Hundreds of people in the southern Riverina are weighing up whether to leave their homes today, with fears that unprecedented floodwaters could isolate a small town for weeks.
The State Emergency Service (SES) has asked all residents in the New South Wales town of Moulamein to evacuate, via escort, by 2pm this afternoon due to rising levels in the Billabong Creek and Edward River.
The SES said it had limited information about how much water was coming down the creek, but roads in the area were in extremely poor condition.
Mid-Murray Zone Deputy Incident Controller, Ian Leckie, says he wants the town prepared for flooding, but is hoping it will only be isolated.
“There’s three levees in Moulamein and we’ll still be maintaining a presence even with the evacuation order,” he said.
“In conjunction with council and emergency services, we’ll be maintaining works on those levees as they need to be.”
Mood in town ‘sombre’
The primary school is closed and residents, particularly those with medical conditions or appointments, are being urged to leave.
Katarni McGlashan lives in Moulamein and owns the local petrol station.
She attended an SES meeting in the town yesterday about the evacuation and said, at this stage, she and her family will stay in town.
“Being the only petrol in town it’s quite vital we keep those services operating at full capacity and available for emergency services and council and just all the residents of Moulamein,” she said.
But she said the mood in the town was very sombre and there was “a lot of concern” about the “unknowns”.
“It is a flood that we haven’t seen before and those that have, it was a very long time ago and it’s flooding in a different way to the 56′ flood.”
More to come.