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Rainfall and rising rivers spark flooding, crop concerns in western NSW

Monday November 22, 2021 - 07:02 AEDT
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Crops across western NSW have been inundated with water. - ABC

Downpours in western NSW have sparked warnings from the SES and damaged crops as rain continues to fall in the region.

Today the weather bureau issued a moderate flood warning for the Castlereagh River at Mendooran, with minor flooding possible at Gilgandra.

The SES said the river may reach the minor flood level of five metres from Tuesday morning at Gilgandra but is expected to remain at 5.65m at Mendooran throughout late Monday.

David Rankin from the SES said while current forecasts indicated it was unlikely the Castlereagh River would impact on homes, causeways and roads may be covered in water.

"What we're seeing is just completely full dams, completely full rivers that are running quite quickly, there's just a significant amount of water across western NSW," he said.

Homes inundated in Gwabegar

Several homes in Gwabegar, 139 kilometres south-west of Narrabri, have already been inundated by localised floodwaters overnight.

The local public school has also been impacted by floodwaters.

David Rankin said the community had already established a drop-in shelter at the community hall for those effected, while SES volunteer crews made their way to the town to provide assistance.

"We can possibly expect secondary peaks as more water comes into these river systems," he said.

The SES is monitoring the situation in Gwabegar with up to 75 millimetres of rain forecast later this week.

Downpours drowning crops

Coonamble farmer Anne Kennedy said the rain has been "devastating", and with less than half of her barley crop stripped before the downpour hit the concern has not ended.

"We're also worried about Warren Creek, it doesn't take a lot to fill the Castlereagh River," she said.

But not everyone has gotten the same drenching.

Ms Kennedy's son, just mere kilometres away, was hit with an onslaught of 120mm of rain, proving there is no guarantee where the rain will fall.

Farmer James Nalder, whose rain gauge recorded 40mm of rain, managed to get his wheat off on Friday night before the worst of the wet weather hit.

"Over the weekend everyone's been going flat out to get as much off because we all knew there was going to be this rain coming through at some stage," he said.

"It's the crops maturing at a similar time, and then rain all happening at a similar time. It's a really tricky one for everyone to try and work out where they need to be."

It is not only farmers feeling the impact of the rain and uncertainty.

"It's a whole range of people employed, as contractors or truck drivers and the like, trying to make a dollar for their businesses as well," Mr Nalder said.

"It's tough on everyone."


© ABC 2021

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