Hundreds of NSW residents remain under evacuation orders on the first day of school holidays, with forecasts warning saturated catchments will take days to dry off.
Heavy falls eased across much of NSW on Friday but minor flooding is likely to continue in parts of Greater Sydney throughout the weekend and several more days’ of rain is expected to settle in again from Tuesday.
River rises were still being observed along the Hawkesbury-Nepean system into Saturday and evacuation orders remained across at least 10 low-lying suburbs.
The SES says minor to moderate flooding continues at Menangle, Wallacia, Penrith, North Richmond, Windsor and Sackville.
Rising water levels have been observed along the Upper Colo River and minor flooding is also still a factor at Putty Road, with a similar situation possible along the Macdonald River.
Water continues to spill at Warragamba Dam.
Evacuation orders remain in effect
On the opening day of the Easter school break, some 1200 people were abiding by evacuation orders and another 1500 had been warned they may still need to leave.
However some orders were lifted for parts of both Emu Plains and Mulgoa along the Nepean.
SES Assistant Commissioner Dean Storey says residents in affected communities are being urged to remain vigilant amid hope restrictions will soon be lifted.
Recent severe weather events had taken a toll on communities and SES rescuers alike, he told the ABC on Friday.
“It has been a very tough few months for communities across NSW including in western Sydney with multiple, major weather events,” he said.
“It is heartbreaking. It’s been a very tough storm season, one of the toughest in recent memory for the SES.”
The SES has received more than 2300 calls for help and conducted about 700 rescues since the rain event began on Monday.
More than 1200 volunteers were on the ground on Friday.
The body of a 68-year-old man was found in a submerged van in Sydney’s southwest on Friday morning.
It was retrieved by police divers about 1pm but he is yet to be formally identified.
A flood warning has also been issued for the Orara River on the state’s mid north coast, with minor flooding possible at Coutts Crossing.
While fatigued by the extreme weather, NSW residents need to keep following the advice of emergency services, says Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke.
“It will stop raining, it will get better,” she said.