SYDNEY (AP) — Around 1,000 people in the Australian town of Forbes were told to evacuate their homes on Tuesday ahead of flooding while much of central New South Wales state was on high alert.
The State Emergency Service said the Lachlan River was rising faster than anticipated and people in low-lying areas of Forbes needed to evacuate by Tuesday, two weeks after the town of 10,000 was last flooded.
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said some Forbes residents had yet to return to flood-damaged homes that are likely to be inundated again.
“It’s devastating for the Forbes community that they are experiencing this once again, and particularly in such a short period of time,” Cooke told reporters.
A rare third consecutive La Niña weather pattern, which is associated with above-average rainfall in eastern Australia, has created a flooding emergency across large swathes of New South Wales that has lasted for two months.
The ground is so saturated, rainfall can no longer be absorbed. This makes predicting where flash flooding might occur more difficult.
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said rescue efforts were focused on Forbes and the smaller neighboring town of Eugowra where 14 aircraft had been used to help stranded residents.
“We do expect more heavy rainfall over the weekend. It’s not taking much rain to cause flash flooding anywhere across our state,” Perrottet told reporters.
The central New South Wales town of Condobolin was isolated by floodwater, Cooke said.
Downtown Molong in the same region was inundated on Monday and residents were beginning to clean up on Tuesday.
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