Emergency services have started assessing damage in flood-affected areas of NSW after most rivers peaked across the state and as evacuation orders begin to lift.
The State Emergency Service began collecting information about damage to properties and infrastructure in Penrith on Thursday as part of recovery planning.
The SES expects to assess about 600 properties in Penrith using aerial reconnaissance with a remote piloted aircraft as well as detailed assessments by teams on the ground.
Flood evacuation orders were lifted in several areas of northwestern Sydney late on Thursday night including South Creek at Mulgrave and the Hawkesbury River from Wisemans Ferry to Brooklyn and in Vineyard.
Major flooding continued on Friday morning at Maclean in the northern rivers region while the situation in Grafton and Ulmarra had eased to moderate flooding.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Thursday that “complacency is our biggest challenge”.
“While rivers may be reaching their peak, the flows and the current are very dangerous,” Ms Berejiklian told parliament.
She urged people in affected areas to be “extra cautious”.
“Benign” conditions will hang around the east coast for at least the next couple of days, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Di Smith is hugged by daughter Heather after Di was evacuated by the SES from her home at East Kurrajong in the north-west of Sydney. Credit: DEAN LEWINS/AAPIMAGEFlood affected areas are seen from a helicopter in the Windsor area near Sydney. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGENSW SES volunteers conduct a flood rescue operation in Port Macquarie. Credit: NSW SES
Between 3000 and 4000 people returned to their homes over the past 24 hours, the premier said.
“We know that many people are confronted by very catastrophic conditions and their lives will never be the same,” she said.
The sheer volume of rain that fell across the state will take quite some time to work its way through the river systems, hydrologist Victoria Dodds says.
“We’ve seen exceptionally high flood levels, high-velocity flows, lots of dangerous debris in these floodwaters,” she told reporters on Thursday.
Lisa Williams looks out over her flooded backyard in Windsor in the north west of Sydney. Credit: DEAN LEWINS/AAPIMAGEA family of four, including 2 young children, whose rescue boat capsized during their evacuation from a flooded property at Upper Colo. Credit: DEAN LEWINS/AAPIMAGEHeavy flooding is seen along the Hawkesbury River at the Windsor CBD. Credit: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
Ms Dodds said flood warnings would likely remain in force across the state, particularly in inland areas, for the days and weeks ahead.
Ms Berejiklian pleaded with people to stay out of floodwaters after two drivers died trapped in their cars.
A man died in Glenorie in northwest Sydney on Wednesday and the body of another man was found submerged in a ute in Queensland’s southeast.
There have been 11,000 calls for help to the NSW SES and 950 flood rescues.
Source by 7news.com.au