Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Josh Taylor and Calla Wahlquist (earlier)

Body found in search for woman swept away in NSW – as it happened

Mckenzie park in South Lismore
Flooding is seen at Mckenzie park in South Lismore. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP

Flood summary

We’ll leave our rolling coverage of the flood emergency here for the day. This is what we know:


SES says 139 warnings in place in NSW

The NSW State Emergency Service has called on the public to pay attention to local flood advice, with 139 warnings in place, including 18 emergency warnings advising residents to evacuate or move to higher ground.

Deputy commissioner Daniel Austin said:

While rain has affected the east coast over the weekend including the northern rivers, mid-north coast and Hunter, our focus continues on many communities on the western side of the Great Dividing Range along the Murray, Gwydir, Peel, Namoi, Murrumbidgee Rivers and the Central West, where our emergency warnings are in place.

Over the past week, NSW SES members have responded to 2,150 requests for assistance and 107 flood rescues, and delivered about 500,000 sandbags since the start of October.


Optus restores services around Moree

Optus has worked to restore towers taken out in northern NSW by flooding over the weekend.

A spokesperson has confirmed that there were power outages in a tower covering Bellata, Moree and surrounds that caused data and voice services to drop out.

To bring the towers back online, Optus had worked with the NSW Telco Authority, airlifting a generator and technician to the site.

The spokesperson said the sites are operating as normal now, and services have been restored.

The spokesperson said:

We apologise to impacted customers and thank them for their patience.

Optus’ response to the floods has involved extensive generator deployments which has mitigated network impact, and we are continuing to work with the resources in the area to ensure coverage is maintained.


Shepparton SES is providing an update – there are about 55 flood-affected homes in Barmah. The flood level is expected to get to around 7.6 metres, which is lower than predicted.


Moderate flooding at Kialla West

There is moderate flooding happening at Kialla West, near Shepparton, with the Seven Creeks at 5.24 metres and rising.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the creek is likely to remain above moderate flood levels all day with “further rises likely”.

Flooding upstream on Seven Creeks, at Euroa, has eased and fallen below the minor flood level of 2.5 metres. It’s currently at 2.36m and falling.


Up to $192m worth of wheat crops destroyed in NSW

The value of 120,000 hectares of wheat crops lost in northern NSW could be as high as $192m, agronomists have said, prompting fresh calls for urgent financial support for farmers to be allocated in tomorrow’s federal budget.

More from AAP:

NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chair Justin Everitt said some farmers were calling it a “wet drought”, and while it is unlikely to impact food prices in the short-term, he said for some growers it will be a financial disaster.

“You spend all this money preparing your paddocks – sowing your crops, fertilising and spraying them – only to see them wiped out a couple weeks before harvest. It’s heartbreaking,” Everitt said.

It’s a big turnaround in fortune from the big bumper harvest ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics) was predicting a couple of months ago.

“We’ve had a huge crop across the state in those places where people could get on paddocks to sow, but now that’s all under threat too.”

Grain farmer Matthew Madden received 243mm of rain between Wednesday and Friday last week at his farm 25km west of Moree, and remains cut off from the town.

Madden, also a director of Grain Producers Australia, is expecting downgrades on his wheat while others will face “catastrophic losses.”

He said normally the rainfall wouldn’t have done the damage it had done, but it had fallen in already-full catchments.

“Very preliminary assessments done found at least 120,000 hectares of crop could be lost, my personal belief is that that could that could be conservative,” he said.

He said there will also be other associated costs, for example for contractors who won’t be able to harvest, as well as the damage done to infrastructure.

Madden said only three years ago he had witnessed the driest year on his property and now it is the reverse.

“2019 was the worst we’d ever seen, and now it’s the highest water level, all in three years,” he said.

NSW Farmers Business, Economics and Trade Committee chair John Lowe called on the federal government to bolster relief payments in the budget.

“There are many impacted farmers who will be cash poor and without an income as a result of this flooding,” Lowe said.

“So many of our towns and businesses depend on agriculture, so it is critical farmers have the certainty to try again next season.

“Swift financial assistance – or the lack thereof – could make or break many farming communities.”


The clean-up is underway in Rochester, a small town between Echuca and Bendigo on the Campaspe River.

Volunteers from Bendigo are providing the necessary fuel.

Some scenes from the flooding in northern NSW.

‘We’ll deal with the rest when we can’

In east Echuca, Tamara Davies and her husband evacuated at the start of last week. They came back when they realised the flood was not going to be as bad as predicted.

Tamara’s husband has been away for work for the past few days. She has remained, and juggled looking after their three children with helping out the community using the resource she had to hand: her mum van.

I’ve got a seven-seater SUV, so I took out the pram, took out the nappy bag and cleared it out.

I was going to the sandbagging place, they were putting in 25 sandbags in at a time. Then we were just driving around to whoever needed them.

