NSW flood risk could last through summer

·3-min read

Parts of northern NSW are experiencing major flooding on Tuesday following drenching rains and storms over the weekend, as the Bureau of Meteorology announces more wet weather is on the way for the rest of the year.

The north east NSW town of Gunnedah has experienced major flooding from the Namoi River after the Peel River combined with releases from Keepit Dam and the Mooki River.

River heights are expected to peak on Tuesday night at Gunnedah after the Namoi River passed its major flood level of 7.9 metres during the morning.

The BoM says the Namoi River is expected to hit near 8.1 metres at about 9pm on Tuesday.

NSW has been experiencing wet weather throughout November, in line with the country as a whole experiencing what looks set to be its wettest spring in a decade.

Summer is not expected to be much different, with meteorologists declaring on Tuesday that we are now in a La Nina cycle -- the cooler, wetter sister of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation pattern that typically brings increased temperatures and bushfire danger to Australia.

While we're unlikely to see a repeat of the 2019-20 summer bushfires, there will instead be a greater risk of damaging tropical cyclones and flooding.

During the last significant La Nina between 2010 and 2012, widespread flooding inundated New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, which was also hit with the Category 5 tropical cyclone Yasi.

Fortunately the BoM does not expect this La Nina to be as bad.

Bureau of Meteorology head of operational climate services Andrew Watkins said this La Nina will probably be weaker than a moderate La Nina that developed last year, but the danger remains.

"A weak La Nina can still bring heavy rainfall at times. With a wet landscape we are at risk of more wide-spread flooding over the summer," Dr Watkins says.

In the immediate future more rain is expected for the rest of the week in NSW.

"Another trough is expected to cross the state during Wednesday and Thursday, bringing a return of rain and unsettled conditions," the BoM said on Tuesday.

"It's shaping up to be a wet and humid end to spring for eastern Australia," the BoM said.

More Forbes residents who evacuated while the Lachlan River threatened to inundate the town have been given the all clear to return home on Tuesday afternoon, but the SES has advised them to keep an eye on the situation, with futher rain forecast.

On Monday, the NSW Rural Fire Service flew three teachers from Bedgerabong Public School, west of Forbes in the central west, to and from school in a helicopter.

"Cut off by floodwaters across the weekend, the teachers were flown in to ensure that classes could continue," it said in a tweet.

The State Emergency Services received 135 calls for help, mostly for people trapped in floodwaters.

Renewed flooding is possible in NSW's inland rivers where there minor to major flood warnings remain in place with expected rain bringing a renewed flood risk on Wednesday.

The Lachlan River at Condobolin Bridge in the central west was a centimetre below the minor flood level of 5.2 metres on Tuesday afternoon with moderate flooding expected later this week ahead of the river level potentially peaking at 5.9m on Friday.

The Hunter River at Muswellbrook peaked late on Monday afternoon, with moderate flooding while the Hunter river at Denman peaked around the moderate flood level early on Tuesday.

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