The water in the NSW Hunter region is still rising, putting pressure on residents and emergency services.
A 72-year-old woman is lucky to be alive after her car got stuck in water up to her neck.
She was in her SUV when it was swept away in flooding at 2pm yesterday evening 15km north of Kempsey on NSW’s Mid North Coast.
The car got stuck against trees and she couldn’t get out.
She managed to call triple zero and a police officer, linked by a security line to a police 4WD, waded into the water.
After he opened the door, he and other officers took her back to dry land.
The woman was treated for hypothermia and exhaustion at Kempsey Hospital.
“It was a situation that really shook her up and caused her a lot of grief,” said Sergeant Brad Smith.
This is just one of hundreds of flood rescues that emergency services have conducted as the extreme weather takes its toll on communities.
A 10-month-old boy, along with his mother, was rescued from their flooded property in Bulga yesterday by Surf Life Savers.
“To be able to do our part successfully and get the patients to the ambulance was quite a humbling experience,” said Surf Life Saver Lee Archer.
NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet paid tribute to volunteers helping victims of the flood crisis.
He also expressed his frustration at people driving through floods.
“Of the 50 rescues that have taken place in the past 24 hours, a number of those rescues are still people in vehicles driving through floodwaters,” Perrottet said.
“Please don’t estimate that you can get through the flood water.”
He even lent a hand with the clean-up in the Hawkesbury.
Precipitation is decreasing, but residents warned against returning home
At least 36 evacuation warnings remain in effect across NSW, with authorities warning that wild weather may abate but flood waters are still high.
“If those evacuation warnings are in effect, get ready to evacuate,” Perrottet said.
“If those orders are there, get out as soon as possible.”
Current evacuation warnings affect 60,000 people across NSW.
The Bureau of Meteorology said up to 300 millimeters of rain had fallen in the past 24 hours, especially on the Mid North Coast.
For some residents they may be able to return to their flood-damaged homes today, but NSW Emergency Relief Minister Steph Cooke has asked people to exercise caution.
“The flood emergency is ending, recovery efforts are ending,” she said.
“The SES has performed nearly 800 rapid damage assessments in the past 24 hours.”
She warned people not to engage in risky behavior in an effort to dry out their homes.
“Please keep your clothes at least three feet away from your heater,” Cooke said.
“Please do not use outdoor heating equipment and outdoor cooking equipment indoors.
“There are carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide risks.
“We want to avoid any tragedy on top of the grief we’ve already experienced.”
The weather will get better in the next few days
Meteorologists said the weather chaos has eased with flooding in Sydney’s northwest and the Hunter region is expected to continue to ease in the coming days.
“Good news for the Singleton is that we will likely see river levels drop,” said meteorologist Diana Eadie.
That said, Maitland is still at risk and we could see major flooding at 10.5m.
Road torn in two by floods
“And the good news is that as we look ahead, while those river-level conditions will only slowly decline, it seems likely that we won’t see a return of those significant rainfall totals in the coming days.”
Some showers are forecast for Sunday, but the agency does not expect any major dips in NSW over the next week.