Tamara Davies next to her SUV
Tamara Davies has been using her family car to deliver sandbags to people who need them in Echuca. Photograph: Cait Kelly/The Guardian

On Wednesday, before flood waters started to steadily rise, Davies was called to a house on the unprotected side of the levee. She only had six sandbags left.

The looks on their faces when I presented six sandbags. Not good.

She jumped in her car and went back to the sandbagging depot, and got a truck and six pallets delivered within 15 minutes.

When I came back they were a lot happier.

The Davies’s back yard had flooded with water, which is seeping under the house.

I’ve just noticed yesterday, our front doors gone a bit like cockeyed, so I reckon it’s gonna be down under the house now.

What can you do? As long as the kids have somewhere to be that is safe, we’ll deal with the rest when we can.


‘At the end of the day we’re lucky’

Cindy O’Neill owns a bookstore in Echuca. This morning she was in her shop putting all the stock back that had been moved to higher shelves.

She said:

We were so panicked when they said the river levels would come up 1.2 metres up this front door, that we’ve moved everything up out of order.

So now not only do we have to bring it down, but we have to work out where everything goes back in order, because it’s all alphabetised.

It’s better to be prepared than not prepared … But at the same time, it’s just frustrating. We’ve lost nearly two weeks of pre-Christmas sales.

O’Neill said they should be ready to reopen in the next week, and were grateful waters didn’t come as high as they were first warned.

At the end of the day, we’re lucky we’re not cleaning up mud. I feel more for those people that are over in the east that, they are doing it tough at the moment.

Outside the store, the CFA is pumping water from the town’s drains back into the Campaspe River. There are concerns the sewage pipes will be compromised, and the water will become undrinkable. Everyone has been warned to buy water.

Smiling woman between two rows of shelves in a bookstore
Echuca bookstore owner Cindy O’Neill has spent the day moving books back to lower shelves. Photograph: Cait Kelly/The Guardian


Scenes from Echuca, where the Murray River has risen to 94.9m above sea-level

To the left of Echuca’s famous levee the houses remain dry. With the flood peak expected to come on Monday, those homes have been saved.

Houses on the ‘wet side’ of the levee have been inundated, and the residents have been left fighting to lower the rising levels of water inside their homes.

Julie Golledge lives on the wet side. Her house is built high, but after last night’s rain, there is water lapping at her front door.

“It has risen overnight,” Golledge said.

As we speak, there were men inside her kitchen cutting a hole through the floor so they could pump out the water in her garage.

Golledge said she “had gone past” anxiety and was just waiting now to see when it would peak.

Along the town’s main strip businesses have been closed for more than a week now, sandbags piled across their front doors.

SES deputy incident controller Anthony McLean said people should evacuate now – or risk being isolated for up to 10 days.

“If you do not relocate now, you could become isolated for up to 10 days. If you choose to stay, emergency services may not be able to help you,” he said. “The evacuation route is currently open but may not stay that way.”

Heavy rainfall overnight had brought an extra 70mm to parts of Echuca, with the river now sitting at 94.9m.

“Further heavy rainfall is forecast early this week, which may cause renewed river level rises and flooding,” McLean said.

Water around a house
A home on the ‘wet side’ of the levee in Echuca. Photograph: Cait Kelly/The Guardian


Back in northern Victoria, communities by the Murray River are by no means out of the woods.

This is Barmah, north-east of Echuca/Moama.

Some 20km down the road, the levee is holding out at Nathalia.

But the water is rising in the township of Numurkah, not far from the regional city of Shepparton, which was hit by major flooding last week.


Severe thunderstorm warning for three NSW districts

In inland New South Wales, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of the Riverina, Lower Western and Upper Western forecast districts.

Heavy rainfall with thunderstorms may lead to flash flooding.

The BoM:

A low in north-west Victoria is extending a trough up into south-west Queensland. Thunderstorms are developing in the moist airmass to the east of this trough today.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours.


Macintyre River to peak at 10.2 metres later today

On the border of Queensland and New South Wales, the Macintyre River is rising and expected to peak at Goondiwindi at around 10.2 metres later on today.

The BoM:

Flood waters are moving through the Macintyre River catchment from heavy rainfall over the past 48 hours. A flood peak is currently downstream of the Holdfast area and is expected to meet flood waters arriving from the Dumaresq River and MacIntyre Brook.

Showers and thunderstorms are forecast for the next few days.


NSW flood buyback announcement coming soon: Perrottet

Perrottet said an announcement will be made about buybacks of flood-affected properties “very soon”.

We have reached and agreement with the commonwealth government and are working through finer details in relation to that, that we will release that shortly.

Right now – I have been in touch with the prime minister over the last couple of days in relation to this and our focus right now is on the emergency response but we will have something to say very shortly in relation to that.


Perrottet defends Lismore flood warnings

Asked if the warnings for the Lismore region should not have gone out, given that the actual river level was lower than expected, Perrottet said he would always prefer to be more cautious than to get the warning wrong.

