Thousands of Australians were evacuated from their homes, or stranded, as surging floodwaters swamped towns in the area’s worst deluge in 36 years.
Parts of southeastern New South Wales were declared natural disaster areas, as swollen rivers spilled into the streets and water levels continued to rise, forcing the closure of main highways, state Premier Kristina Keneally said yesterday.
“We are anticipating that there may be additional flooding, and the water may still be rising here in Wagga, and as we see over the next few days, those floodwaters move westward,” Keneally said from the town of Wagga Wagga.
A total of 34 New South Wales regions were now natural disaster zones, Keneally said.About 3,000 properties were isolated and 1,500 residents evacuated, according to the State Emergency Service.
Wagga Wagga mayor Wayne Geale said it is the worst flooding he has seen since a downpour in 1974.