Emergency services have carried out more than 200 flood rescues in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, after widespread heavy rain from 12 November 2022 led to dangerous flash flooding across much of the state.
Flash flooding has also struck in parts of neighbouring Victoria state, where over 50 people have been rescued. Severe weather including strong winds has left thousands without power in South Australia, while heavy rain and flooding are forecast for Tasmania in the coming days.
New South Wales
New South Wales State Emergency Services (NSW SES) said widespread rainfall and thunderstorms led to dangerous flash flooding.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued a severe weather warning for areas of the Central Western Region of New South Wales, including heavy rainfall and flash flooding for towns of Eugowra, Derribong and Canowindra.
As of 14 November there were 14 emergency warnings to evacuate including in parts of Collarenebri, Canowindra, Eugowra, East Condobolin, Moama, Doctors Point, Albury and Orange. The town of Molong has been completely isolated by floodwater.
In 24 hours to 14 November NSW SES has responded to more than 855 requests for assistance and 204 flood rescues in areas including in Alectown, Albury and Woodstock where NSW SES were called to assist six vehicles in flood water after a bridge washed away.
The situation is particularly severe in the town of Eugowra in Central West region. Helicopters have been used to rescue dozens of people stranded in floods and and rooftops. NSW SES said emergency teams carried out more than 140 flood rescues and that one in five residents have been rescued in the last 24 hours by either helicopter or boat. Roads have been cut, leaving the town completely isolated.
“This is a very serious situation, not just in Eugowra but in many places particularly along the Lachlan River,” NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said.
BoM said there are significant concerns for the communities of Forbes and Bathurst in New South Wales, with Major Flood warnings current. Major Flooding is likely at Forbes from 15 November, with the Lachlan River likely to peak at around 10.80 metres on 17 November.
Major flooding is occurring along the upper Macquarie River at Bathurst, with the river expected to reach above levee height of 6.90 metres.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported the highest 2-day rainfall totals to early 15 November included:
- 165 mm at Tuena, Southern Tablelands, NSW
- 144 mm at Mount Hotham, Victoria
- 133 mm at Tallandoon, Victoria
- 127 mm at Forbes Airport, NSW (118 mm on 13 November)
- 118 mm at Orange, NSW (100 mm on 13 November)
- 106 mm at Parkes Airport, NSW
- 92 mm at Rutherglen, Victoria
- 92 mm at Yankalilla, South Australia
- 88 mm at Bathurst, NSW
Much of the rain has fallen in areas that have already seen severe flooding over the past months.
“The ground is so saturated that all it takes is one heavy downpour to cause the type of life-threatening flash flooding that we have experienced overnight, and into today,” NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said.
Severe weather including heavy rain and floods as well as strong winds affected parts of Victoria State in Australia from 13 November 2022. Victoria State Emergency Service said it responded to more than 780 calls for assistance as of 14 November and rescued over 50 people.
Flash flooding struck in parts of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria after heavy rain on 13 November. People in Mount Martha, Mornington, Hastings and Dromana were told to stay indoors. A freight train derailed at Inverleigh near of Geelong. Further north residents in areas around Ballarat were also warned to stay indoors because of flash flooding.
South Australia and Tasmania
Severe weather also affected parts of South Australia state, where thousands of lightning strikes were reported on 13 November. Strong winds downed trees leaving over 160,000 homes and businesses without power.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology warned that heavy rain is expected to develop across the south-east and lower east of Tasmania on 15 November ahead of cold southerly winds and cooler temperatures, with the potential for flooding in some areas.