When we had a secondary flood last time up in the northern rivers and around Lismore there were concerns that orders didn’t get put in place in time. I completely back the decision that today’s news is incredibly welcome in relation to Lismore but I’d make this point, there are still challenges coming our way.

I know it is tough for them. I saw just the stories last night and having people interviewed in their homes and in their businesses, many are broken after what’s occurred over the past 12 months and to see this potentially happening again would be absolutely devastating for them. So I completely accept that.

But as premier of the state, my view is that we should be providing as much notice as possible, preparing for the worst to keep people safe. And it is pleasing news overnight but we are not through it, we need to continue to follow those instructions and it is still a long journey. We are having these events after events right across the state but the community in the northern rivers has done it tough in the north and it is a long journey back and we will continue to work close with them to help every person get through.


On the impact on farmers specifically, Perrottet said:

Particularly in places like Moree, we were looking for our agricultural communities and farmers were looking forward to a bumper harvest.

This has been a tragic time for many families in regional New South Wales. We’ve gone through a drought four years ago, and now we’ve gone through floods, so when expectations were higher, we are now seeing particularly our primary producers and agricultural communities across New South Wales being faced with another hit.

He said there would be primary producer grants available.


Parts of NSW ‘haven’t seen floods like these in 100 years’: Perrottet

Perrottet was asked how this flood disaster compares to earlier flood disasters this year.

The difference, he says, is how widespread it is.

By the time we get through this event, we have almost the entire state at some point in time that has been affected by a natural disaster of one form or another.

Now in relation to the northern rivers, as Steve pointed out, at this stage they have – we have downgraded the warnings for the northern rivers from severe to moderate and that’s pleasing because it was obviously a very difficult night last night and there was a lot of concern in that community. From what the people of the northern rivers have gone through over the last 18 months, there is a lot of anxiety in that community and that is understandable. So I think the fact that it was not as bad as we had predicted is positive news but once again there is a long way to go and we cannot take anything for granted.

Places like Moree – we are seeing places in areas of New South Wales that haven’t seen floods like these in 100 years. And so it is a difficult time. It is going to take time as well for the floodwaters to recede and the clean-up. Now given the extent – probably the question on the cost, given the extent of the flooding my expectation would be that there will be significant cost involved once again, particularly on the rebuilding of local roads.

… There’s going to have to be a substantial infrastructure repair program across the state and my expectation as well as we cannot build back the same way, we need to build back better in a way that ensures that when the next event occurs our road and public services and infrastructure are in a better place than they were before the flood.

Perrottet said he’d had “incredibly constructive” conversations with Anthony Albanese about funding that repair and recovery process.

Once further information comes to light in relation to the extend of the damage we will, I would say in certain area, be proceeding to the next level of funding and this is a partnership between the state and federal governments. That is what you have budgets for, they are there to help our people and that is what we will do.


Flash-flooding risk to peak tomorrow

The biggest risk to life from the floods is that of flash-flooding, and that’s expected to peak tomorrow, Bernasconi said.

We’ve had significant weather today but we do expect still weather tomorrow as the systems move down to the South Coast. Probably the greatest risk is for severe rain events which has the potential to have isolated heavy falls. That brings with it a risk of flash floods. That is probably the risk that is pre-eminent right now.


Now nine major flood warnings in NSW

There are currently 26 flood warnings for NSW river systems, nine of which are for major flooding.

But first, Lismore: as we just mentioned, the major flood warning has been downgraded to moderate flooding, with the river expected to peak at 7.8 metres later today.

Other rivers of note:

The Murrumbidgee is forecast to exceed major flood levels at Hay today.

The Namoi at Gunnedah is sitting near the major flood level peak, and that is expected to linger until Wednesday. The Namoi at Narrabri is expected to reach a peak of 7.4 metres on Tuesday, which is one metre higher than was forecast yesterday.

At Moree, the Gwydir and Mehi peaked yesterday and are expected to fall below major flood levels by Tuesday, but the rate of fall is slow because it’s so flat.

There’s a flood warning for minor flooding around North Richmond and Richmond on the Hawkesbury.

There is also a minor flood watch for the Hunter River around Singleton and Maitland.

These flood risks are likely to change daily as more rain falls.


More rain expected in NSW

Bureau of Meteorology manager of hazard preparedness and response, Steven Bernasconi, is speaking now.

He said there was heavy rain over the northern rivers district in the 24 hours to 9am this morning. That hasn’t led to major flooding in the northern rivers systems – that’s good news – but it has caused moderate flooding, notably in Wilsons River, which runs through Lismore. Many communities in that town received more than 100mm.

More heavy rain is forecast over the next few days. The focus will be on the south coast from Tuesday, as the system that’s currently dumping over the northern rivers moves down the coast. Weather conditions will start to abate from Wednesday through to Saturday, before the next rain system arrives on Sunday.

