Wagga evacuees allowed home, heavy rain in Tumut causes flooding

Wagga residents forced to evacuate have been allowed to return home, but the region remains debilitated by floods. 

The State Emergency Service (SES) has allowed Edward Street West residents to return home after they were evacuated a fortnight ago. 

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE: Floodwater covers a section of the Newell Highway near West Wyalong. The highway is closed in both directions.

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE: Floodwater covers a section of the Newell Highway near West Wyalong. The highway is closed in both directions.

The Murrumbidgee River at Wagga has fallen below the minor flood level for the first time in two weeks, giving four families respite from water lapping at their doors.  

Tumut endured 25 millimetres of rain on Monday night, exacerbating water over local roads.

An evacuation order for the Riverglade Caravan Park in Tumut issued last week is likely to last until next week. 

Water is being released from the Blowering Dam in a bid to dampen the impact of possible flash flooding forecast for Tumut.

Residents in Gillenbah have begun moving home after spending a fortnight living 10 minutes up the road in Narrandera.

Gillenbah is still inundated by floodwater – which forced the closure of the service station, two motels and a handful of businesses – but residents can now come and go in four-wheel-drives.

Gillenbah man Shaun Light, who hasn’t had access to his driveway in months, returned home on Sunday after spending the last fortnight in Narrandera. 

“I've got a four-wheel-drive but the water was so deep, it was taking me five minutes to drive 500 metres,” Mr Light said.

Two feet of floodwater still completely surrounds Sebastian Papa’s Gillenbah home on the Newell Highway, inspiring him to cast fishing lines off the verandah.

“If you walk down the front stairs, you wade into water,” Mr Papa said.

“I decided to stay put with my young family, but the water comes over the top of the bullbar on the (Toyota) Prado. 

“The buses are cancelled, so a lot of kids haven’t been going to school.”

As a result of the Gillenbah flooding, the Sturt Highway remains closed in both directions between Reas Lane and Innisvale Road.

One lane of the Sturt Highway between Gap Road and Newell Highway has been reopened, but there is still 150mm of water across the road. 

The Newell Highway between Sturt Highway and Reas Lane is also closed in both directions and motorists are urged to avoid the area.

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