Devastating photos emerge from flood-ravaged NSW towns

·5-min read

Devastating images have emerged of widespread flooding in towns along the NSW coast as a "one-in-100-year" weather event continues to leave behind a trail of destruction.

Evacuation warnings have been issued in anticipation of more flooding, while thousands of rescues have been carried out by the NSW State Emergency Service (SES).

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a new severe weather warning on Sunday for the Mid North Coast, Metropolitan and parts of Northern Rivers, Hunter, Illawarra, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains and Australian Capital Territory forecast districts.

In the wake of the torrential rain, aftermath photos from the Mid North Coast have been shared on social media.

A photo of Fire and Rescue NSW crew helping residents in flood waters on the Mid North Coast.
Fire and Rescue NSW crew helping local residents in the Mid North Coast of NSW on Friday. Source: AAP Image/Fire and Rescue NSW

'Once in 100 year event'

Heavy rainfall resulting in flash flooding is still presenting a "serious risk" for those on the Mid North Coast.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejilian said on Sunday the region experiencing a rare weather event.

"Regrettably, parts of the Mid North Coast are experiencing a one-in-100-year event, and while we don't think things will worsen on the Mid North Coast, definitely conditions will continue," she said.

A number of Mid North Coast schools will not open on Monday due to flooding and the premier admitted infrastructure damage in some spots was profound.

Residents in places like North Haven, Dunbogan, Camden Head, Laurieton and Port Macquarie were ordered to leave on Friday.

Images shared to social media show the streets of North Haven engulfed in flood waters.

An aerial photo of flooded streets in North Haven on the Mid North Coast.
North Haven on the Mid North Coast was flooded on Saturday. Source: Lee Hartshorne/Facebook

"You don’t need to look out of the window to know we are not quite out of the woods yet folks," the 10,000 fans of Port Macquarie Facebook group noted.

Several businesses on the Mid North Coast are in dire need of support after being impacted by the weather.

The Whalebone Wharf restaurant, which sits along the Hastings River in Port Macquarie, is one of those businesses.

"On Friday 19 March 2021, with a restaurant full of diners, the police ordered everybody to evacuate due to escalating flood waters and record breaking rainfall," a GoFundMe page for the business said.

"Within hours the restaurant was completely engulfed."

The restaurant reportedly lost everything in the flood and the establishment was only just starting to recover from the "debilitating impact" of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flood waters surround the Whalebone Wharf restaurant.
Patrons were ushered out of the Whalebone Wharf restaurant in Port Macquarie on Friday before the establishment was engulfed. Source: GoFundMe

Just inland from North Haven is Kendall, a small rural town, where a family-owned cafe was inundated with floodwaters despite the community's best efforts to save it.

"During the devastating floods in March 2021, Miss Nellie’s was inundated with floodwaters throughout the cafe despite a committed effort by locals and friends to sandbag and protect the shop from the rising river levels as it burst its banks," it says on GoFundMe.

"Although comprehensively insured, floods are not covered and the small family owned business now faces the arduous task of repairing and restoring their beloved 100 year old building and 9 year old business back to it’s hard-earned successful status."

Kendall's Miss Nellie's Cafe under water.
Miss Nellie’s Cafe in Kendall on the Mid North Coast was inundated with floodwater. Source: GoFundMe
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Taree submerged in floodwaters

Aerial footage shared by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service shows just how treacherous the conditions have been in the area.

Hovering over Taree, the footage shows how extensive the flooding was on Saturday, with greenery just visible among the murky water.

In the past 24 hours, 129mm of rain has drenched Taree.

"Our thoughts are with those communities impacted and for the emergency services and first responders active across the flood zones," the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service tweeted.

"Our crews will remain on standby 24/7 for those most in need."

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A woman has set up a GoFundMe to help her aunt and uncle, who live in Taree and lost "everything" in the flood.

According to the fundraising page, Janice and George, along with their animals, were stranded on the second storey of their home, and their family has lost contact with them.

A young woman, her two young children and her grandparents also lost everything in the floods when the GoFundMe was set up. It said she hadn't been able to access the property due to the flood waters.

The Masters House Church Taree pastors, Luis and Alisa Gonzalez, lost all of their furniture, appliances and personal things, including clothes and children's toys.

"The building that housed our church was also their home and has now been flooded with water rising still," Reverend Liz Mitchell said on GoFundMe.

On Saturday, the church shared a photo to Facebook of the church submerged in floodwaters, when the water rose above the building's windows.

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