The impact of all of this particular weather is renewed and prolonged river rises in the rivers that are already flooding and flash flooding from severe rainfall events.


Cooke says Moree is the community that has been most heavily impacted so far, with 4,000 people told to evacuate at some point over the past few days.

NSW residents reminded again not drive into flood waters

Both NSW emergency services minister, Steph Cooke, and the SES chief, Carlene York, reiterate the warnings about not driving into flood waters and following evacuation warnings.

Cooke says:

I’m also respectfully asking people to please make good personal decisions. Don’t enter flood waters under any circumstances. You place yourself at risk, anyone who might be accompanying you at risk and of course our volunteers … their safety will be at risk when they turn up to help you out of a difficult situation.

York says:

We’ve had examples in the last 24-hours of our teams having to go in and try and persuade people to evacuate from their hopes. We don’t make the order lightly. We do it to protect you and your families, that it is best to evacuate whilst you can and whilst it is safe. By not evacuating when the waters do rise and then you realise that you have made the wrong decision by remaining at your premises, it then puts the living of our volunteers at risk to go out and help you and they may be busy on many rescued or other duties.


Perrottet said 43 local government areas in NSW are currently subject to a natural disaster declaration.

He has also warned that the heavy rain currently falling, and forecast to continue falling, across the state could cause flash flooding.

They can come up very quickly and when they do, as we’ve said, and we continue to say, please do not drive through flood waters. Please do not drive through flood waters. You are putting your life, you are putting your family’s lives, at risk. If it is flooded, forget it. You wouldn’t drive into a bushfire, don’t drive into flood waters. Not only are you putting your life at risk, also the lives of our SES volunteers and personnel at risk as well.

We say that – we say that every time but we continue to see people driving through flood waters. Do not do it. You do not know underneath that water what the gradient of the road is but every time we give this warning we still see people across our state driving through those waters. Do not do it. We cannot be any clearer than that.

The scale of the flood emergency in NSW is hard to comprehend – there is more than 100km of flood waters in Moree, Perrottet said, and that’s taking quite some time to come down.

The recovery will be long and expensive.

Perrottet said he has written to prime minister Anthony Albanese to request further support for councils, small businesses, and primary producer grants for the most affected areas.

We want to make sure that no community is left behind. We’ve done that in the past. We are putting every bit of financial support we can to help our communities get through this difficult time.


NSW premier Dominic Perrottet is giving a flood update

The NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, is speaking in Sydney. He has expressed his condolences to the family of the young woman who died in flood waters at Gulgong in the central west.

He also thanked the SES volunteers involved in the search, and throughout the state.

We have hundreds of SES volunteers on the ground right across our state doing amazing work, putting their life on the line, day in, day out to provide that safety for our people across New South Wales.

Currently, there are 122 SES warnings in place, of those 122 we have 20 emergency warnings so they are evacuation orders that are in place. Can I stress again to everybody across New South Wales, if there is an emergency order in place, please evacuate. Do not wait for a knock on the door from the SES, please evacuate, follow the instructions that are in place. They are there to keep you and your family safe. If those warnings are in place in an area where you live or where you are, please get ready to evacuate.

We currently, over the last 24 hours, had 482 requests for assistance. We’ve had 37 flood rescues and we have over 520 personnel on the ground as well as the ADF resources and in addition to that assistance from interstate.


The infrastructure damage from flooding has been extensive, and it doesn’t have to look dramatic to be expensive and frustrating to replace.

This tangle of pipes was once a dripper irrigation system at a farm in Boggabri in north-western NSW.


‘Thrown us to the wolves’: anger as waters rise on ‘wrong’ side of Echuca levee

People on the wrong side of the flood levee in Echuca are nervously watching and waiting as the Murray River peaks.

AAP spoke to some residents earlier this morning.

Properties on the so-called wrong side of a levee constructed over the past week to save major infrastructure have started to flood.

“Our house is surrounded by water,” resident Julie Golledge told AAP on Monday, when about 20cm of water had already seeped into her garage.

“There are a number of houses that do have water flowing in them because they’re lower lying compared to us.”

One of those houses belongs to former policeman Nick Dean.

His gas heating and garage have been inundated and now the only way in and out of his home is via boat.

“You can imagine the anger with council who put this levee up and thrown us to the wolves,” Dean told radio station 3AW.

“This levees’s made it worse because the waters hit back and bounced back (to his home).”


Body found in search for woman missing in flood waters near Gulgong

Police say a body has been found in the search for a woman who was swept into flood waters in Cooyal Creek at Gulgong, 30km north of Mudgee in New South Wales’ central west.

The search began after a car travelling along Spring Creek Road was swept off the causeway into the creek about 11am yesterday.

In a statement, NSW police said:

The driver, a 45-year-old man, and two male passengers – aged 43 and 26 – escaped the vehicle and made their way to safety.

