Australia – Floods Turn Deadly in New South Wales

Parts of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia have seen heavy rain since 22 September 2022, triggering floods in several parts of the state. State Emergency Services (NSW SES) carried over 40 high water rescues. NSW Police reported one person died in flood waters in the Central West Region.

Flooding in Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia, September 2022. Photo: NSW SES

On 24 September NSW Police said the body of a young boy was located in a vehicle that was swept away in flood waters at the Genaren Creek in Tullamore near Parkes, in the state’s Central West overnight.

Four occupants of the vehicle escaped and were able to cling to trees until they were rescued and taken to hospital. Tragically the five-year-old boy became trapped in the car before it submerged. A second vehicle was later swept away by floods in the same location but the occupants escaped unharmed.

NSW SES reported heavy rainfall brought by to a slow-moving low-pressure system impacted areas of the state from 22 September. According to figures from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), the weather station at Meldrum recorded 370 mm of rain fell in 48 hours to 23 September. In a 24 hour period to 23 September, Lowanna near Coffs Harbour recorded 186 mm and Wooli Beach near Grafton saw 149.8 mm.

As of 22 September NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said the NSW SES had remained very busy across western and southern parts of the state.

“Many other river systems and towns are experiencing flooding. We’ve conducted 49 flood rescues and handled 543 requests for assistance” she said.

“The number of flood rescues continue to rise with people being trapped in their vehicles. We are again reminding people to monitor road conditions and if you should come across flood affected roads, make the safe decision, turn around and find an alternate route.”

As of 22 September, flooding was reported in a number of locations across the state including the Namoi River in Gunnedah and Wee Waa; the Macquarie River in Warren, Wellington and Narromine; the Lachlan River in Euabalong, Jemalong and Forbes; and along the Narran River.

A series of photos from the NSW SES tasked reconnaissance helicopter flight around Gunnedah on 24 September showed significant flooding from the Namoi River. BoM said the Namoi River peaked at 8.24 metres early on 24 September but is expected to remain above or near the major flood level over the weekend at Gunnedah.

This is the first of many flood events expected in New South Wales over the coming period. NSW SES said it is “preparing for busy months ahead after the third La Nina being declared”.

“We’re busy recruiting additional volunteers, moving vehicles and boats into flood prone areas and preparing our equipment and units to be able to respond,” NSW SES added.

Flooding in Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia, September 2022. Photo: NSW SES