The rain might have eased in NSW, but the threat of flooding and landslips remains, with tens of thousands of residents still facing evacuation orders.
About 700 NSW residents called for help overnight as flood waters rose and heavy rain lashed the state’s Hunter and mid-North Coast regions.
In other areas, authorities are looking at winding back evacuation orders and warnings.
But State Emergency Service chief superintendent Ashley Sullivan said 40,000 people remained under the 69 evacuation orders still in place on Friday.
“There’s a lot of risk out there and it is not over yet,” he told the Seven Network.
“We have a few days, if not a few weeks, left.”
Resilience NSW boss Shane Fitzsimmons said staff were being deployed to begin helping with recovery efforts. It followed his organisation facing heavy criticism for its slow response to similar events earlier this year.
“[We’re] seeking to do things better, quicker than we have before,” Mr Fitzsimmons told Nine.
In the lower Hunter, Maitland mayor Philip Penfold said thousands remained isolated as flood waters cut off whole suburbs.
“The people of Maitland are very anxious,” he told ABC News.
“But fingers crossed we’ve seen the worst of it.”
Days of heavy rain seems to have ended – to the relief of thousands of NSW residents. But severe flooding still poses risks in saturated catchments.
Late on Thursday, there were still major flood warnings for the lower Hunter River, Wollombi Brook and Tuggerah Lake, with the Bureau of Meteorology noting some parts of the Hunter had reached record levels.
The risk of landslips, trees toppling and flash flooding also remained, following persistent heavy rain over several days across multiple regions.
There were also hazardous surf and marine wind warnings for parts of the NSW coast.
The bureau said on Thursday major flooding was likely to occur at Maitland, in the lower Hunter, into Friday despite the rain clearing for much of the state.
Further south, the clean-up has already begun with Premier Dominic Perrottet and NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke visiting Camden, one of the areas worst affected in the latest flooding.
Financial relief for flood-affected communities has been extended to six additional local government areas, bringing the total of disaster-declared council regions to 29.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the severe weather and flooding would continue to affect many areas of NSW.
“The flood waters may be receding in some areas, but we know there are other regions that are still at the emergency stage, where the focus will be on keeping our communities safe,” he said.
Ms Cooke said significant recovery support would be needed to help flood victims get back on their feet.
“Declaring a natural disaster is an essential first step towards getting a range of support out the door and in the pockets of individuals, families, farmers and business owners,” she said.