This insane video shows a “wall of water” bringing devastation to New South Wales towns, with more than 220 people rescued from flooding in the past 24 hours.
It comes as Wyangala Dam spilled record amounts of water, after 100mm rain fell in just a few hours in parts of the NSW Central West. Helicopters and boats were used to carry out over 150 rescues in the inundated town of Eugowra, where people were forced to make for their roofs as floodwaters rose.
Floods have ripped up the road and destroyed a bridge into the town of Canowindra, while the Wyangala Dam is spilling 80,000 gigalitres a day into the Lachlan River.
The flood emergency gripping parts of New South Wales has sparked the largest disaster response in the state’s history. Eugowra in the state’s Central West was devastated by a “torrent of water,” with homes destroyed and two people missing. The Wyangala Dam is still spilling thousands of gigalitres into the Lachlan River, with Forbes currently at the centre of the NSW flood disaster.
The Central West is not out of the woods yet, with major flooding to continue along the Lachlan River over the weekend.
A “prolonged major flood peak” still remains at Forbes and Cottons Weir, The Bureau of Meteorology advised in their Thursday afternoon bulletin, with residents told to expect water levels to stay the same into Friday.
But Jemalong and Condobolin are now in the firing line, with river levels at Euabelong smashing a 70-year flood record.
Water levels have now hit 7.54 meters.
“River levels are expected to remain steady near the peak into Friday and above the major flood level through the weekend,” the Bureau’s statement read.
The Bureau added: “At Euabalong river levels have risen past the level of the 1952 floods, and further rises are possible when the flood peak currently nearing Jemalong approaches Euabalong later next week 24-26 November.”
It comes as extra Australian Defence Force soldiers arrived in the Central West to help residents weather catastrophic flooding.
Although mammoth clean up efforts are under way in the state’s Central West, the risk of flooding is not over as the Wyangala Dam overflow threatens more rural properties and the town of Forbes braces for the Lachlan River to peak.
The SES confirmed on Thursday that 180 troops and several high clearance vehicles had now been deployed to the region to support communities downstream as the risk of historic flooding continues in Condoblin and Euabalong.
“Support is also welcomed from the Australian Defence Force… deployed in the Central West NSW region from this afternoon,” a statement from the SES read.
“The river heights in these areas continue to rise, with some areas instructed to prepare to evacuate while others prepare to face isolation due to flood waters.”
It comes as an initial 70 were deployed on November 16.
Singaporean flood rescue operators have also arrived in NSW today and will head out to flood ravaged communities after undergoing induction training, while the New Zealand crews are assisting emergency services in hard hit areas.
It comes as emergency services are now searching for a third person feared to have been washed away in the torrents of water at Eugowra earlier this week. About 9:40 am on Monday, an elderly woman trapped in floodwaters between Loftus and Parkes Sts in Eugowra saw a man’s body in the water.
A police officer was helping to free the woman, but could not leave her to look for the body, and the woman lost sight of it in the rapids. The man was described as being in his 20s with a slim build and fair hair.
Police have not received any reports of people missing in the area, or any further sightings matching the man’s description.
No bodies resembling the man have been recovered despite an ongoing search.
Investigators have asked anyone who knows a man who hasn’t been accounted for and matches the description above to contact CrimeStoppers.
Fresh concerns have been raised for Euabalong and Condobolin – who are bracing for a historic flooding event – while Hay is on high alert as the Murrumbidgee River threatens to surpass record flood levels.
Now mosquitoes’ invasion:
Forbes remains a key area of concern, with the river expected to peak near the 1952 record of 10.8m, along with Eugowra – where the floods have claimed a woman’s life.
Cowra, Walgett, Darling Burke, Hay, Albury, Deniliquin, Moulamein, and Moama to Wentworth are also areas of concern for the SES.
“We’re going to see the flood waters currently in the system impact the Far West NSW into the beginning of January. That’s if there’s no more rain,” NSW SES spokesman Adam Jones said.
Statewide, there are over 112 flood warnings, including 23 evacuation orders, and eight out of the 15 rivers that are flooding in NSW are doing so at a major level.
In the last 24 hours, since 5am Thursday, the NSW SES responded to 284 calls for help and performed 7 flood rescues.
Residents in Forbes are on a knife-edge as the Lachlan River continues to rise towards a record peak of 10.79m as it moves downstream at 10.674m.
The town is nervously waiting for the peak while major flooding has caused people to flee their homes for the second time in two weeks – this time, 1000 people have evacuated.
Out of hundreds of rescues, dramatic footage captured a chopper crew plucking a family and their two dogs to safety from a table outside their inundated Forbes home, as raging flood waters swept past.
The town remains a top priority for the NSW SES as massive clean up efforts are underway.
The small town of Eugowra — 38km outside of Forbes — has been devastated by floodwaters which have receded.
Emergency services responded to more than 150 flood rescues alone in Eugowra on Monday – which was about a fifth of the entire town’s population.
On Wednesday, emergency services conducted 284 damage assessments at Eugowra, with 225 buildings having sustained significant damage.
NSW SES Chaplain Steve Hall said the Eugowra community’s world had been completely tipped upside down.
It was reported earlier that people were resorting to social media in a desperate attempt to locate loved ones during the chaos.
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Hay is facing fresh flooding concerns as the Murrumbidgee River continues to rise, threatening to breach the 9.02m flood level experienced in September, 1974.
Residents are working around the clock to protect homes from the floodwaters as the Hay Plains – considered the flattest place in the southern hemisphere – have been saturated.
A Central West local shared footage of the devastation in Hay with social media as she drove across Maude Rd.
The plains and paddocks were completely underwater, resembling scenes of a never ending ocean.
Residents in the township of Maude were also told to leave their homes on Tuesday as the Murrumbidgee River at Hay exceeded the September 1974 flood level of 9.02m.
West of Maude, moderate flooding is occurring at Balranald with major flooding possible in early December.
Condobolin and Eubalong
River levels at Cottons Weir and Condobolin have already exceeded the level of the 1952 flood, but further rises are possible as the flood peak located upstream of Forbes approaches.
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In Condobolin, local SES teams have erected a sandbag wall – dubbed the ‘Great Wall of Condo’ – to prevent flood water from cutting off the town, the ABC reported.
At Euabalong, the Lachlan River may reach 7.6m on the weekend with major flooding, which is slightly higher than the 1952 flood. [DT]