Residents of two towns in northern NSW have been ordered to evacuate, while across the border in Queensland vulnerable people will begin being airlifted from flood-hit towns on Friday.
NSW’s State Emergency Service told residents of Boggabilla and Toomelah on Friday morning they must evacuate by 11am or risk being stranded without help.
“Once floodwater enters the area road access will be cut and all sewerage and power will be lost,” the evacuation order warns.
“If you remain in the area after 11am, you will be trapped and it may be too dangerous for SES to rescue you.”
An evacuation centre has been set up at Moree East Public School.
The Macintyre River has already reached moderate flood levels in Boggabilla, but is expected to peak with major flooding.
Several other rivers across the state are also flooding, after the wettest November on record soaked catchments.
But sunny weather has returned for a spell, with multiple parts of NSW facing maximum temperatures exceeding 30 degrees on Friday.
However, afternoon storms are forecast.
The SES has delivered supplies to isolated communities, including Wee Waa, Narrabri and Warren, where major flooding from the Macquarie River has occurred.
Meanwhile, north of the border, more than 80 aged-care residents and hospital patients in Goondiwindi are likely to be airlifted to safety with floodwaters lapping just 40 centimetres below the Queensland town’s levee bank.
The MacIntyre River was already at its highest level in 10 years at Goondiwindi on Friday, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting a flood peak of 10.7 metres within the next 24-48 hours.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 81 people from aged-care homes and the local hospital would be flown out if the water got any closer to the top of the 11-metre flood levee.
“We’ll be monitoring that very closely, we’ll be getting another update from the bureau about the flood levels later on this afternoon,” she said on Friday.
“Now the people of Goondiwindi understand and they’ve been through floods before such as 2011, there are some higher grounds that people know where to evacuate to, and we are watching it very carefully and we are keeping the community and everyone updated.”
Police Commissioner Katrina Carroll said the airlift was likely to occur later on Friday, with the patients flown to facilities in Toowoomba and Warwick.
She said State Emergency Services, police and Australian Defence Force personnel were on standby to help ahead of Saturday’s flood peak.
Large swathes of the Darling Downs region are awash after days of heavy rain with some areas recording up to 100 millilmetres on Wednesday night.
Upriver from Goondiwindi, about 110 homes are water-damaged in the town of Inglewood, with 205 homes spared.
Emergency services evacuated 900 people from Inglewood this week, but the waters were receding on Friday.