A natural disaster zone is likely to be declared in flood-struck central NSW with the damage bill already set to be tens of millions of dollars.
With more rain expected later this week, residents in the soggy town of Forbes have been warned to expect a long flood and an evacuation centre has been set up in the local high school.
Premier Mike Baird visited the regional centre on Monday and announced the appointment of former NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens to lead the recovery effort.
“It is very likely to be declared a natural disaster which will mean further assistance will come,” Mr Baird told reporters in Forbes.
Farmer Wayne Dunford, who lives 35km north of the Lachlan River in the Forbes region, said the big wet could prove devastating for some of his neighbours.
“For me it won’t be the end of the world, but for some it could be,” he told AAP.
“The whole countryside is just glistening under the crops and in the pasture paddocks – it is just total saturation.”
He said the prospect of roads being washed away was a major concern for farmers, with the shire expected to struggle to afford to rebuild them quickly.
NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen said some dairy farmers had already been forced to dump their milk due to a lack of road access.
”The biggest loss for farmers in flood-affected parts of NSW will be crops, including wheat, chickpeas and canola but with several river systems across NSW likely to remain high for prolonged periods of time, the full extent of damage won’t be known for a number of weeks until water subsides,” he said.
In Forbes, the premier warned locals to brace themselves for more pain.
“It is clear there is more rain coming, that is obviously bad news,” he said.
About 230 Forbes families were evacuated on Sunday and it’s not yet known when they will be able to return to their homes.
Local mayor Phyllis Miller told the Macquarie Network the townspeople were well prepared but nearly a month after the heavy rains began, flood fatigue was starting to set in.
“I think we’re getting a bit tired, and knowing that there’s more rain coming is a bit of a worry,” she said.
The Lachlan River reached 10.67m in Forbes on Sunday night, surpassing the 1990 floods, with higher waters predicted to hit next week.
Insurance Council of Australia CEO Rob Whelan said he expected the damage bill to come in the tens of millions of dollars.
The weather bureau has forecast more rain to hit Forbes from Wednesday through to Friday, while a second, higher peak in the Lachlan River is predicted for next week near Condobolin and Euabalong.
Since the rain began on August 30, the SES has received about 2400 calls for assistance and made 98 flood rescues.
Downstream at Condobolin, the army, Fire and Rescue NSW, Rural Fire Service and SES have been sandbagging in preparation for the rising waters.
The entire state's thoughts are with Forbes tonight as the flood water rises. I spent time with the NSW SES today to understand the severity of the flood situation and help with sandbagging. The NSW Government is ready to help. We know the damage will be severe. The water is expected to peak at a level that hasn't been seen in decades, lives will be disrupted and there will be losses of stock and infrastructure.The NSW Government will do what it can to assist those affected once the full extent of the damage is known.Thank you to all the volunteers dedicating time to help.#Forbes #NSWFloods
Posted by Troy Grant on 2016年9月25日