Thousands of Aussies told to get ready to flee amid fierce weather

·3-min read

Rapidly rising water levels in the central west of NSW have forced thousands of residents to prepare to evacuate their homes with fears of catastrophic flooding similar to 2016.

Severe weather warnings were issued for all states and territories across Australia last week, with residents told to brace for rain, flooding, and damaging winds.

Authorities are concerned about Forbes – located 350km west of Sydney – with NSW SES urging more than 8000 people to prepare to flee.

Still from video shows the bloated Wyangala Dam. Source: 9News
Flooding in NSW has forced thousands to evacuate their homes. Source: 9News

Water levels to reach 10.65 metres

There's possible major flooding of the Lachlan River, predicted to reach 10.55m on Tuesday and 10.65m on Wednesday morning.

“The situation is likely to change and it can escalate quickly,” the SES warning read.

"Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so."

“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 flood levels are predicted to reach similar levels to the September 2016 floods, where the Lachlan river rose to 10.7m. Sadly, one person died in the flood and the area was declared a natural disaster zone.

The now full Wyangala Dam is sitting at 104 per cent capacity on Monday morning, with the Bureau of Meteorology saying floodwaters combined with increased spills from the dam have already caused moderate flooding along the Lachlan River at Cowra where river levels have peaked.

SES responded to 120 calls for help

In the past 24 hours, the SES unit in Forbes has responded to 120 calls for help, mostly for sandbagging and leaking roofs.

Across the state, the SES responded to 320 calls for help in the past 24 hours, after high winds combined with rain caused widespread havoc, particularly in Sydney's Hills district, the Blue Mountains and the regional city of Wagga Wagga.

"Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so," SES spokeswoman Andrea Cantle said on Monday.

"The river height level at Nanami ... will determine the height level down at Forbes, which will determine how many people we will be possibly evacuating."

Major flooding is also expected at Cottons Weir and Jemalong from Monday.

with AAP

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