A third passenger – a woman aged in her 20s – reportedly also got out; however, could not be located.

Officers from Orana Mid-Western Police District, assisted by the State Emergency Service (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) conducted land and water searches. The Toll Rescue Helicopter also attended to assist.

The multi-agency search continued about 7am today and the body of a woman was located on the riverbank about 9.50am.

While she is yet to be formally identified, it is believed to be that of the missing 28-year-old woman.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Emergency services have repeatedly urged people not to drive on flooded roads.


Lismore residents prepare as Wilsons River rises

Residents in Lismore have started to collect sandbags to prepare for the flooding from the Wilsons River.

The river is forecast to reach moderate flooding levels of 7.2 metres about 6pm tonight, and may reach 7.4 metres by 9pm.

That’s below the levee – but it is likely to keep rising with heavy rainfall into tomorrow.

Woman reaches for a sandbag on the back of a ute
A local resident collects sandbags in Lismore, NSW, on Monday. Photograph: Jason O'Brien/AAP


Some shops are starting to reopen in Echuca, including the Echuca branch of the Beechworth Bakery.

Closer to the levee, things are more tense.

This is the latest from reporter Cait Kelly in Echuca. She’s standing on the controversial makeshift levee, which has divided the town into two halves. On one side houses are dry, on the other the water is rising.


Farmers facing tough decisions in Victoria

Wiebusch says he flew over flood-affected areas and saw the flooding on farming and cropping country, particularly in the Avoca, Loddon and Campaspe catchments – areas in the irrigation country in the north of the state.

That means our farmers are doing it tough at this time. They’re having to make decisions about where to put stock and the like. Again, to our farmers, if you find yourself in need of assistance, Agriculture Victoria is contacting primary producers, but you can contact 1800 226 226 and select option three for agricultural relief and recovery services.

He also mentioned the ongoing recovery efforts in Maribyrnong in Melbourne.

Disaster relief Australia has been coordinating around 100 volunteers, helping local communities clean up in their area, along with Fire Rescue Victoria that has been supporting the hosing out of those properties as well.

He says the focus of recovery and clean-up efforts will move to Mooroopna, on the Goulburn near Shepparton, and Rochester, on the Campaspe near Bendigo, in the coming days.

There is now a dedicated deputy incident controller at Rochester “to make sure there’s a focused effort on what has been a very impacted community,” he says.

About 80% of Rochester went underwater, and the town has complained of feeling abandoned by emergency services during the emergency and in the immediate aftermath.

Asked about reports people in Rochester are having difficulty accessing emergency accomodation, Wiebusch says:

Look, at this stage the emergency accommodation is provided through the relief centre out of Bendigo and also through local accommodation options. We have teams on the ground that are connecting with those community members that have been directly impacted and offering those services. But if there’s people that are now finding they do need that, … the 1800 number is the best location. 1800 560 760 and those accommodation options can be provided in the short term.


Water levels have peaked at Kerang and Echuca, Victorian SES say

SES chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch says water levels appear to have peaked at Kerang and Echuca.

At Kerang the river is at 77.88m AHD “and is likely to remain steady around that level for the next four to five days before it starts to recede”.

At Echuca Weir, the Murray River has reached 94.9m AHD, which Wiebusch says is expected to be the peak.

We may see a very small rise above that. But it’s intended to stay steady at that level for several days before we’ll start to see it receding in and around Echuca.

He adds:

With the rainfall that is anticipated, you have just heard we could be in [flood] response again in a number of catchments in the coming days, particularly the Seven and Castle creeks around Euroa. But I guess the good news for communities on the Goulburn River, from Murchison through to Shepparton, and the communities down stream of Rochester and the like, at this stage we’re only looking at moderate flooding levels, potentially at the upper end, if we see that upper flood level.


More rain on the way for Victoria; 10th wettest October on record

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Kevin Parkin is giving a rain update.

He says there were falls of 10-30mm recorded around the state, with those higher totals seen around Echuca and Kerang.

The highest total was recorded at Hillview in western Victoria. But he puts that into context – Renmark, just over the South Australian border, got almost 100mm in 24 hours, or one third of its total annual rainfall.

But Parkin says that while a severe weather warning for the state has been cancelled, the air over the state is still very humid which could cause thunderstorms to develop.

That will produce very localised falls of 30-60mm. If it does, those local heavy falls will result in flash flooding, overland flash flooding, not just in the river systems.

So, the combination of these local heavy falls and widespread falls that is coming down from Queensland as part of this tropic air mass will put pressure on the river systems, and that’s why the Bureau of Meteorology has a flood watch out for much of Victoria.

Another low pressure system is moving towards Victoria down the NSW coast, which is likely to bring rain to Gippsland.

