NSW flooding: Bureau of Meteorology warns north central coast to prepare for 200mm in six hours

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The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a warning for a ‘dangerous and life-threatening’ downpour set to hit the NSW North Coast and the Northern Tablelands this evening.

Small towns like Bellingen, Nowendoc and Forster can expect the downpour to exceed 200mm in just a few hours, greatly increasing the risk of flooding for low lying properties.

Major flooding is expected in Singleton with Maitland also in the line of fire this afternoon. Wollombi Creek in Bulga hit the nine-metre mark on Tuesday, its highest peak in 60 years.

The towns of Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Kempsey, Sawtell and Dorrigo were also placed on high alert this afternoon.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed that those eligible for the $1,000 recovery payments can access them from 2 p.m. Thursday.

“Recovery payments (will come into effect) from 2 p.m. tomorrow for 23 local government areas. This will consist of $1,000 for adults…and $400 for each eligible child,” Mr. Albanese said.

“There are 100 ADF members already on the ground at the moment. There will be 150 more available for tomorrow.

“We are expected to use the fact that there are facilities and staff available in Singleton, one of the key areas which is increasingly likely to be affected by these floods.

“And we will also be making a third helicopter available from this evening. This will probably work from Williamtown Air Force Base in the Hunter.

In recent years, Sydney and its surroundings have become familiar with flooding. But in some places, flooding from the East Coast Low over the weekend was the worst in decades.

The New South Wales government has declared the floods a natural disaster, allowing the distribution of emergency funds to residents of 23 affected local government areas.

Windsor, on the northwestern outskirts of the city, saw the river rise just above the 13.8m high point of the March floods, leading to its worst flooding in 44 years.

Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said much of the damage occurred in the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system which winds its way around western and northern Sydney.

“Overall, this is the worst flooding for the watershed, as other events have been particularly severe, but only in one part of the river system,” he said.

“This event is consistently bad across the watershed with several areas now worse than in recent years.”

Moderate flooding is also occurring along the Upper Nepean River in Wallacia while minor flooding is occurring in Menangle.

Major flooding is also occurring along the Colo River, with the river at Putty Road currently cresting around 11.20 meters and expected to peak at levels similar to the March 2021 flood.

BOM told people in affected areas to call triple-0 in a life-threatening emergency and to call NSW SES if they needed rescue or help to evacuate.

with Benoit Brook

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