Menindee evacuation as flood waters rapidly rise

Menindee residents were ordered to evacuate by Friday morning as flood waters rapidly rose on Thursday, threatening homes and land across the region.

An Emergency Warning went out from NSW SES on Thursday afternoon as flood waters coursing down the river system rose faster than anticipated by WaterNSW.

The SES told residents in Menindee township and low lying areas they had to evacuate by 10am Friday.

“You must evacuate before this time because your evacuation route will close after 10am Friday morning,” said the SES on Thursday afternoon.

For those who did not have family or friends they could stay with, an evacuation centre was set up at Menindee Community Centre on Perry Street.

“If you remain in the area, you may become trapped without power, water, and other essential services,” said the SES.

“It may be too dangerous for NSW SES to rescue you, and buildings may not be able to withstand the impact of flood water.”

The emergency service said the following areas could be “impacted by dangerous floodwaters”.

Low lying properties along
Irrigation Rd
McInnes Rd
Budgie St
Wilcannia-Menindee Rd
Pooncarie Rd
Little Menindee Creek Rd (alternate access via Kinchega Rd subject to weather)
Pumpkin Point Rd
Orchard Rd
Loop Rd
Racecourse Rd.

The flood water situation changed rapidly over Thursday and Friday.

On Wednesday, WaterNSW warned “higher volumes of unaccounted water [is] entering the Menindee Lake system.”

At that stage the government organisation said the situation was a “unique occurrence” and was a direct result of flood water flows entering the Darling River and the flood plain below Wilcannia.

For weeks now the floodplain just outside Wilcannia has been filling and WaterNSW said the overall water flows were “being heavily influenced by inflow from the Talyawalka Creek”.

“As a result, these additional flows are filling the available airspace within the Lake system at a rate far greater than previously forecast,” a WaterNSW spokesperson said.

On Wednesday water inflows to the Menindee Lakes system were at a rate greater than 70GL a day and soon the Lakes system would have no space to hold water back.

“These flows are continuing to see gains, indicating insufficient airspace is available in the lakes to absorb the flood peak,” said the spokesperson on Wednesday.

That saw increased releases from Menindee Lakes and WaterNSW said they were “notifying effected landholders and residents to prepare for further increases to the town gauge in the coming days”.

By Thursday in a rapidly unfolding situation it was becoming clear water flow down the river system was surging and likely to heavily impact residents in Menindee region.

At 12.47pm on Thursday, WaterNSW said flows were increasing from 35,000 Megalitres per day to 45,000 Megalitres per day through the Main Weir.

Mere hours later at 7pm, the government body reported flows had increased yet again from 45,000 Megalitres per day to 55,000 Megalitres per day through the Main Weir by 6pm on Thursday.

As we went to press on Friday the Menindee evacuation was ongoing.

Keep up to date by visiting our website and Facebook page for more on this unfolding emergency.

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