Receding NSW floods reveal destruction

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While some towns in central NSW have begun the difficult process of cleaning up after devastating floods, others have yet to be hit by the record-breaking spike.

In UKTN, where the water had largely receded, residents are awaiting word from state emergency services assessors on whether they can return to their homes.

Meanwhile, immediate relief is now focused on Condobolin, where floodwaters peaked at 7.59 meters on Sunday and stabilized at about 7.57 meters, with major flooding on Monday afternoon.

As the flood spike moved downstream along the Lachlan River, residents of Deniliquin were told to evacuate on Wednesday.

To make matters worse, widespread strong to damaging winds in excess of 90km/h plagued much of southeastern Australia throughout Monday.

“Winds from the west will ease tonight, but the risk of damaging winds may persist until Tuesday morning in the elevated parts of Victoria and NSW,” the Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.

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“Due to soil saturation, the risks of falling trees and high-voltage cables are greater.”

Authorities are closely monitoring a two-mile temporary levee around Condobolin’s CBD, which SES Superintendent Dallas Burns says is expected to be held in place.

As floodwaters recede in UKTN, the city is moving into the recovery phase, with Emergency Services Secretary Steph Cooke saying damage assessments are being carried out, with the aim of allowing some people to return home.

ADF troops are helping with sandbags and house cleaning, although some parts of the city are still waterlogged.

“More than 1,000 damage assessments have been done in UKTN, more than half of which have experienced some degree of damage,” said SES Assistant Commissioner Sean Kearns.

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“We have NSW SES crews continuing to assist communities downstream from flooding on the Lachlan River near Euabalong and the Edward River near Deniliquin with sandbags, supplies and evacuation.”

Singapore flood rescuers are helping in Deniliquin and communities along the Lachlan River.

As the spike moves downstream, Ms Cooke says already isolated communities are bracing for serious water level rises.

“Our thoughts are with those communities,” she said.

“We know you are struggling and will stand by you through the response and recovery phase.”

Nine recovery centers opened this week to support communities, including in Eugowra, Orange, Parkes, Gunnedah, Cudal, Wagga Wagga, Narrabri and Moree.

The multi-agency hubs are designed to help flood-affected individuals, families, farmers and business owners begin the cleanup, recovery and rebuilding process.

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In the 24 hours to Monday afternoon, the SES received 657 calls for help and conducted two flood rescues.

There are 102 alerts in the state, 17 of which are emergency-level.

Many of the calls for help came from across Sydney and the Illawarra, where wind gusts of up to 100 km/h uprooted trees, blew away roofs and downed power lines.

“With winds as strong as today, we are asking residents to get their cars out from under the trees and secure items in their yards and businesses that could become airborne, including trampolines or sheet metal,” Mr Kearns said.

“Residents can prepare for wind by removing tree branches over buildings and tidying up the roofing material.”

-MONKEY

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