Thousands of Australians in New South Wales (NSW) have been told to prepare to evacuate their home in the next 30 hours after a weather system brought torrential rain to much of Australia and forced authorities to issue flood warnings along the east coast of the country.
State Emergency Services (SES) have told the 8,000 plus residents in the town of Forbes—350 kilometres west of Sydney—that they will need to prepare to evacuate after the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a moderate to major flood warning for the next two days.
Authorities are warning that waters levels could potentially hit the same levels as the 2016 floods, which caused millions of dollars of damage and left hundreds without their homes.
⚠️ Moderate to Major #Flood Warning issued for the #Lachlan River. Major flooding similar to September 2016 expected at #Forbes from Tuesday. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/fP5bMdc0DB
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) November 15, 2021
The warning comes as the major dam in the region, Wyangala Dam, overflowed on Nov. 14 after catchments upstream received between 100 to 150 millimetres of rain. Currently, the dam sits at 104 percent capacity, which authorities note will compound the flooding as runoff from the dam continues to enter the Lachlan River and its tributaries.
“If you are in Forbes, your best opportunity is to start preparing your home or business and make arrangements to move to safety before flooding starts affecting you,” the SES said in an alert.
“The situation is likely to change, and it can escalate quickly.”
BOM has said the peak of the flooding on the Lachlan River around Forbes is expected to arrive on Tuesday (10.55 metres) and continue until Wednesday morning (10.65 metres).
Over the past 24 hours, the Forbes SES unit has responded to 120 calls for help, mostly for sandbagging and leaking roofs.
This comes as the southern half of NSW has been told to expect damaging winds on Monday.
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) November 14, 2021
In the past 24 hours, the SES has responded to 320 calls for help, after high winds combined with rain caused widespread havoc in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the regional city of Wagga Wagga.