Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley is experiencing a “rare” once in 20-year flood event after a weekend of heavy rainfall.
- A moderate flood warning is in place for Kingdon Ponds on the Hunter River system
- Some areas of the Upper Hunter have seen upwards of 100mm of rainfall over the weekend
- Local farms have been impacted with silage and water pumps under threat
Kingdon Ponds in the Hunter catchment broke the minor flood level of 3.2 metres around 4am and peaked at 3.47 metres near the moderate flood level at about 7:30am.
A minor flood warning is in place for the Hunter River at Aberdeen and Muswellbrook.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects the river to peak at minor flood level of 7.3 metres in Aberdeen around midday, and at the same height in Muswellbrook at 6pm.
The State Emergency Service said some “little townships around Scone may be cut off for short periods of time,” including Satur, Rouchel and Turanville.
The Merriwa to Scone Road will also likely be impacted, among other local roads.
BOM Meteorologist Helen Reid said flooding in Scone “happens every 20 years or so”.
Scone Airport recorded 60mm in the 24 hours to 9am, while some outlying areas saw closer to 90mm.
SES Deputy Zone Commander Superintendent Joanna Jones said Hunter crews have responded to nearly 50 calls since Sunday morning.
“Most of those have been storm jobs, so trees down, roof leaks and the like,” Superintendent Jones said.
“We’ve had 13 flood-related jobs, water over the road, requests for sandbags, help with moving livestock, those sorts of things.”
Moving silage to higher ground
Aberdeen dairy farmer Scott Wheatley said he woke to a “sea of water” on his property which is bordered by the Dartbrook River and Kingdon Ponds, near where they meet the Hunter River.
He said it was the highest the rivers have been “in at least 10 or 12 years”.
“We moved some silage yesterday to what we thought was going to be high enough ground,” he said.
“This morning … by the time we got those 20 odd bales out of the road, one of them almost started to float away.”
Mr Wheatley said he “wasn’t quite quick enough” to save two river pumps and also lost two well pumps that were submerged, but he said after years of drought it was worth it.
“The creek was bone dry [18 months ago]… it’s just amazing how things can turn around.
Don’t risk it
Superintendent Jones urged locals to stay safe.
“Stay out of the rising and fast-flowing water,” she said.
“Floodwater can erode and wash away road surfaces and leave deep holes which can’t be seen so driving through flood water risks the lives of those in the vehicles and also the lives of our volunteers involved in the rescue.”
Meteorologist Helen Reid said some parts of NSW have recorded their November averages in one day, and many have surpassed that figure three times over.
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