Evacuation begins

The Murrumbidgee River peaked at Gundagai at 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon at a height of 10.2 metres. The peak is now travelling downstream to Wagga Wagga where the Bureau of Meteorology predicts it will peak on Monday morning at a height near 10 metres.According to the latest flood update issued by the SES at 8.30am this morning, this will cause flooding of many residential properties located at Gumly Gumly and east of Marshalls Creek in East Wagga. An Evacuation Order has been issued for residents of both areas. Depending upon their ground level, businesses within the East Wagga industrial estate will also likely experience varying levels of inundation. It is expected that from around midday on Sunday the Sturt Highway will be flooded between the Marshalls Creek Bridge on Hammond Avenue and a point near the Murray Cod Hatchery. Access between Forest Hill and Wagga Wagga will however still be available via a detour along Inglewood Road.The suburb of North Wagga is expected to be completely isolated by road from around noon on Sunday. The levee protecting North Wagga has a design height of 9.9 metres and it will be seriously threatened on Sunday night by a flood approaching the predicted height. As a result an Evacuation Order has been issued for the area and all residents have been advised to leave the area by noon after taking appropriate precautions to minimise the potential for damage to their property. FloodSafe Guides and Evacuation Orders containing advice on actions to take when evacuating have been distributed to affected residents, and the Evacuation/Registration Centre established at the North Wagga School to record departures and provide advice to residents will reopen at 8am on Sunday morning. The SES recommends that residents complete their evacuation well before noon in order to avoid congestion on Hampden Avenue, the last remaining access road opened.No major highways within the local area are yet closed. Current road closures within the region include the Tenandra Bridge and Mundowey Bridge Roads, and closure of the Eunoney Bridge Road is imminent. Details of other minor road closures within the Gundagai and Wagga areas are available to the public from local Council web-sites.Downstream of Wagga, current predictions issued by the Bureau of Meteorology are for Narrandera to reach 8 metres with moderate flooding around Friday 10th, Darlington Point to reach 6.8 metres around Monday 13th, Carrathool to reach 7.4 metres around Friday 17th, and Hay to reach 7.8 metres on the Town Gauge around Sunday 19th December. Peak predictions will be made for these locations when upstream peaks are known.Another rain band is predicted to move through the State mid next week and this could result in further major flooding. The SES advises people living or working along rivers and creeks to closely monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and to make the arrangements necessary to move themselves, their stock and their equipment to higher ground. Motorists are reminded to avoid driving through floodwater.At 7am this morning the river at Gundagai was 9.73 metres and falling, the river at Wagga Wagga was 8.21 metres and rising.Further information about the weather and river heights is available from the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au, FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au. Anyone needing emergency help due to flooding should contact their nearest SES Unit by calling 132 500. For life threatening emergencies ring 000.

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