One of the largest dams in Australia will spill massive amounts of water in the next few days. Officials warn of overflowing rivers and damp soil across the area. The monsoon-like rains will potentially cause devastation across the country throughout the winter season.
On Monday night, the NSW State Emergency Service issued an “evacuate now” order for people in South Albury. Specifically, the directive was aimed at people in the state’s south and Western Plains Tourist Park in the Central West. They also urged residents of Forbes to prepare to evacuate before 7am on Tuesday.
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke has now called for overseas help for flood rescue efforts. The record spill from Wyangala dam has made the flooding worse across Central West NSW.
On Monday, the government had called in a dozen flood rescue operators from New Zealand, according to Cooke. Seventy local government areas in NSW had a natural disaster declaration in place. She said the NSW SES also worked with Singapore and the United States to enlist extra help.
The overnight dam spill on Monday initially released 200,000 megaliters a day. However, this amount quickly increased to 230,000 megaliters a day and will last for days. This sounds alarms in many towns – including Forbes and Condobolin – as water levels could rise along the Lachlan River and its tributaries. As a comparison, Sydney Harbour holds about 562,000 megaliters.
A WaterNSW spokesman said the 230,000 megalitre outflow was a record. It beat 205,000 megalitres during flooding back in 1990. “The entire Central West of NSW has been hit very hard in the past 24 hours from flooding,” Cooke said.
“This [weather] event is now in its 62nd day and every day it throws up new challenges for our communities and for our emergency services, personnel and organizations.”
Australian Authorities Talk About Record-Level Dam Flooding
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Steve Bernasconi spoke about the potential for more rain across western NSW this weekend. He said the risk of further flooding was far from over, which could be catastrophic.
“All the streams are full, all the soil is full, and all the dams are full. So, it really only takes a thimble full of water to cause problems in our western districts at the moment,” Bernasconi said.
Cooke reported that there were nine major flood warnings in place across the state. Places such as Canowindra had copped falls of up to 120 millimeters in the 24 hours to 9am Monday.
“The areas of concern are Parkes, Forbes, Eugowra, Molong, Cowra, Canowindra, Blayney and Young, Yass – many, communities across the Central West, the west and the southern parts of NSW.
“Sixteen [flood warnings] are at emergency warning level Canowindra, Derriwong and Cowra, where residents have been urged to evacuate immediately. ”
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the majority of these floods had shifted southwest from the town of Molong to Eugowra on Mandagery Creek. This is located about 35 kilometers west of Forbes.
“Eugowra is the number one concern right now. We’re throwing everything into it,” Perrottet told Sydney radio station 2GB.
The SES has received 470 calls for help. So far, the authorities have conducted 173 flood rescues since 7am.