Once floodwater passes 6.3 metres on the Kempsey gauge at Kempsey roads will begin to close, the SES said.
Heavy rain has inundated the Mid North Coast and leading to the SES ordering the evacuation of a number of towns.Credit:Nine
These areas include:
- South West Rocks Road
- Smithtown Road
- Plummers Lane
- South West Rocks
- Crescent Head
- Hat Head
- Maria River Road
- Camping grounds at Delicate Nobby, Point Plummer and Racecourse
Evacuation centres have been set up at Port Panthers in Port Macquarie, the Laurieton United Services Club and Kempsey Showgrounds.
Lola and Gilbert Hickey, from Bulli, were caught in the evacuations in the middle of their two-week holiday along the Hastings River in Port Macquarie.
Tourist Lola Hickey alongside the Hastings River, Port Macquarie. Credit:Lindsay Moller
Weve got a cabin in the Riverside Caravan Park, Ms Hickey said on Friday night. We watched the river come up all afternoon.
The couple, who had planned to go to the Port Macquarie races before they were washed out, were evacuated to higher ground and will spend the night at the parks motel with other guests.
A lot of them cant get home because of landslides in different areas, she said.
They came and warned us all and advised us to come out because its no good trying to do it in the middle of the night. [Its a] bit of excitement. No good worrying about it.
Sharon Jones, who lives on Settlement Point Road in Port Macquarie, said the rain came down torrentially on Friday.
Sharon Jones said the last big flood was in 2011. Credit:Lindsay Moller
She planned to spend the night in her two-storey house with her animals and her neighbour, who lives in a very low-lying house.
Theres a lot of logs, trees, markers, quite a few different things floating down the river, she said around 7pm, noting it was still low-tide. Theres not much of the road left in front of my house.
Ms Jones said the last flood was in 2011 and didnt even come halfway up the driveway.
Its always a bit of an adrenaline rush, she said. Weve been through cyclones up in Cairns, its nothing near the panic of a cyclone but if we get flooded in, were just stuck in the house until we can get back out. It is what it is.
Intense rainfall bound for Sydney
A severe weather warning for the Mid North Coast and parts of the Hunter was extended at 4.40pm on Friday to include the Sydney metropolitan, Illawarra and Central Tablelands districts.
Heavy rainfall, likely leading to flash flooding, is forecast during the next 24 hours, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
The focus of heavy rain [on Friday night] is expected to be between Kempsey and Bulahdelah (including adjacent inland areas), shifting to eastern parts of the Hunter district overnight or early Saturday morning, the bureau said.
During Saturday, the focus area is expected to be between about Newcastle and Kiama, including Sydney and the Blue Mountains. There may be periods of intense rainfall, potentially leading to life-threatening flash flooding.
Between 9am and 4pm on Friday, Utungun recorded 235.5 millimetres, Bowraville 171 millimetres including 124 millimetres within one hour, and 99.8 millimetres at Port Macquarie.
Major flooding occurred on Friday at Macksville and Bowraville on the Nambucca River, Kindee Bridge and Wauchope on the Hastings River and Logan Crossing on the Camden Haven River, while major flood warnings were also issued for the Gloucester and Hastings rivers.
Earlier on Friday, Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Neale Fraser said a range from 60 millimetres to even as high as 180 millimetres or so could fall in the Sydney area, Illawarra, Blue Mountains, Hunter and Mid North Coast on Saturday.
Foreshore Drive in Port Stephens is inundated by floods on Thursday.Credit:Facebook
He said Fridays passing showers were somewhat of a break for the city ahead of a pretty wild night and very wet start to the weekend of widespread, continuous rainfall.
Mixed into that, we could see some thunderstorms as well, Mr Fraser said, adding no break is likely, probably until at least Wednesday.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said further disruptions to Sydneys public transport network were inevitable with the arrival of the predicted rain bomb.
Know that there is going to be disruptions across the network because of the very nature of the rain event thats coming, he said. Weve already seen it over the past 24 hours [and] theres more to come.
Bureau flood manager Justin Robinson said Warragamba Dam, Sydneys largest water storage, could overflow as it is already 97.5 per cent full.
Anyone requiring assistance should call the State Emergency Service on 132 500.
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Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.
Tom Rabe is Transport Reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.