Forbes faced with major flood as rivers peak across state

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Major flooding continues to threaten western NSW as residents take stock after the worst flood in more than 70 years.

Major flooding is still occurring in the town of Forbes, where the Lachlan River peaked at 10.66 on Saturday evening, just slightly below the June 1952 level.

The heightened water level is expected to linger for days, leaving thousands of residents unable to return to their homes.

An evacuation order for more than 1000 people has been in place since Wednesday, with another 300 beds added to the town’s evacuation centre on Saturday.

As of Saturday afternoon, there had been 10 flood rescues and more than 230 calls for help in the previous 24 hours.

While the rain may have cleared for now, residents are being told that blue skies should not be cause for calm.

Many catchments across central NSW are not expected to peak until later in the week, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning some rivers could continue rising all month.

There are 18 emergency evacuation orders in place across the region, over 100 warnings, and nine major flood warnings in the state’s west.

NSW emergency services Minister Steph Cooke on Saturday said the worst was not yet behind the region.

“We are continuing to see multiple flood risks across multiple river systems and communities,” she said.

“While we are experiencing a reprieve in the weather … the risk has not abated.”

Parts of the central west are still without gas and being urged to conserve their supply after flood waters caused widespread disruption.

The main supplier of gas to the Bathurst area, Jemena, worked throughout the day on Saturday to restore supply to homes and businesses.

Forbes residents were on Saturday being urged to boil their water until further notice.

The army is on standby for the clean-up, which is expected to begin once the river subsides below the major level.

Along the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga Wagga, the town is experiencing moderate flooding although the water level is falling.

The Bureau of Meteorology had warned that moderate flooding was possible at Narrabri on Saturday evening, but they had yet to provide an update as of 7.30am on Sunday.

The town of Warren is expected to continue to face major flooding for “the next few days” as the Macquarie River experiences renewed rises, while nearby Dubbo is experiencing minor flooding.

On the Bogan river, major flooding is occurring at Mulgawarrina and Gongolgon, with the peak not expected for days.

Along the Barwon and Darling rivers, Mungindi, Mogil Mogil and Walgett are all experiencing major flooding.

Further downstream, Bourke too is facing major flooding, with the bureau warning river levels similar to those in the September 1998 floods possible by the last week of November.

Originally published as Forbes faced with major flood as rivers peak across state

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