Almost 30,000 returning to flood-hit homes, but emergency not over

Almost 30,000 western Sydney residents will be allowed to return home today to begin the long process of yet another post-flood clean-up.

But the flood emergency is far from over, with more than 6000 people evacuated from the Hunter region and another 5000 preparing to leave at any moment.

Disaster payments will be available from today, and thousands are still under evacuation orders in Sydney’s north-west.

A flooded football field in Singleton, in the NSW Hunter region. (9News)

Extra defence personnel have been deployed in the state’s north, as the flood threat in the Hunter and on the Mid North Coast intensifies.

NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke on Wednesday warned the state’s flood disaster was far from over as the rain moved north, even as floodwaters began to recede in Sydney.

“Whilst it may be tempting for people to return home, we’re really asking you to respect those evacuation orders,” Cooke said.

“There’s a reason why they are in place at this time and that is to protect you.”

Residents in parts of Penrith, Windsor, Camden, Emu PLains, Chipping Norton and a handful of other suburbs had been given the all clear to return home if safe by Wednesday night but dozens of evacuation orders remained.

In the Hunter, suburbs including Wollombi, Bulga and Broke remain cut off by floodwaters as more towns are threatened by the disaster.

A local pub in the region, the Wollombi Tavern, is just one of the many businesses impacted by the floodwaters after the Wollombi Creek peaked at over 14 metres this morning.

“Floods are just an insidious thing,” Wollombi Tavern publican Chris Books said after the Wollombi Creek peaked at more than 14 metres on Wednesday morning.

“You live in this area, it is prone to flooding. The tavern is the hub of Wollombi.

Floodwaters in Singleton, NSW Hunter region.
Many roads are closed in towns inland from Newcastle. (9News)

“We are a tourist town, without the tavern, we won’t get the tourists, without the tourists we won’t exist.

“As soon as the water goes down, we can pull beers.”

The wider Singleton region was a major focus for emergency services overnight as the Bureau of Meteorology predicted a peak of 13.8 metres on the Hunter River.

Singleton State Emergency Service public information officer Simone Merrick said evacuation orders were current in several parts of the region and the SES had been helping out in Broke and Bulga.

She praised locals for heeding warnings to stay out of floodwaters.

“We just want to remind you that as the flood water does start to go down, you were not aware of the damage that it’s done to the road underneath it,” Merrick said, late on Wednesday, echoing warnings from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Premier Dominic Perrottet.

“So please don’t become complacent and start to drive through this flood water as it can still be very dangerous, even if it’s not moving.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet visit Hawkesbury's Helping Hands community organisation in South Windsor after the floods.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet visit Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands community organisation in South Windsor after the floods. (Getty)

Late on Wednesday, the bureau cancelled a severe weather warning that had been rolling up the NSW coast for days.

Parts of NSW Hunter region go underwater as floods move north

“A low pressure system is located offshore east of Port Macquarie,” it said. “The low is expected to shift further off the east coast through the remainder of tonight and during Thursday morning, with drier and more stable air developing in its wake.

“Severe weather is no longer occurring in NSW and the ACT.”

Source by [author_name]

Latest

DStv Premiership midweek fixtures: What to expect from the ‘Big 3’

What more can we ask for from the DStv...

Commonwealth Games: Birmingham’s hosting ‘exceeded expectations’

Everybody from taxi drivers to the volunteers should be...

‘Pure evil’: Catfish victims tell of pain as sentence appealed

Another stalking survivor read an emotional statement about the...

‘Pure evil’: Catfish victims tell of pain as sentence appealed

Another stalking survivor read an emotional statement about the toll of the “tragic and bizarre” case.The woman – who cannot be named for legal...

Qantas flight QF1206 diverted after being struck by lightning over WA

A Qantas flight travelling from from Perth to Port Hedland had to be diverted amid reports of a lightning strike earlier today.A Qantas spokesperson...

How sending cars underground would leave more room for Brisbane buses

Gympie Road would support a new Bus Rapid Transit network - with Brisbane Metro vehicles running down the middle like old-school trams - using...