted the disaster fatigue felt by many residents impacted by floods across the state but urged people to remain alert and ready to act.
“It’s understandable that people are weary and quite frankly over it – particularly heading into school holidays,” Ms Cooke said.
“We just want people to get through this in one piece.”
As heavy rainfall continues, 66 communities have been issued with prepare-to-evacuate notices and urged to be prepared for waters to rise quickly.
Ms Cooke asked NSW residents to prioritise their lives and the lives of loved ones and emergency services workers over their possessions.
She said the SES had been “absolutely smashed for a couple of years now” in their tireless efforts to keep residents safe.
In addition to flash flooding, residents should be wary of landslides, coastal erosion and fallen trees.
The SES is urging people not to travel if it can be avoided, and to never drive through floodwaters.
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