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Australia NSW floods: Wee Waa residents rally together as floods leave community isolated once again

14:21  29 september  2022
14:21  29 september  2022 Source:   abc.net.au

Floodwaters slow to recede in NSW as weather bureau warns of more rain on the way

  Floodwaters slow to recede in NSW as weather bureau warns of more rain on the way More rain is forecast for NSW this week, as flood warnings continue and residents in some towns remain cut off by floodwaters.According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), a new trough and associated low pressure system is expected to move across the western region during Monday before progressing eastwards.

The latest flood event is one of several already experienced by the small community of Wee Waa. (ABC News: Jerry Rickard) © Provided by ABC NEWS The latest flood event is one of several already experienced by the small community of Wee Waa. (ABC News: Jerry Rickard)

Flood waters have turned the regional town of Wee Waa, on the north-west plains of New South Wales, into an island.

"If you get to look at Wee Waa from above, it's surrounded by water," SES volunteer Matt Nolan told 7.30.

The town's 2,000 residents have been cut off from neighbouring areas, relying on the State Emergency Service (SES) to shuttle them across floodwaters.

It's a reality many locals have grown accustomed to after repeated floods this year.

"It's like a continuous flood where the amount of water that's actually here in the area isn't having time to get away," Mr Nolan said.

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  Australia weather: Heavy rain and flooding: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide Almost every part of Australia will experience rain over the next 10 days as a massive rain bomb makes its way across the country.Extremely heavy falls, hailstones, thunderstorms and flooding is expected for large parts of the east coast, particularly southern New South Wales and Victoria.

"It just keeps coming."

The former police officer turned volunteer has been monitoring water levels and delivering supplies to anyone cut off by the floods.

"I suppose it's like a bit of a theatre, where everyone has their part and plays their part," he told 7.30.

Mr Nolan helped coordinate the land and air delivery of medicine to a family stranded more than 50km from the centre of town.

"It's the little things, like the groceries they need that they can't get," he said

"The medications are the most important thing.

"But most of these people are very resilient living on the land."

Jono Phelps manages 8,000 acres of farmland around Wee Waa, growing cotton, chickpeas, and wheat.

Floodways straddle his property, with a foot of water currently soaking some crops.

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  Violent storm wakes Sydney with thousands of lightning strikes Sydneysiders were woken before dawn by the display - and more severe weather could hit commuters on Wednesday afternoon.Residents of metropolitan Sydney were awoken just before dawn by the lightning display, which also brought heavy rain to some parts of the city. Canterbury recorded 9.4 mm in the hour between 5am and 6am.

"We've got chickpeas in the floodway," he said. "They might not survive the floodwater."

"That'll be our biggest loss."

Recent floods have already doubled the cost of a $1 million dam Mr Phelps is building on his property, but the third-generation farmer is optimistic as cotton planting season approaches.

"Going forward with the cotton, and also we have a wheat harvest coming up, so long as the weather is kind to us, the prospects are looking good," he told 7.30.

"We can make money out of moisture and mud; it's very hard to do it out of dry ground and dust.

"The best way to cope with all this is try to sleep well at night time, have a couple of red wines for medicinal purposes in the evening, and then keep on the right side of the bank manager."

But with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) declaring a third La Nina weather event — when strong winds and changing currents cause heavy rainfall — many flood-prone communities are facing a wet summer.

Storm season starts early amid NSW rain

  Storm season starts early amid NSW rain This year's storm season is likely to be wetter than usual in NSW, with emergency services remaining on alert and new warnings in place for at-risk residents.Storms have hit NSW this week, adding further rain to persistent showers as some parts of the state deal with ongoing flooding.

"Right across the eastern states, we've got a wet outlook for the next three months, taking us out to January," said BOM climate monitoring head, Karl Braganza.

"What we've had is 18 months of consistent rain, so the dams are full … and all the river catchment areas are full, and the ground is saturated," added NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York.

SES have 'learnt lessons' from previous floods

A July flood inquiry found the SES was "overwhelmed" during the flood events of February and March this year.

It detailed how at one location, the SES failed to action up to 3,000 calls for help.

"They're full of volunteers who do their very best, but there wasn't enough in terms of resources," Mary O'Kane, who co-led the inquiry, told 7.30.

"They're very stretched."

Commissioner York said the SES is prepared, launching a new warning system on Thursday ahead of the impending storm season.

It's the first overhaul of messaging in the agency's history.

"We have learnt lessons from it," she said.

"We always look at how we can improve."

Commissioner York said an additional 1,300 volunteers have signed up.

Meanwhile, flood-fatigued residents and emergency responders will remain on high alert.

"Any rain that falls now for the next three months will be converted into runoff, so that is why the flood risk is elevated," Mr Braganza said.

"We like to say to people: know your weather, know your risk."

Watch 7.30, Mondays to Thursdays 7.30pm on ABC iview and ABC TV

Urgent tornado warning is issued for Victoria, New South Wales .
A massive wet weather system could bring tornadic conditions, including large hailstones and dangerous winds, to two states on Thursday afternoon.Sky News meteorologist Alison Osborne said towns in the northwest of Victoria are at risk of a 'tornadic supercell' system on Thursday afternoon.

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