NSW SES prepares for record-breaking blue-sky floods


As the NSW State Emergency Service surpasses 10,000 requests for assistance in a seven-week period, volunteers are preparing for possible record-breaking floods in the Forbes area.

Despite a brief pause in rainfall, water is still moving quickly in riverine and catchments, particularly in Western and Southern NSW.

In the last 24 hours (to 3pm Wednesday 2 November), NSW SES has responded to 547 requests for assistance and 27 flood rescues. Areas of these flood rescues include Cowra, Tamworth, Albury, Gundagai, Forbes and Gunnedah. More than ten thousand requests for assistance have been made since this flood event commenced in September.

Along the Lachlan River, the NSW SES is keeping a close eye on Forbes, which is predicted to reach record flood levels later this week. NSW SES volunteers and partner agencies are preparing to door knock the community, issuing a reminder to residents to be prepared and have a plan.

NSW SES Assistant Commissioner Nicole Hogan said people in the Forbes area have seen flooding before, but not to this extent in recent times.

“What we’re seeing in areas like Forbes is referred to as ‘blue-sky floods’,” Assistant Commissioner Hogan said.

“Even when the rain has stopped falling, water is continuing to move downstream through various catchments, creating issues with river rises and renewed flood peaks.”

The Murrumbidgee River is swollen and is now affecting Wagga Wagga and surrounding areas. Emergency warnings have been issued for parts of North and East Wagga Wagga and Wilks park.

The Castlereagh Highway is now closed, with communities Walgett, Collarenebri and Lightning Ridge now isolated. NSW SES will be working with these isolated communities to ensure they have regular resupply drops and support.

Assistant Commissioner Hogan appreciates the fatigue and hard work in these affected communities, but said it is more important than ever to be aware of the conditions.

“Avoiding floodwater, staying up to date with what’s happening in your area and listening to our warnings are ways to keep you and your family safe,” Assistant Commissioner Hogan said.

“NSW SES members have been working tirelessly throughout this event, responding to ongoing floods for extended months. We encourage communities to extend their thanks to our volunteers and partner agencies for their efforts as we head into more flooding.”

Since early October, NSW SES crews have provided 530 resupply drops to parts of southern and western NSW. More than 100 of these resupply drops have been medical-related.

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