The rain will ease off later this week and come back in earnest on Sunday and Monday. Says Parkin:

A winter weather system out of the Southern Ocean will combine with further tropical moisture to bring widespread rainfall. That will be the next system that we’ll be analysing and providing updates on during the week. It looks like it will put further pressure on our river systems and maintain them in riverine flood status for some weeks to come.

And Victoria is approaching its October rain record – fairly astonishing that we haven’t nailed it already to be honest.

Parkin says:

All this rainfall has meant October’s rainfall for Victoria is likely to be one of the 10th wettest on record. If we do see this rainfall come off, as we head into Sunday and Monday, it’s likely to be the wettest October on record, particularly for the northern plains of Victoria. 94.9m for several days


Victorian authorities are giving a flood update

Victorian SES chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch has just begun giving a flood update. He says the state is still in a flood emergency, with all three phases – preparation, response and recovery – in full swing in different areas.

Victorian SES chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch.
Victorian SES chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch. Photograph: Diego Fedele/AAP


We’re expecting to hear an update from the Victorian state control centre in just a few minutes.

Sydney's wettest October

If you needed confirmation: Sydney is having its wettest October since records began.

It’s the third monthly rainfall record for Sydney in 2022.


Flood water slowly recedes from the centre of Moree

Greg Henry from local radio station Now FM spent the morning walking through Moree’s CBD, taking a look at the damage done to streets as flood waters recede.

He says:

It was slow-moving water that left all sorts of debris from higher ground. It is sticky, smelly, yucky ... [with] very thick river silt along everything.

Wet streets of Moree in NSW, Australia, on Monday, following floodwaters peaking on Sunday.
Wet streets of Moree in NSW, Australia, on Monday, following flood waters peaking on Sunday. Photograph: Now FM

The radio station office is based in the heart of the northern NSW town’s CBD, on the second floor above a tobacconist, beauty shop and optometrist.

The radio station became a concrete island.

Two of four staff members live in flood zones. Once water moved into the CBD, Henry says the team knew they would not have access in or out of the CBD to access the radio station.

So we spent the last three nights in the station.

Over the last three nights, Henry saw both the “slow and deliberate inundation” and the waters “slowly receding”.

Floodwater slowly receding in Moree on Monday.
Floodwater slowly receding in Moree on Monday. Photograph: Now FM

This flood came from a huge dump of rain ... [and] it can’t run away.

The river water table is so high. And the waters have nowhere to go other than to clash into the river.

He says the slow recession is “prolonging” flood cleanup and making the natural disaster “more painful” for the community.


Evacuation warning for low-lying areas of Mudgee

This is some footage of the Cudgegong River at Mudgee in central western NSW yesterday.

The Windamere Dam, upstream of the town, is full. The WaterNSW website currently lists its level as 103.4% capacity.

That’s bad news for areas of Mudgee along the river, which used to flood regularly before the dam was built.

There has been an evacuation warning for low-lying areas of Mudgee including the Riverside caravan park, Loy Avenue and Costigan Court, all on the banks of the Cudgegong, since yesterday afternoon.

The latest SES advice for the area, released midday yesterday, says:

Moderate to heavy rainfall overnight has caused river level rises across the Cudgegong River and Windamere Dam catchment as well as localised flash flooding.

Windamere Dam is currently spilling into the Cudgegong River. As a result, flash flooding is a risk in downstream communities, as the water spilling form Windamere Dam is not controlled by flood gates.

The NSW SES are asking residents and travellers in the Mudgee region and surrounds to be prepared for changing road conditions, including flooded creek crossings and causeways.


Flood prep (again) in Lismore

The community at Lismore has sadly become very used to floods this year, so they know what to do.

The river could rise to 9.7m by tomorrow, making it the third major flood in the northern rivers town in eight months.

The crew at the Koori Mail, which was nearly lost to flood waters earlier this year, have started the flood prep again to protect the building.


Kangaroos seek higher ground in northern Victoria

The flood waters have brought kangaroos into town in Echuca.


BoM cancels severe weather warning for several Victorian districts

The Bureau of Meteorology has cancelled a severe weather warning for the central, Mallee, south-west, northern and Wimmera forecast districts.

This is where the area that was covered by the warning:

Earlier this hour, the BoM said:

Rainfall will continue over western Victoria today, but is no longer expected to be severe.


SES prepared ‘thousands of sandbags’ in Moree

Christoph, a drone photographer based in north Moree, says the SES and other emergency Service volunteers deserve “the biggest praise we can give”.

SES started to handle sandbags on Wednesday ... These guys prepared thousands of sandbags for residents.

Without them, the weekend would have ended completely differently.

He said residents had also been working together.

In just our subdivision, we all helped each other waterproof houses and rotated monitoring water levels.

I’m sure this happened across town.

Our rural reporter Fleur Connick is in Deniliquin, a town in southern NSW, about 77km north of Echuca and the Murray River.

The Edward River, an branch of the Murray River, runs through the Riverina town. Moderate flooding is currently occurring at the Edward River at Deniliquin and Stevens Weir, with heights of 8m at 6.4m respectively expected later this week.

