Flood warnings have been issued for multiple river systems in NSW as rain continues to soak parts of the country already hit by record floods.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Monday afternoon for parts of south-east Queensland and northern NSW.
Residents in low lying areas of Lismore in far northern NSW have been warned to get ready to evacuate for the second time within a month.
‘Storm and flood impacts may interrupt essential services such as electricity, phones, internet, water and sewerage,’ an SES alert read.
‘People in these areas need to closely monitor weather and road closures and make informed decisions early based on individual circumstances.
‘Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.
The warning follows a flood watch put in place hours earlier for rivers as far south as Sydney, with the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers dangerously close to overflowing.
The bulk of the rain is expected to drench south-east Queensland on Monday afternoon with up to 180mm falling some areas over six hours before moving south into NSW by Tuesday.
SEQWater warned of possible flood releases from the Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams in the next 48 hours due to the forecast rainfall.
‘Widespread rain and severe thunderstorms are expected for Northern Rivers and parts of the Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands,’ the bureau said.
‘This includes potential for major flooding for the Richmond, Wilsons, Orara and Bellinger rivers including Lismore and other communities recently impacted by severe weather.’
‘The localised flooding seen over the past week will likely become more pronounced with riverine flooding from the Mid North Coast through to the Northern Rivers, Northern Tablelands and Northwest Slopes and Plains.’
The bureau added landslides were also a risk with the rain causing erosion and soil on slopes heavy with water.
An emergency alert has been issued for residents in low-lying areas of Dalby in southern Queensland ahead of a major flood peak on Myall Creek.
The waterway is set to peak above 3.5m on Monday, which would close the Warrego Hwy at Charles Drew Bridge, with further rises possible into Tuesday.
‘Residents with properties in low lying areas should warn their neighbours, secure their belongings and prepare to move to higher ground immediately,’ a QFES statement said on Monday afternoon.
A man was stranded on top of his car by flash flooding outside of Toowoomba on Monday
The warning follows a man and five dogs killed when their ute was washed away at Kingsthorpe, northwest of Toowoomba on Monday morning.
Swiftwater crews rescued a woman who was also in the car, but the man and the dogs didn’t survive.
The pair were understood to be returning to NSW following a trip to North Queensland as part of a pet moving business.
A second man has been missing for more than eight hours after two vehicles tried to negotiate floodwater at a crossing at North Branch, south of Toowoomba.
A woman driving one of the cars was helped to safety by members of the public, but police say a man in his 40s got out of the second car before being swept away.
Police, swift water rescue crews and the RACQ Lifeflight Rescue helicopter are currently searching the area.
The Bureau of Meteorology has placed much of southern and southeast Queensland on flood watch as a coastal trough moves over the land on Monday.
Heavy rainfall is forecast for much of the region before the weather system moves south into NSW on Tuesday.
In NSW, flood recovery centres and assistance points have opened in communities as the state again braces for intense storms and possible flash flooding.
The 27 centres, operated by Resilience NSW, provide support for people and their families as well as farmers and business owners helping them access government support and services.
People can access accommodation at the centres, have lost documents replaced, and access mental health, business, financial, insurance and legal support.
‘The trauma our flood-affected communities right across the state continue to suffer is immense,’ Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke said Monday.
‘This is why we are doing everything possible to help residents kickstart their recovery journey.’
Of the recovery centres and assistance points opened, there are 14 in the Northern Rivers, four in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, three on the Central Coast, two on the South Coast, two in the Hunter and one in the Southern Highlands
Falls of between 30mm and 60mm were recorded from Tweed Heads to Byron Bay overnight, adding to 100mm and 200mm recorded over Saturday and Sunday, Meteorologist Johnathon How said.
Heavy falls moving from the Queensland border would ‘really peak (Monday) afternoon and into the evening’.
The rain will continue into Tuesday and only begin to ease that afternoon and evening.
The forecast zone includes Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Lismore, Yamba, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Dorrigo, where six-hourly rainfall totals of between 80 and 140mm are predicted.
‘All of those locations could see those really heavy falls, but it does come with a caveat that those flows will be with the thunderstorms, Mr How said.
He stressed while the conditions were similar to those in the recent Lismore flood, the outcome was not predicted to be as widespread and severe.
Lismore’s mayor Steve Krieg said the next two days would be critical for how Lismore is going to fare over the next week.
‘It won’t bloody stop raining up here,’ told the Nine Network on Monday.
‘This is a major development, this weather front. If our river rises, we’re going to start the evacuations today just to be cautious.’