It was only a week ago that Australian Reptile Park director Tim Faulkner was calling daily meetings with his team to prepare as bushfires bore down just eight kilometres away.
He spent Friday wading through rushing flood waters after a torrential downpour forced the closure of the park for the first time since the 2007 Pasha Bulker storm.
"We haven't seen flooding like this at the Park for over 15 years," he said.
Park staff sprang into action, sandbagging doorways and relocating animals, as keepers stood guard at the edge of the alligator lagoon watching inhabitants approach the fence in rising water.
"The contrast between the current bushfire crisis and this sudden flooding is striking," Faulkner said. "But we are well-aware that a huge part of Australia is still burning, and millions of animals are still under threat. The rain doesn't replace the millions of hectares of habitat that has been lost over the last few months."
A spokesperson for the park said the welcome rain was easing on Friday as keepers provided care for animals and began cleaning up after the inundation.
"Our quick action with the flooding this morning has allowed us to get the situation under control and we are confident that we will be business as usual (Saturday)," Mr Faulkner said. "We'll be open and ready to welcome visitors for the rest of the summer school holidays."
A small trough off the Hunter coast brought heavy rain to Lake Macquarie and parts south of Newcastle Friday.
Bulladelah was saturated with falls around 112 millimetres and the Barrington Tops recorded 62 millimetres to 9am Friday morning.
As the cell lingers off the coast, and a second moves over western NSW, forecasters with the Bureau of Meteorology say Newcastle and much of the Hunter could expected more scattered showers Saturday and into early next week.
Meanwhile, firefighters to the south-east of the state could see a reprieve on Monday as shifting weather patterns look set to deliver decent rainfall across ravaged firegrounds early next week, a Bureau forecaster said.
The sudden rainfall has slightly lifted Hunter Water stores as runoff makes its way toward the Hunters dams and sandbeds.
Overall storage levels rose just above 53 per cent Friday, but still represented a decline over the past week.
Heavier falls could move over Newcastle this weekend if the coastal cell moves closer to land.
As the region faces the lowest water storage levels in the past 20 years, Hunter Water will move to tighten water restrictions for its customers in Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Dungog and small parts of Singleton on Monday.
Conditions are expected to start to ease on Sunday, with up to six millimetres forecast over the Newcastle harbour, before warm and sunny days return on Tuesday.
Partly cloudy conditions Saturday with a chance of showers in the morning and afternoon, and the chance of a thunderstorm, with souther winds up to 35 kilometres.
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