State Emergency Services (SES) have given residents in low lying areas in the town of Forbes—a town of 8,000 residents, 350 kilometres west of Sydney—until 9:30 p.m. tonight to evacuate after floodwaters rose upstream of the township.
“Floodwaters will progressively close roads, and access will be cut, so do not delay moving,” the SES said in its evacuation order.
“Once floodwater begins inundating the area, road access, water, sewerage, power, phones, and internet may be lost. If you remain in the area, you will be trapped, and it may be too dangerous for SES to rescue you.”
The order comes after authorities warned on Monday that flood water levels in the Lachlan River and its tributaries could hit the same levels as the 2016 floods, which caused millions of dollars of damage and left hundreds without homes.
‼️Evacuation Order issued for low lying areas of #Forbes ‼️
Low lying areas of FORBES evacuate by: Tues 16th Nov 2021, 9.30pm
— NSW SES (@NSWSES) November 16, 2021
On Sunday, the major dam in the region, Wyangala Dam, began overflowing after upstream catchments received between 100 to 150 millimetres of rain.
On Tuesday, the dam was at 102 percent capacity, forcing state authorities to consider the possibility of overflow which could compound flooding as runoff entered the Lachlan River.
The Bureau of Meterology said the peak of the flooding on the Lachlan River around Forbes is expected to arrive later, with water levels potentially reaching 10.55 to 10.65 metres, continuing until Wednesday morning.
Floodwaters upstream at the town of Nanami have exceeded the 2016 levels reaching 12.38 meters. The ABC reported on Tuesday that the water levels are now holding steady.
Residents have been told by the SES that people evacuating should go and stay with family or friends, or make other accommodation arrangements. If this is not possible a walk-through evacuation centre has been set up at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.