The Hunter escaped the worst of the intense rain and wind that lashed eastern NSW on Wednesday, but a second bout of “dangerous” weather last night increased the work load of emergency services.
The SES and police are urging motorists to take care on Thursday as the rain is set to continue and debris may still be present on roads.
A spokesperson for the SES said the organisation’s volunteers received 320 calls in the Hunter region between Wednesday and Thursday morning, the majority of calls coming in Wednesday afternoon and evening.
She said the service attended more than ten jobs in the locations of Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Newcastle, with a few jobs also recorded in Cessnock and Maitland.
“It was mainly rain damage, leaking roofs, and sandbagging due to significant rainfall,” spokesperson Terri Langendam said.
The service had not received any calls from the Hunter region on Thursday morning, but Ms Langendam said she expected phones to start ringing as residents woke up.
“There was reports of gusts up to 80 kilometres overnight in some areas, so we are anticipating people may wake up to fallen trees and branches on roads,” she said.
“People commuting to work this morning may find there’s still some flooding and debris.”
Police are urging motorists to take extra care on the roads today.
“Drivers need to consider reducing their speed to make sure they have enough braking distance for themselves and for the vehicle in front, and to drive to the conditions,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said.
“Today’s weather will be particularly dangerous for motorcycle riders and cyclists and if they are on the road, they should wear bright-coloured clothing, be seen by other vehicles and share roads safely.
“We can’t stress enough that motorists should never attempt to drive through floodwaters or cross flooded causeways.”
A second wave of wet weather rolled into Newcastle on Wednesday after Ausgrid worked to restore power to about 1300 premises at Medowie on Wednesday morning.
One of two northbound lanes of the Pacific Highway was closed between Raymond Terrace Road and Medowie Road for about 90 minutes because of flooding in the afternoon.
A crash at Liddell closed the New England Highway in both directions for about two hours just before 4pm, as a collision between a car and caravan near Bulahdelah shut one of two northbound lanes of the Pacific Highway.
The Bureau of Meteorology described Wednesday’s conditions as “dangerous”, with severe weather causing havoc particularly in Sydney.
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
- Don't walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
- If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
- Unplug computers and appliances.
- Avoid using the phone during the storm.
- Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
- For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.