It was triggered by a slow-moving rain band and low pressure trough which brought tropical moisture from the north-west and north-east, toppling records at numerous rainfall stations and catchments. At Charlotte Pass, 186.5 mm fell in a day. Record weekly rain fell at stations with century-long data collection, such as Ivanhoe Post Office (294 mm), Wilcannia (239.8 mm) and Hay (189 mm). The bureau described the rain as "extraordinary''. "It is very rare to have such persistent, record-breaking rainfall over such large areas of NSW and Victoria," said the NSW Climate Manager, Aaron Coutts-Smith. Residents of Sydney, the Illawarra, the Hunter and on the south coast were on high alert last night on predictions of more heavy rain, thunderstorms and flash flooding. Waves are expected to pound the coast this morning, causing erosion and dangerous beach conditions. Conditions are expected to ease in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the flood threat in Wagga Wagga eased yesterday, although water levels remained high in the northern part of the city, preventing residents from returning to their homes. The Lachlan River at Forbes is expected to peak tomorrow at 10.65 metres. Floodwaters split the town into three yesterday, cutting main roads and inundated the town centre. Matthew Duff, a Forbes wheat farmer, was staring down the barrel of a month of flooding on his property yesterday. He said he won't be able to sow a crop this year as the ground will remain too wet. - SMH.
Residents in parts of Sydney's northwest have been told to prepare for evacuation as the Hawkesbury River floods. The State Emergency Service (SES) issued evacuation warnings for people in Richmond Lowlands, Pitt Town and Gronos Point at 6.30am (AEDT) today. Several caravan parks on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, between Windsor and Sackville, were also put on high alert. "We are asking those people to start preparing themselves now for possible evacuations throughout the day," SES spokesman Erin Pogmore said. Communities in southwest Sydney have also been put on high alert, although no evacuation warnings were issued. The Nepean River at Menangle was expected to flood at 6am (AEDT) as spills from the Warragamba Dam filter downstream. The same spills are expected to cause flooding at Penrith, in the city's west. The Yarramundi Bridge at Richmond was closed at 4am (AEDT) and the Sackville Ferry, which crosses the Hawkesbury River at Sackville, was closed at 1am (AEDT). "Further ferry closures are likely as the river levels rise towards the predicted levels," the SES said. Meanwhile, thousands of people remain homeless in NSW's southwest and central west as the flood crisis continues. More than 1000 people are in evacuation centres at Griffith, in southwest NSW, with the Murrumbidgee River due to peak again today. The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of major flooding in Narrandera, southeast of Griffith and the neighbouring communities of Darlington Point, Carathool and Hay. - Herald Sun.
The damage bill from NSW's flood crisis is heading "way north'' of $500 million and April is set to heap even worse misery on the sodden state, Roads Minister Duncan Gay says. Communities remain on tenterhooks as a fresh wave of rain threatens homes and property in NSW's southwest, central west and suburban Sydney. "We have a damages bill at the moment that my guys are telling me is heading way north of $500 million,'' Mr Gay told ABC radio today. "And sadly we're in a La Nina and the weather forecasters are telling me that April will be the worst that we've faced yet.'' Mr Gay says he'll ask the Federal Government for additional funding and that he supports a special flood levy for NSW, similar to one set up in Queensland. "We certainly look with envy at special taxes that were put in place for Queensland, because NSW has been horrendously hurt,'' he said. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ruled out a NSW flood levy. - Herald Sun.WATCH: Deluge in Australia.