Warnings of life-threatening flooding in NSW and Queensland after deluges trigger emergency rescues | Australia news

Date: 2021-11-11 05:46:59

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued warnings for multiple “dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding” events that could wreak havoc across New South Wales and Queensland on Thursday.

In NSW, deluges in the north of the state triggered emergency rescues overnight, with the State Emergency Service already receiving nearly 200 calls for assistance.

The BoM has cited further severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in the northern island, upper hunter, centre west and south west of the state on Thursday afternoon and evening.

The bureau is also predicting severe thunderstorms across a large part of Queensland, with Queensland Fire and Emergency warning “we’re going to cop some form of wild weather today”.

The dangerous weather is the result of a low pressure system moving eastwards from South Australia across NSW, a trough moving south from Queensland, and an “extremely moist air mass” from the tropics, which are predicted to combine to deliver intense localised rainfall in some areas.

In NSW, northern parts of the north-west slopes and plains, and the northern tablelands, are expected to experience the most severe rain and flooding, with six hourly totals exceeding 100mm.

Damaging to destructive winds are also predicted for late Thursday.

Areas around the Gwydir River, which is predicted to deliver major flooding, received huge falls on Wednesday, with 94mm recorded at Delungra and 76mm near Narrabri in the north-west slopes.

BoM senior meteorologist Jane Golding said that’s more rain than Narrabri would typically receive for all of November.

In Queensland, major flooding is predicted for the Darling Downs and Granite Belt areas, while severe thunderstorms are expected across much of the rest of the state.

In the 24 hours to Thursday afternoon, Weringa Creek recorded 96mm of rain, while 91mm fell in Stanthorpe. BoM warned six-hourly rainfall totals could reach 150mm in these areas on Thursday.

Parts of Victoria and SA are also likely to experience heavy rain and damaging winds on Thursday.

“Severe thunderstorms may also develop and produce localised INTENSE RAINFALL which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding,” BoM’s warning said for both NSW and Queensland.

Bom meteorologist Jonathan How said “rain around the Queensland-NSW border has already triggered river rises and flood warnings are current” and that “these will evolve as more rainfalls and water flows downstream”.

How also warned that damaging winds predicted as part of the thunderstorms will have the potential to down trees.

NSW emergency services minister David Elliott said the SES has received more than 190 calls for help since the deluge began on Wednesday.

The SES has already been called out for six flood rescues. While most requests for assistance were from people in the north-eastern part of the state, there were also storm-related calls from Sydney.

SES deputy commissioner Daniel Austin says the SES was “heartened” by an incident near Narrabri on Wednesday afternoon that showed people were heeding repeated warnings not to drive through flood waters.

About 5.30pm an empty school bus and three 4WDs, including one with children inside, were caught on a road between two creeks that had risen quickly.

“Those people stayed in place and chose not to drive through those flood waters,” Austin said.

“They called emergency services and we worked together to get those people out … that’s a really positive outcome that highlights what you can do and what you shouldn’t do: driving through flood waters.”

A rescue took place near Bingara about midnight, with four SES crews ferrying up to 30 visitors at a flooded caravan park out of danger, Austin said.

“This is a fast-moving event in places, the risk is not just from the long, slow rainfall, but these sharp short thunderstorms,” Austin says.

“People across NSW have had a couple days of warning … we’re asking people across the whole state to take that into account and be prepared,” he said.

With Australian Associated Press

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