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People rescued from floodwaters, Wyangala Dam spills after heavy rain in large parts of NSW

By Olivia Ralph, Emma Siossian and regional reporters, Friday November 12, 2021 - 07:13 AEDT
ABC image
Wyangala Dam has filled and spilled after large inflows. - ABC

A dam is overflowing and, elsewhere, people have been plucked from cars in floodwaters after heavy rain pounded parts of New South Wales. 


All eyes are on Wyangala Dam in the New South Wales Lachlan Valley where inflows generated by significant rain over the past 24 hours have refilled the reservoir.


Water NSW was able to create some storage capacity before the recent rain, however, the dam is spilling once again.


A spokesperson for Water NSW said inflows to Wyangala were expected to peak on Friday afternoon.


"With more rain possible and inflows likely to increase to a peak of 65-70 gigalitres later today, Water NSW is working with the Bureau of Meteorology and the NSW State Emergency Service to monitor the situation."


Residents in Perthville, south of Bathurst, awoke to the sight of a small car submerged under floodwater at the end of a street.


"It was wet, yeah come down a fair bit," Dan Martense said.


Mr Martense said flooding occurred in the area several times during the decade his family had lived there and nearby a levy bank had been under construction for several years.


"We've been trying to put an extension on the back of our house and we can't do it until [council] get the levy bank in," he said.


Further north, capacity at Burrendong Dam in the NSW Macquarie Valley has risen to 109 per cent overnight, pushing the storage into the flood surcharge zone.


However, Burrendong Dam has a capacity of 150 per cent, which means that no change to the current low rate of water releases will be required.


Many changing warnings are expected over the next few days, so please keep up to date with your local warnings at ABC Emergency. 


Floodwater rescues


A number of people have been rescued from floodwaters, as heavy rain and strong winds continue to lash parts of New South Wales.


The State Emergency Service received 145 calls for help in the state's Central West overnight. 


Many of the call-outs were in response to properties flooding, while houses at Perthville, near Bathurst, were evacuated during the night.


A young boy was rescued from a car in floodwater this morning at Euchareena, north of Orange.


Ambulance NSW said he was uninjured.


A man was also rescued from the roof of his car at Stuart Town after attempting to drive through floodwaters.


Orange received 77 millimetres of rain in 12 hours, making it the wettest 24-hour period in the city in nine years.


Several roads around Bathurst have been closed due to flooding, while sandbags are being put in place at properties along the Macquarie River at Bathurst.


The State Emergency Service (SES) Southern Zone Commander Barry Griffiths said people needed to be prepared.


"Just in case we do see heavier and predicted falls,  be prepared including moving pumps and animals, livestock to higher ground," he said.


"If your property is potentially exposed to flooding start thinking about moving your possessions to higher places in the house."


'More than a month's rainfall in 24 hours'  


The Bureau of Meteorology's Hugh McDowell said there was heavy rainfall in coastal and inland regions overnight, with peaks in certain areas.


Across the state though, the rainfall during the last day wasn't as heavy or widespread as expected.


"We saw the highest totals in the Hunter region. Mount Palmer had 96mm and around Newcastle itself, we saw 87.8mm at Merewether," he said.


"That's more than a month's worth of rainfall in the space of 24 hours, but crucially what spared the region a little bit is we didn?t see those totals as widespread as they could have been.


"The widespread totals were more in the 25 to 33mm range. We didn't realise the moderate to major flooding that could have occurred if we'd seen those totals more widespread."


Severe thunderstorms have now eased in the Mid North Coast, Hunter, North West Slopes and Plains and Lower Western districts.


In the Coffs Harbour region on the Mid North Coast, SES crews are responding to calls for help from residents still repairing the damage from recent hailstorms.


Relief for growers


Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey said there was a relief amongst growers that overnight rainfalls were less than expected, with minor rather than moderate flooding now predicted.


"I think we're off the hook, the sky is just clearing here in the west. We certainly have avoided the potential for a bigger flood," he said.


"Just hoping to get a bit of sunshine and get back on some paddocks."


Growers are now hoping to see some prolonged warm weather to help mitigate some impacts.


There have been falls between 60 to 120mm throughout the week, which will see quality downgrades for crops and see delays to harvesting.


"Harvest is going to drag out well into December and possibly into January," Mr Lockrey said.


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- ABC

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