Authorities warn of flooding impacts for ‘months’ as second death recorded in NSW | Australia weather


Major flooding is forecast to continue along several river systems in New South Wales as flood-hit communities survey the damage and authorities warn it could be months before the deluge comes to an end.

A second death was recorded in Eugowra on Saturday after a body was found on the outskirts of town.

NSW police said formal identification had not taken place but they believed it was 85-year-old Ljubisa “Les” Vugec, who had been the subject of a wide-ranging search.

He was last seen at his Eugowra home on Monday morning and was reported missing when family members couldn’t contact him.

The body of 60-year-old Diane Smith was recovered from flood waters earlier in the week.

In nearby Forbes, locals are beginning to mop up after the Lachlan River, which divides the town, reached a near-record peak.

Inspecting the damage to her home, Narelle Shaw said it was unlikely she and her husband and 13-year-old daughter would be able to move back in anytime soon.

The trio has been staying with her mother, whose nearby home on higher ground was unscathed.

“We kind of need the power to be back on before we can really assess what’s gone on,” she said.

“I know we’ve got damaged brickwork and we’re missing a panel off our kitchen. Something smashed into the [external] wall and put a hole in it.

“We’ll be probably lucky to be back in our house before Christmas.”

More than 70 NSW local government areas are subject to disaster declarations.

The latest emergency warning was issued early on Sunday for the township of Euabalong on the Lachlan River where residents were warned to shelter in “a sturdy raised structure” as evacuation routes are likely to be cut off.

“You may now be trapped without power, water, and other essential services and it may be too dangerous for NSW SES to rescue you,” the SES warning said.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the Lachlan River at Euabalong may reach around eight metres with major flooding higher than the 1952 flood.

The NSW State Emergency Service performed eight flood rescues in the 24 hours to 7am on Sunday and received 255 calls for help.

“We are expecting to see the impacts of flooding for weeks, even months to come as this water makes its way downstream across several river catchments,” assistant commissioner Sean Kearns said.

Major flooding is expected to continue along several river systems, including the Lachlan, Darling and Murrumbidgee, affecting towns including Forbes and Condobolin in the central west, Bourke in the north-west and the Riverina town of Hay.

Prolonged major flooding in Forbes isn’t expected to ease until early next week.

Shaw hoped those affected would receive financial assistance and help with the clean-up but said the community was resilient.

“Everyone’s more worried about Eugowra than they are about Forbes at the moment,” she said.

“I know a lot of people who have been flooded in have been going over to Eugowra to help them out because they can’t do anything at their own properties.

“The community spirit here is still really strong. We had people we didn’t even know pulling up outside saying ‘Can we do anything?’.”

“Our neighbours are brilliant. They’ve basically got [the contents of] four people’s houses in their garages and sheds and verandas.”

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