NSW Emergency Services are warning residents to travel carefully as people continue to drive their cars into flood waters and call for help.
Speaking to media on Saturday afternoon, Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said there was one simple reason that the SES have received 4000 distress calls and completed more than 500 rescues in the past 24 hours.
“Do not walk-through or drive through floodwaters,” he said in a stern warning.
“Do not drive over water that is covering a road.”
That warning applies particularly in the Mid-North Coast and Sydney, with “reinvigorated rain” expected to hit later on Saturday.
Elliot said to be particularly careful around night-time when travelling outside.
“People have not heeded the warnings. If the trajectory is correct and we keep going down this line we will look at 2000 flood rescues before Wednesday,” he added.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian advised NSW residents to stock up and prepare for a tough week.
The rain isn’t expected to subside until Thursday or Friday.
She has advised NSW residents to “stay at home” and stock up – unless evacuation orders are in place.
Nine evacuation orders are in place across the state in the Mid-North Coast.
Parts of Western Sydney including Penrith and Richmond are advised to be on alert and to check at 6pm to see whether an evacuation order is issued, as the Warragamba Dam is forecast to overflow.
More than 500 specialist SES teams have been called out and State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said they had found many people on their roofs to escape floods.
In regards to driving into a waterlogged road, she said: “Once it gets to that level your vehicle could float away and you cannot control what will happen.
“You are putting your life and that passengers at risk as well as my and other Emergency Services that will go out and respond to your call,” York continued.
“Be patient. When you make the calls we are giving priority to life-threatening calls first.
“We will be there to help you whether it is typing your roof, removing trees, the SES and other Emergency Services organisations will respond to you call for help.
“If it is life-threatening please ring 000.
“If it is about property damage or help to evacuate or roof damage, go to the SES line and we will send out resources that are needed to assist you.”