The SES in NSW has issued a watch and act for the town, warning low-lying areas may be impacted by flood waters.


Flood warning for South Australia

Heavy rain across South Australia’s mid-north and in the Riverland has caused localised flooding, closing roads and prompting dozens of calls for help.

More from AAP:

A watch and act warning remains in place for Stockport, about 75km north of Adelaide, where rising waters in the Light and Gilbert rivers pose a threat to local homes.

The State Emergency Service says people in the area should prepare for flooding and if they plan to leave should do so now.

Sandbags have been made available in Stockport and Tarlee.

A flood advice message was also issued on Sunday night for the Murray River towns of Renmark and Berri but by Monday morning the Bureau of Meteorology had cancelled a severe weather warning for the region.

The SES said it received more than 70 emergency calls on Sunday including one related to a motorist who drove into flood waters and became trapped.

Police said the heavy rain had closed a number of roads across the mid-north, in the Clare and Barossa valleys and in the Riverland.

They said others were also affected by water and urged motorists to take care.

The localised flooding at the weekend added to the concern for River Murray communities expected to be affected by rising water levels during the next few weeks.

Flows down the Murray are expected to rise to 120 gigalitres a day by early December as water from the NSW and Victorian floods makes its way down the river system.

Those high flows are expected to inundate some riverside homes, shacks, businesses and community infrastructure.


Aerial photos show extensive flooding in Moree

Here are some more of those aerial photos showing the extent of flooding in Moree in northern NSW.

Aerial photos show extensive flooding across Moree in NSW, Australia on Sunday the 23 October.
Aerial photos show extensive flooding across Moree. Photograph: Townlife/Facebook
Flooding over the Moree racecourse on Sunday.
Flooding over the Moree racecourse on Sunday. Photograph: Townlife/Facebook
The Mehi and Gwydir rivers, which meet at Moree, peaked on Sunday.
The Mehi and Gwydir rivers, which meet at Moree, peaked on Sunday. Photograph: Townlife/Facebook


Drone photos show extent of Moree floods

Rain started pummelling Moree last Tuesday. By Thursday, local man Christoph says the rain was constant and torrential. Surrounding agricultural areas were completely underwater by Friday.

The river water was extremely high, but the roads weren’t covered.”

The rising waters seemed contained to the river banks of the Mehi River. But Christoph awoke on Saturday morning to find south Moree flooded.

He says:

Everything in the area was gone. A local school, the roads, everything was closed off. It was one big lake.

Christoph went to document Saturday’s flooding of south Moree with his drone camera. That night he “noticed it was eerily quiet”.

There was no sound except water.

Christoph lives in north Moree, minutes away from the NSW town’s CBD, with his wife, Lenna. The Saturday flooding separated Moree into two parts, Christoph says.

A part flooded, and a part that wasn’t.

We thought, maybe we are getting away with it. But that was a mistake.

The water that came in from Saturday to Sunday was very sneaky.

Lenna woke Christoph on Sunday morning as water was lapping outside their house.

It is very overwhelming. It looks like trenches in front of every house.

The roads in front of our subdivision are covered in water 40cm high.

If I stand in he middle of the road, my gumboots fill up with water.

Aerial photos show extensive flooding across Moree in northern NSW on Sunday.
Aerial photos show extensive flooding across Moree in northern NSW on Sunday. Photograph: Townlife/Facebook


Daniel Andrews says there will be a flood update at 11.30am

Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is at a school in Seaford in Melbourne’s south-east, announcing $1.6bn to upgrade schools and kindergartens. Before he goes into the details, he’s providing a short flood update.

He says more rainfall overnight has flood waters rising again:

It’s not expected that they will go higher than the peaks that were recorded during the beginning of this flood event. But it is an anxious time out there.

He says there will be an operational update at the state control centre at 11.30am.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews. Photograph: Diego Fedele/AAP


The water has started to rise in Lismore.

These photos were taken by an AAP photographer earlier this morning.

Flooding is seen at Simes Bridge in Lismore, NSW, on Monday
Flooding is seen at Simes Bridge in Lismore, NSW, on Monday Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP
Flooding in South Lismore.
Flooding in South Lismore. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP
Lismore is bracing for the third major flood this year.
Lismore is bracing for its third major flood this year. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP


Murray River at Echuca Weir starting to peak

SES Victoria chief officer Tim Wiebusch says the Murray River at Echuca Weir is now starting to peak at 94.89m AHD.

He told the ABC:

There’s still a little bit to go, is what the bureau is saying to us. It could go up to 95m throughout the day today, so it has gone up just a little bit over the last 12 hours.

But our message is still the same for that community: if you’re in those areas of Echuca Village and the surrounds, then we are asking you to take yourselves away from the risk, move to that higher ground, either at the relief centre or further away.


