Wallacia isolated as rain continues to fall; flood emergency far from over

Water covers River Road in Emu Plains. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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As rain continues to pour in Penrith and other parts of the state, experts warn that residents should remain on alert for more flood risks.

The Nepean River at Penrith peaked at 9.51 metres around 2.00am this morning and is currently at 8.23 metres and falling, with moderate flooding.

It may fall below the moderate flood level (7.90m) later this afternoon.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet held a press conference this morning with key agency leaders to provide a flood update.

He thanked the State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers as well as the community for following instructions.

“Over the last few days there has been 116 flood rescues and since 9pm last night we had 83 flood rescues. There have been 1593 requests for assistance and a substantial effort on the ground from our SES teams who I want to thank again,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Across NSW we have had 64 evacuation warnings and 71 evacuation orders impacting 32,000 people…we expect to see that number rise over the course of the week.”

Low-lying areas around Penrith have received evacuation warnings and parts of Penrith, Emu Plains, Emu Heights and Londonderry have been ordered to evacuate.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said some locations have received around 100mm of rain over 24 hours and can expect up to 150mm today.

“Looking into the longer term although the rain rate should start to decrease over through the Sydney Illawarra over today or later tonight, we are expecting continued shower activity along the NSW coast for remainder of week,” Ms Golding said.

“That just means the catchments are not drying out so any follow up systems across the couple of weeks, and we are still in the east coast low season means the flood risk does remain and we are asking for a heightened level of awareness with the weather at the moment.”

Based on the predictions provided by the Bureau of Meteorology the SES is warning that low lying properties in the Regentville area may be flooded.

Some properties in Peach Tree Creek (west) are also likely to be isolated by the inundation of High Street near Ladbury Avenue in Penrith.

Wallacia currently remains isolated with residents keeping close watch on access roads and bridges.

Park Road did re-open a short time ago but could close again. Other access points remain closed.

With road closures and flash flooding impacting locals in other parts of Penrith Local Government Area, Deputy Premier Paul Toole reminded people to avoid flood waters.

“You don’t know what lies underneath, you don’t know how deep it is or how fast it is flowing, and it can change to be deadly very quickly,” Mr Toole said.

“People in cars, or bikes or any onlookers should stay away from floodwaters because if you are caught up not only are you putting your life at risk, you are putting the lives of our emergency service personal at risk as well.”

Water covers River Road at Emu Plains. Photo: Melinda Jane.

As the Hawkesbury Nepean remains a key focus for river flooding, NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York said the state is “not out of danger yet”.

“NSW SES is out there responding to the community and is working with police and other emergency agencies,” she said.

“Please avoid any non-essential travel and if you have to, expect delays as there are lots of roads cut and detours in place… keep up to date with the SES website, BOM website and Live Traffic for the location where you need to travel.”

With three flood events in two years, the idea of raising the Warragamba Dam wall is once again being discussed.

Minister for western Sydney, Stuart Ayres told Mark Levy on 2GB that adding an additional 14 metres height is very important.

“If we did that, we would hold a 1,000 gigalitres of water, that’s twice the size of Sydney Harbour and that’s a lot of water we’d be able to hold back,” Mr Ayres said.

“The time has come for people to recognise that this community deserves better flood mitigation than what we have at the moment, and I think it’s time for all representative to get on board to support that.”

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