The Murrumbidgee River continues to rise towards a major flood level at Wagga, but the Bureau of Meteorology amended the timeline on Wednesday night, with the peak now expected on Friday afternoon.
Spills from the Burrinjuck Dam combined with inflows from the Tumut River and other tributaries caused major flooding at Gundagai, where the river peaked overnight at 9.77, slightly lower than the 9.80 that had been predicted.
SES incident controller Ben Pickup said they had revised evacuation orders for parts of Wagga to give residents more time to evacuate.
“Following those conversations with the Bureau of Meteorology, I’m going to extend the timeframe for the evacuation order that’s in place for North Wagga inside the levee and Gumly Gumly to be out, evacuated by 8 am Friday,” he said.
“The reason behind the decision to evacuate has to do with access to the North Wagga community.
“At 9.6 we lose vehicle access into the community and to ensure the safety and get people out of harm’s way, and given how dynamic the situation is, the decision was made to go from an evacuation warning to an evacuation order for inside the levee.”
The Wiradjuri Bridge was closed to general traffic overnight with only local residents and emergency vehicles permitted to come and go.
While they expect the road into North Wagga to be cut, the SES does not expect the water to exceed the levee at North Wagga.
Edward Street West, Moorong East and Flowerdale remain under Prepare to Isolate warnings while Oura could be cut off from Wagga but will maintain access to Junee.
Around 700 people will need to be evacuated across Wagga by the Friday morning deadline and Riverina police will increase patrols to protect properties from potential looters.
Mr Pickup warned that the situation remained dynamic with widespread flooding and large volumes of water on the ground making it difficult to anticipate how quickly the river would rise and recede.
“It may move a little bit quicker given we’ve now got flood layers layered on top of each other from the previous events,” he explained.
“We had really high inflows from the creeks and tributaries into the Murrumbidgee with that localised rainfall that we had earlier in the week.”
Moderate flooding continues at Narrandera, with major flooding possible early next week.
Moderate flooding is likely at Darlington Point from Saturday with further rises into next week.
Further downstream, major flooding continues at Hay.
For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500.
In life-threatening situations, call triple zero (000) immediately.
Original Article published by Chris Roe on Region Riverina.