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Dramatic rescues in NSW with severe weather warnings issued from Kempsey to the Queensland border & More Breaking News

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Several people have been rescued from flooded vehicles in western NSW and heavy downpours are forecast to continue pounding rain-soaked regions along the coast overnight. 

Forecasters say rainfall is setting in on the Mid North Coast, where the risk of flooding is expected to rise in the next 12 to 24 hours. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning from Kempsey to the Queensland border, while parts of the Northern Tablelands are warned to be on alert for severe thunderstorms in coming hours.

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Already significant rainfall totals have been recorded, with 187 millimetres falling at Lowanna near Coffs Harbour in the past 24 hours.

rain map
Isolated falls of up to 200 millimetres are possible.(Supplied: BOM)

With more rain and thunderstorms in the state’s hard-hit north expected, forecaster Jane Golding said much of the bad weather would hit this afternoon and overnight.

But Ms Golding said this time around was “a very different system” to the one that affected the Northern Rivers earlier this year with falls of 100 millimetres and “bullseyes” of intense rain.

State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said specialist crews and helicopters had been moved to the region in preparation.

“At this stage we’re watching very closely over the next few hours to make sure that we get those warnings and information out to the community as quickly as possible,” she said.

Ms York urged residents and school holiday-makers to be on alert and keep an eye on warnings.

Flood watches are also in place for rivers across the state, with major flooding possible on the Namoi at Wee Waa in the north, on the Lachlan at Warren and further downstream at Euabalong in the central west.

A high view of people at a mounting yard at a racing track. The grass is very green with patches of brown mud breaking through.
The annual Lismore Cup was cancelled due to wet conditions.(ABC North Coast: Kim Honan)

The annual Lismore Cup was cancelled mid-meeting after stewards decided the track was too wet for racing.

Local trainer Daniel Bowen had seven horses entered and unable to race but said, “It’s not the end of world.

“At the end of the day, the [call was made for the] safety for the rider and horse.”

Despite that, punters were still enjoying the social atmosphere and the fashions on the field competition was held.

Further south, the falls have again prompted concerns that septic tanks at Stuarts Point near Kempsey will require pumping.

Previous severe weather has compromised some of the Kempsey Shire Council’s septic systems and it said resources have been sent to the water plant in a bid to avoid further breaches.

The roof of a white ute is just visible above brown water. Trees in the background.
The SES said a number of people had been rescued from vehicles which became stuck in floodwater near Warren, in the state’s west.(Supplied: NSW SES)

Dramatic rescues overnight

SES Commissioner Carlene York said 49 flood rescues and over 500 calls for help had been made.

Among them, a car was washed off the causeway in Toongi, near Dubbo, after a creek rose quickly and ran over the Obley Road.

The driver managed to escape the car in time.

Residents who rushed to the person’s aid said there were no signs and noted “by the time you see the water it’s too late to stop”.

“It was pretty dangerous, they were so lucky to get out of it,” Sam Tourle said.

“We were there for a while trying to smash the windows to try see if someone was still inside, it was a big relief when we got the call that they made it out.”

Most inland communities escape the worst

The SES deployed crews to Trundle near Parkes in the state’s Central West after it was surrounded by floodwater.

Sixteen calls for help had been made from the town and outlying properties, which resulted in three rescues and one helicopter evacuation.

The small town has been surrounded by floodwater.

An aerial shot of a small town surrounded by brown flood water.
The small town of Trundle near Parkes was almost entirely surrounded by water this morning.(Supplied: Ann-Marie Taylor)

Meanwhile, predictions of significant flooding for areas of the north-west have not materialised so far.

Since 9am Wednesday, Gunnedah and Glenn Innes received almost 50mm and Inverell and Tamworth recorded just shy of 40mm.

The bureau said moderate flooding was possible at Tamworth later tonight.

There’s a minor to major flood warning for the Namoi River with flooding expected at Gunnedah tomorrow and Boggabri during the weekend.

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