‘High danger area’: People ordered to evacuate

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An evacuation order has been issued for some residents in a high-danger area for flooding in NSW with floodwaters expected to inundate roads.

An evacuation order has been issued for residents in parts of Singleton, in the NSW Upper Hunter, with authorities saying it is a “high-danger area”.

Residents of Whittingham, Scotts Flat, Glenridding, Dunolly and Combo were ordered to evacuate their homes by 7pm Saturday.

“NSW SES is directing people along the Hunter River within Whittingham, Scotts Flat, Glenridding, Dunolly and Combo areas to evacuate the high danger area,” the State Emergency Service said.

“Once floodwater passes 11m on the Singleton gauge at Whittingham and Scotts Flat roads will begin to close.

“Once flood water begins inundating the area road access water, sewerage, power, phones and internet may be lost.

“If you remain in the area you will be trapped and it may be too dangerous for SES to rescue you.”

Major flood warnings have been in place in several parts of the state and a small northern community was cut off on all sides by the rising waters.

The deluge has caused Sydney‘s Warragamba Dam to spill over and several rivers are rising.

“Please be prepared, evacuate early if you have to, and keep an eye on the river heights and the messaging from the SES,” NSW State Emergency Service official Peter Evans said.

Mr Evans spoke in a video message the Upper Hunter Region where flooding threatened to hit the town of Singleton on Saturday evening and continue into the following morning.

A Bureau of Meteorology weather station in Kars Springs in the Upper Hunter measured 109 millimetres in just 12 hours up to 9.30pm Friday.

“It‘s quite a significant amount of rain that’s fallen in a short time,” Bureau meteorologist Jordan Notara said.

The Hunter River, which flows through that area and southeast to Newcastle, has a major flood warning in place at Singleton.

There the river threatens to reach 12.7m by Sunday morning with further rising possible.

Denman and Maitland could see moderate flooding on Monday morning as well.

The Lachlan River has flooded as well, especially at Jemalong where river levels peaked at 7.94m earlier in the week.

The level remains high at 7.7 metres as of Saturday.

Another watercourse that’s flooding in a major way is the Castlereagh River, where Coonamble is likely to see the worst effects.

The Peel and Namoi rivers also have major flood warnings in place near several communities, including Gunnedah, Narrabri, and Wee Waa.

Wee Waa was completely cut off from neighbouring communities at the start of the weekend and could be isolated for up to 10 days.

“We'll be keeping a very close eye (on Wee Waa) and managing any resupply issues that arise by boat or by using helicopters,” SES official Dave Rankin told the ABC.

The Bureau of Meteorology also warned about a severe thunderstorm over northern NSW, where communities like Glen Innes, Inverell and Bingara could be hit by heavy rains and lightning.

“That has the potential to produce some river rises again in those areas,” the Bureau‘s Mr Notara said.

People who may have to evacuate are urged to prepare early and to immediately leave when told by emergency officials.

Officials have also pleaded with people not to drive through flood waters and to stay away from downed power lines.

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