Drought, fires and now possible floods for Snowy Valleys

Flooding in Pioneer Park in 2016. A Flood Warning has been issued for low-lying areas along the Tumut and Murrumbidgee Rivers and Mirrool Creek.

The NSW State Emergency Service has issued a flood watch for the Tumut and Murrumbidgee Rivers and the Mirrool Creek.

A slow moving trough is expected to deepen across western NSW this week, bringing moderate to heavy rain across inland and southeast areas from today (Tuesday) through Friday.

The SES is warning of localised flooding and local creek rises in low-lying areas around Tumut, Bombowlee, the Goobragandra and Brindabella valleys and low-lying areas along the Murrumbidgee to Wagga. Some flooding is also expected for Cootamundra, Stockinbingal and towns along the Mirrool Creek.

Farmers are being encouraged to move livestock and equipment away from flood-prone paddocks. Residents in the warning areas are asked to monitor weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground if flooding develops.

SES Public Information Officer Ian Leckie said his main concern is for new landslips in the Goobaragandra and Brindabella Valleys.

“We’re almost guaranteed to see more landslips there,” said Leckie.

“For people driving on narrow roads with steep land above them, it’s very dangerous.”

Mr Leckie said recent bushfires have “dramatically changed the landscape” and increased the damage which flooding will bring to the Snowy Valleys.

“the water quality is going to be putrid,” said Mr Leckie.

“Because there’s no vegetation, the rain is going to wash carbon and debris into the waterways.”

Mr Leckie warned of “a seeping morass” which will be left on local roads, even after the rains pass.

“The water might pass over the road quickly, but the muck and bits of burned branches it leaves behind will be very dangerous.”

The SES is expecting 100-150mm of rain to fall by midday Wednesday as the remnants of tropical cyclone Esther combine with another trough moving over the region.

Further warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Levels well be exceeded along the main rivers.

The SES will continue to post updates as the rain moves through the region via the ‘Floods Near Me’ app, the SES website and Facebook page, Sounds of the Mountain FM 96.3, ABC Riverina and on the Live Traffic website (www.livetraffic.com.au).

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500. In life threatening situations call triple zero (000) immediately.