Two dramatic rescues that saved 11 people near the University of Newcastle's Callaghan campus, as a flash flood ripped through a handful of the city's suburbs, were among the many jobs that kept emergency crews busy as the brunt of an East Coast Low blew through the region on Sunday evening.
Ambulance crews were called to University Drive about 5.30pm after reports that two men were stuck on the roof of a car in rising flood water.
Four teams of paramedics responded and got the men to safety.
While the paramedics were at the scene, a State Emergency Service team also took to the water nearby to help a bus driver and eight children - who were his passengers - after the vehicle became stuck on University Drive.
"These types of incidents are extremely challenging," NSW Ambulance intensive care paramedic Peter Watts said on Monday.
"The conditions can change at any time and our priority is to get our patients out of the flood waters and to do it safely.
"This was quite a serious job. Our paramedics not only had to deal with rising flood waters, but quite a number of patients needed assistance quickly.
"It was a joint effort from all emergency services. This was a great outcome for everyone involved."
The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas were smashed with rain on Sunday, with the torrential downpour causing flash floods at various locations.
According to the NSW Bureau of Meteorology, 152mm of rain fell at the University of Newcastle in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday.
The BoM recorded a 24-hour reading of 133mm at Williamtown - with 67mm falling between 3pm and 5pm on Sunday - and 116mm at Cooranbong - with just under 50mm of rain in the three hours from 5pm on Sunday.
Mayfield recorded a 24-hour total of 145mm.
The Hunter's SES crews received almost 500 calls for help across the region on Sunday night, mostly in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas.
By 8.30pm, the Newcastle team had received more than 100 calls for assistance and the Lake Macquarie branch had more than 50.
Meanwhile, Hunter Water issued a warning on Monday advising people not to swim at the region's beaches and waterways for two days.
The advice said heavy rain could lead to storm water and debris getting into the waste water system and cause it to overflow.
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