Homeowners in northern New South Wales have had a lucky break from floodwaters with no reports of major damage.

Key points:

  • Boggabilla has been issued an all-clear notice as of 5pm yesterday after being evacuated on Friday
  • More than 280 residents are returning home with no homes recording flood damage
  • Toomelah’s evacuation order remains in place and is expected to lift later today

More than 280 residents have returned home to Boggabilla after the town was issued an evacuation order on Friday.

Toomelah residents remain evacuated, likely to be declared all clear later today.

SES spokesperson Paul McQueen says despite Toomelah being isolated, crews have had minimal job calls. 

“It means they’ve heeded the warnings, they’re prepared and moved to higher ground. It’s great to see,” he said.

The McIntyre River at Boggabilla peaked on Saturday at 12.39 metres.

Despite the major flood level, homes have escaped the mud many locals were dreading. 

“We’ve had rapid damage-assessment crews going from property-to-property and looking by air,” Mr McQueen said.

brick building with people and computers

Inside the Western Division control room, SES crews are expecting to give Toomelah the all-clear later today, after roads and floodwaters are assessed. (Supplied: NSW SES)

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted up to 50 millimetres of rain along the Queensland and New South Wales border near towns like Goondiwindi and Boggabilla. 

“Although that rain is predicted to raise those river levels we aren’t expecting it to get to the peak we’ve seen,” Mr McQueen said.

“It won’t trigger renewed evacuation warnings for the community, so that’s good news.

aerial shot of flooded area

Farming area on floodplains experienced most of the water damage, with river levels reaching short of Boggabilla’s township.(Supplied: New England NSW SES)

Crop losses

Broadacre farmer Pete Mailer in Boggabilla had only five per cent of his crop left for harvest. 

Although he has counted this season as his most successful, with high yields, the weekend’s flood has already cost him.

Crop damage is yet to be assessed for the north-west region, but Mr Mailer has totalled more than $250,000 lost.

“It’s the biggest flood we’ve seen at the house. Although, certainly, the river peak wasn’t a record or anything,” he said. 

Mr Mailer said that many producers in the region were not strangers to wet conditions, farming on a floodplain.

But the timing has caused a lot of anxiety. 

“Some people are still a long way from harvesting,” he said. 

“We’re all very aware that this has been a really serious event with significant to even catastrophic crop losses.”

Nevertheless, he remained optimistic for next year. 

“In the longer term, on the back of the flood the ground is primed and ready to go for the next crop,” Mr Mailer said.


Evacuated homeowners’ lucky escape from NSW flood damage
Source 1


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