1 November 2022

Two men missing, towns awash as flash flooding hits region

| Sally Hopman
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Flooded street

Flash flooding caused water to start gushing down the main street of Yass on Monday afternoon, inundating shops. Many shops were closed this morning, still mopping up from the deluge. Photo: SES.

A multi-agency emergency search is underway today (1 November) for two people who went missing in rising floodwaters at Bevendale on the Southern Tablelands on Monday night.

Emergency services were called to Rugby Road, about 50 km east of Boorowa, after reports that a utility had been swept into floodwaters after it tried to cross a flooded causeway at Prestons Creek.

Two men managed to get out of the vehicle’s cabin but another two men, believed to have been travelling in the ute’s tray, have yet to be found.

The search, by police and State Emergency Service volunteers, was suspended due to poor light and bad weather last night but resumed first thing this morning.

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The wild weather hit many rural towns and villages on Canberra’s outskirts and southern NSW last night with the main streets of Yass and Gunning flooded along with widespread road closures across Braidwood, Bungendore, Goulburn, Young and Cowra.

Evacuation warnings were issued for Adelong, Cootamundra and Gundagai.

The heavens opened not long after the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Southern Tablelands and South-West Slopes at 6:48 pm on Monday night.

By early evening, the main street of Yass resembled a fast-moving river, the town already saturated from months of rain. Water gushed down the main street, inundating shops and causing widespread damage.

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Gunning’s Telegraph Hotel, which was scheduled to host its popular Melbourne Cup event today, suffered significant water damage.

The owners described it as “a disaster of a night”, adding that the hotel would not open on Tuesday “or for the foreseeable future”.

Also in the main street of Gunning, the local cafe, garage and other businesses remained closed today. Power was also out in the village, which resulted in the local Internet service being turned off so equipment could be moved to higher, safer ground. The Gunning Showground hall was also opened as an evacuation centre with locals rallying to the call late last night for dry bedding.

Flooded street

The main street of Yass resembled a river late yesterday with water rising rapidly and entering some shopfronts. Photo: SES.

SES teams from as far away as Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Collector and Bellmount Forest were called out to help in Gunning

Overnight rainfall figures across the villages ranged from 65 mm in Yass and Murrumbateman to 47 mm at Tarago and 44 mm at Mt Fairy with wind strengths as high as 115 km/h recorded at Tarago.

There were also reports of increased bitumen damage on the Barton Highway, with drivers urged to slow down as they leave Murrumbateman because of a huge pothole just out of the village, resulting in a stream of cars pulling over with flat tyres.

A sheep graziers alert was issued early today for the NSW South-West Slopes and Southern Tablelands. Rain is expected to ease later today, with only a 20 per cent chance of rain on Wednesday. Fine but cloudy, significantly cooler conditions are expected for the remainder of the week.

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