Australia

SES busy with NSW flooding rescues

Thunderstorms, fierce winds and heavy rainfall lashed southern New South Wales on Saturday, as parts of the state remain on high alert for possible major flooding and landslides.The SES had already responded to 448 call-outs in the 24 hours to 2pm on Saturday afternoon, with the severe conditions only expected to worsen over overnight and…

Thunderstorms, fierce winds and heavy rainfall lashed southern New South Wales on Saturday, as parts of the state remain on high alert for possible major flooding and landslides.

The SES had already responded to 448 call-outs in the 24 hours to 2pm on Saturday afternoon, with the severe conditions only expected to worsen over overnight and into Sunday.

The majority of those calls came from the south-eastern zone, which includes locations such as Kiama, Gerringong and Batemans Bay, a spokesperson said.

They included six flood rescues: two at Gerringong, and four from drivers attempting to drive through floodwaters.

The spokesperson said driving through floodwaters was always dangerous, no matter how shallow or slow-moving the water seemed, or how experienced the driver.

“We really want community members to realise that is the case,” he said.

He said the key message from the SES so far this weekend is that “we’re encouraging people to stay vigilant.”

In the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday, Nowra received 204mm of rain, while Foxground recorded 159mm and Broughton Creek was hit by 143mm.

Meteorologist Alex Majchrowski, of the Bureau of Meteorology, said an approaching low pressure system is expected to hit the Illawarra coast and the south coast.

“(The rainfall) was continuous and consistent and it‘s expected to stay continuous and consistent over the next two days,” he said.

“We‘re forecasting totals of up to 100 to 150 millimetres for those locations and there is a severe weather warning in place just for the heavy rainfall that is expected along the southern part of New South Wales, as well as the adjacent ranges.”

The bureau said Friday’s wet, cold weather system across NSW and Victoria had brought “the best rainfall totals in months for inland communities struggling with dry conditions.”

But the downside was the wild weather conditions for the coast, with an added risk of further beach erosion to what has already occurred this year.

The bureau said some of the regions affected are still recovering from last summer’s bushfires, and heavy falls upon the burned landscape could lead to river rises, flooding and landslides.

The SES has issued flood warnings for the Gippsland, Upper Murray, and south coast regions, with flooding “likely” along the Queanbeyan River and major flooding “possible” along the Snowy, Bemm, Cann and Genoa rivers.

Rainfall totals of up to 200mm are predicted for the south coast across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The bureau has a severe weather warning in place for the south coast and parts of Illawarra, Southern Tablelands and the Snowy Mountains.

The BOM has also put out a warning saying today is not the day to go surfing.

There are gale force wind warnings in place for Saturday at Batemans Bay and Eden Coast, and a strong wind warning for the Illawarra Coast.

The low-pressure system to develop on the south coast is set to deepen on Sunday, with rain and flooding expected for the affected areas. It is expected to linger until at least Monday.

The flood watch is part of a wet spring in general for Australia, with the BOM predicting the fortnight of 10 to 23 August to be a wet one for much of the country, and a wetter than average September to November across the east of the state.

DO YOU LIVE NEAR HERE?

Catchments likely to be affected include:

  • Shoalhaven River
  • St Georges Basin
  • Clyde River
  • Moruya and Deua Rivers
  • Tuross River
  • Bega River
  • Towamba River
  • Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers
  • Bemm, Cann and Genoa Rivers
  • Snowy River
  • Tambo River
  • Mitchell River
  • Avon River
  • Macalister River
  • Thomson River
  • Latrobe River
  • Traralgon Creek
  • South Gippsland Rivers
  • Upper Murray and Mitta Mitta Rivers

MESSAGE FROM THE SES:

  • People in areas that may be impacted by flooding should prepare their properties and homes and:
  • Stay up to date with information. Listen to flood warnings and follow the advice on how to protect yourself, family and property.
  • Consider collecting essential items in a waterproof bag: food, water, warm clothes, medications, valuables, important documents, toys for children in case you need to leave.
  • Keep your pets close by, always know where they are.
  • Clean up yards and secure movable objects such as trampolines, BBQs and outdoor furniture.
  • Check on your family, friends and neighbours and share this information.

Farmers and businesses are encouraged to:

  • Move pumps, animals and equipment to higher ground before roads close and organise for sufficient stock feed and water for your animals.
  • Move poisons, waste and chemicals to high storage locations.
  • Gather important business documents and records and keep them with you.

Never drive, walk or play in flood waters.

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500. In life threatening situations call triple-0 (000) immediately.

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