Weather News

Widespread damage as a week of wild storms lash the Riverina

By Georgina Noack and Emily Doak, Friday January 7, 2022 - 05:13 AEDT
ABC image
Heavy rainfall inundated a number of roads in Griffith. - ABC

Severe thunderstorms have rolled across the Riverina over the past few days causing widespread damage to infrastructure and roads.

When Sam Lucas went to inspect the storm damage on his farm at Gundagai in southern New South Wales he saw the long drop toilet had been lifted from its foundations.

"It was blowing a gale and we were worried about the dog kennel and we just saw a lot of water running everywhere," Mr Lucas said.

"Then we walked around the back of the shed and the long drop was gone."

Widespread damage

Some Riverina centres recorded 30 millimetres of rain in less than half an hour leading to flash flooding across local roads.

Wagga Wagga recorded 150mm of rain, while 30 kilometres south at The Rock up to 120mm of rain was recorded.

Temora Shire experienced a deluge considered by council engineers a "one-in-300-year downpour" with 75mm of rain in three hours.

The Griffith airport was closed closed due to debris on the runway and flooding inside the terminal.

Mayor Doug Curran said the rain came in a downpour.

"Griffith is a very flat area, so if we get 50-60mm within an hour, the water just can't get away," he said.

Mr Curran said the closure meant some flights were returned to Sydney or passengers had to fly into nearby Narrandera.

Local electrical and emergency services crews were also kept busy after strong winds brought trees onto power lines.

More than 15,000 people were without electricity at the peak of the storms.

The State Emergency Service responded to 543 requests in the Murrumbidgee for assistance.

SES Southern deputy zone commander Barry Griffiths said heavy rainfall in the Murrumbidgee River catchment between Burrinjuck Dam and Wagga Wagga had caused rapid rises in local creeks and rivers.

"We've seen flash flooding and increased flooding around the Gundagai and Tumut areas," Mr Griffiths said.


© ABC 2022

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