Date: 2021-11-20 07:55:18
Severe storms have hit parts of northern NSW, delivering damaging winds and more heavy rain to saturated catchments, along with a risk of widespread flooding.
A low pressure system from the Northern Territory is on track to deepen as it meets a southern cold front, with warnings for an area stretching from west of Bourke to east of Inverell, and south of Scone expanded to include coastal areas just north of Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday evening those storms were expected to hit the coast between Lismore and Taree.
They are likely to bring damaging winds and large hailstones.
More than 10mm of rain fell in the 20 minutes before 4pm at Inverell, while Narrabri and Coonabarabran recorded similar amounts over a few hours.
Crawney Mountain, south of Tamworth, received 19mm in an hour.
NSW has already experienced wet weather for much of the month with floods threatening around the state.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said on Friday the landscape is already “quite sensitive” and floods are a risk.
“We’ve seen quite a lot of rain over the last 18 months … the catchments are saturated, quite a lot of dams are full and some of our rivers are still quite high,” she said.
A 105km/h wind gust was recorded at Moree airport on Saturday.
Minor to moderate flooding is predicted on the Belubula and Bell rivers at Orange and Molong, while minor flooding is also set to impact parts of the Upper Macintyre, Gwydir, Peel, Castlereagh and Macquarie rivers.
A moderate to major flood warning is still active for the Lachlan River as its height continues to drop slowly after peaking centimetres below the major flood level on Thursday.
Residents in Forbes in the state’s central west were evacuated and farmers in the surrounding areas are counting the cost of lost crops.
Releases from Wyangala Dam are likely to keep river heights up in Forbes but rain forecast for Sunday is not expected to raise levels further.
Ms Golding says the bureau expects the forecast “to evolve quite a bit” as the system develops over the weekend.
“Where the rain falls and the storms develop will depend on which track that (system) takes through NSW,” she said.