Victoria braces for severe thunderstorms across state

There is a possibility of severe thunderstorms across most of Victoria today, and a greater than 30% chance of severe thunderstorms in the north-west, including over isolated, flooded Kerang.


Some devastating images from the peak of the floodwaters in Moree yesterday.

It has rained heavily at Broken Hill in far western NSW too.

Woman missing in flood waters in Gulgong, NSW

From AAP:

A woman is missing in flood waters in central-west NSW after a vehicle was swept off a causeway.

Three people managed to escape the vehicle and make their way to safety when it was inundated at Cooyal Creek at Gulgong, north of Mudgee, on Sunday night.

Police say a 45-year-old male driver and two male passengers – aged 43 and 26 – survived but a third passenger, a woman in her 20s, is missing after also getting free from the vehicle.


Echuca residents told to stock up on bottled water in case sewage system collapses

After days of stifling heat, the heavy rains have finally hit Echuca. The town is expecting 25-35mm of rainfall today, as it prepares for the flood peak.

In the last 24 hours the peak prediction has jumped around.

Yesterday the council said it looked lit it would hit on Wednesday, but in the evening VicEmergency said it would hit at 94.9 metres AHD overnight Sunday into Monday.

The last reading, taken at 7am showed the river was at 94.89 this morning.

We are expecting an update from the SES soon, about if the peak has hit and what happens now.

In the meantime, residents are being asked to stock up on 30-40 litres of drinking water in case the sewage system collapses.

The Campaspe Shire Council, which includes Echuca, posted this on its Facebook page yesterday.

If the safety of your drinking water is impacted by floods, Coliban Water will notify you through community warnings and updates. Council will also share this warning through our Facebook page.

Houses under threat from flooding in Echuca, Victoria.
A property threatened by flooding in Echuca, Victoria. Photograph: Brendan Mccarthy/AAP


Guardian reporter Cait Kelly has spent the past few days in Echuca, where locals hope – although they are waiting for confirmation – that the Murray River has peaked or will peak very soon.

It has already surpassed the previous flood record set in 1993. The heavy rain and thunderstorms that have been lashing NSW for the past few days reached the border about midnight last night. It won’t make much of an impact on the flood levels – this is riverine flooding, the product of very heavy falls in the catchments of the Goulburn and Campaspe rivers 10 days ago, not flash-flooding caused by direct rain – but it certainly doesn’t help.

You can read Cait’s excellent piece on the boredom and anxiety of waiting a week for the flood to happen, and her dispatch from a flood party on the “wrong side” of the Echuca flood levee.


Evacuation orders for flooding in NSW and Victoria

Good morning,

Heavy rain on the east coast has caused flooding in Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales, with towns in northern and central west NSW and northern Victoria the worst affected.

In NSW, there are evacuation warnings in place in for low-lying areas of Dubbo, Mudgee, Gunnedah, Narrandera, Moree and the entirety of the small villages of Carroll and Terry Hie Hie.

There are major flood watches in place for nine inland rivers in NSW: the Gwydir, Mehi, Namoi, Macquarie, Bogan, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray and Darling Rivers. The flood peak of the Gwydir River reached Morree and Yarraman late Sunday, reaching levels close to the February 2012 floods. That coincided with the peak of the Mehi River at Moree, which reached 10.5m on Sunday morning, just below the 10.53m recorded in 2012. The river is currently at 10.46m and falling but is expected to remain above major flood levels – 8.8m – until tomorrow.

There is also a separate flood watch in place for possible minor to major flooding in the northern rivers and mid-north coast, particularly the Tweed and Richmond Rivers.

People in South Lismore have also been told to prepare to evacuate, as the district faces falls of up to 150mm in 24-hours.

Scenes in Keen Street in Lismore in northern New South Wales on Sunday as the town prepares for fresh flooding.
Scenes in Keen Street in Lismore in northern New South Wales on Sunday as the town prepares for fresh flooding. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP

In Victoria, an evacuation warning remains in place for the Murray River border town of Echuca. In Kerang and Barmah it has been declared too late to leave – residents have been told to move to higher ground.

There are 15 rivers and creeks in Victoria under flood watches by the Bureau of Meteorology, including the Murray and Loddon Rives in northern Victoria, where major flooding is occurring at Appin South, Kerang, and Echuca-Moama. The Murray River at Echuca Weir is expected to peak at 94.9m AHD today. It has already exceeded the 1993 record of 94.77m AHD. (All rivers near the Murray are measured in Australian Height Datum, which is the height above sea level not the depth of the river).

The Loddon River at Appin South is 3.37m and falling and at the Murray Valley Highway bridge in Kerang it’s at 77.8m AHD.

There are 10 flood warning current for Queensland rivers, including a major flood warning for the Macintyre River.

If you’re affected by this flooding or know something about what’s going on on the ground, let us know. You can reach me at or on twitter, @callapilla


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.