Thousands call for help amid NSW floods

·3-min read

The State Emergency Service has responded to almost 3000 calls for help during the flood crisis that's gripped NSW for a week, and there is no reprieve in sight with more severe weather forecast.

Commissioner Carlene York says the SES has been "extremely busy" with the requests, including 150 in the last 24 hours.

More than 60 flood rescues have been conducted, including six in the last day.

The bulk of the calls have been in Forbes, Gunnedah, Orange and Coffs Harbour, mainly for fallen trees and leaking damaged roofs caused by heavy rain.

Ms York is urging people to monitor the Bureau of Meteorology and SES websites for forecasts and warnings, saying it's important for people in the danger zone to prepare to evacuate.

"Have an evacuation kit ready, get your important documents, know who to contact and know where to go," she said on Wednesday.

BoM hazard preparedness and response manager Jane Golding has warned that with catchments saturated, dams full and rivers high it doesn't take much to trigger a flood.

"More rain means more flooding," Ms Golding said.

Severe thunderstorms are also developing over inland NSW.

Warnings were issued on Wednesday afternoon for the lower west and Riverina region, with areas between Ivanhoe and Narrandera in the path.

Narrandera recorded 46mm of rain in a three hour period during Wednesday.

Heavy rain is also expected further west near Broken Hill and Menindee.

A low pressure system is forecast to deepen before it moves towards the east coast on Thursday and Friday, with strong southerly winds expected to follow it, bringing more danger.

"We know trees come down pretty easily in those kinds of conditions," Ms Golding said.

On Sunday a woman was killed while bushwalking in the Watagans National Park near Lake Macquarie after a tree branch fell on her.

The strong winds could also whip up sea swells that may cause coastal erosion.

The areas where flooding is a renewed risk include the Belubula, Hunter, Macintyre, Macquarie, Peel, Castlereagh, Bell, Tumut and Murrumbidgee Rivers.

In addition to the Lachlan and Namoi rivers that Ms Golding called "areas of key concern" for flooding, there are warnings for the Severn, Gwydir and Paroo Rivers.

The SES has expanded its scope in preparation.

Flash flooding, which Ms York says is "very hard" to warn communities about, remains a risk the SES is trying to mitigate.

"As these storms come through or pass there will be very heavy rain falls in a number of different areas, so we're increasing our area of operations."

Flash floodwaters can become contaminated, and washed away wildlife such as snakes also pose a hidden risk.

Given many of the areas expected to be impacted are rural and farming areas, Ms York also advises moving livestock and domestic animals to higher ground.

Already some livestock and trapped wild animals have had to be rescued by a uniquely skilled SES team.

"We have some skilled members that have trained in large animal rescue, they have to be very careful obviously about the health and the safety of the animal.

"We can never be sure of where the floodwaters are actually going to go so you need to be inspecting your properties regularly and try and put your animals as quickly as possible up into higher ground," Ms York said.

Even after the heavy rains expected around NSW in the coming days, summer is likely to remain soggy, with a La Nina cycle heightening the risk of further flooding and tropical cyclones.

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