Flash flooding has posed a tough challenge for Newcastle State Emergency Services (SES) crews.
A heavy downpour on Sunday afternoon saw areas of Wallsend, Callaghan, Mayfield, New Lambton, Broadmeadow and the wider Hunter swallowed by water, leading to several successful rescues.
One of the most serious incidents involved a bus with 10 passengers that was caught in floodwater near the University of Newcastle.
Emergency services were called to the university at about 5.30pm and found the water halfway up the bus, slowly filling the interior.
“The bus driver drove into the deep water and the bus started to fill,” Newcastle SES representative Garry Luxton said.
“Inside the bus, the water was coming into the fourth or fifth row of seats so, initially, the passengers were directed to the back of the bus and then taken out by a boat.”
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a total of 74mm of rain fell in the area two hours prior to the incident.
While Mr Luxton was not sure of the exact number of rescues performed by the Newcastle team, he estimated the crews completed at least a dozen rescues.
Other rescues performed by the SES involved flooded houses at New Lambton and people trapped in cars at Broadmeadow.
Mr Luxton said the crews were still working today on some of the less urgent matters, like damaged roofs.
While the weather has been predicted to ease, Mr Luxton warned residents to be careful of winds and future flooding.
He urged the community to be smart around floodwater and be prepared in the event of another downpour.
“Don’t drive or walk through it,” he said.
“You don’t know what may be in it and some of the water would come from sewerage.
“Make sure your gutters are clean and that everything is secure and call the SES on 132 500 if you are in trouble.”
Visit the NSW SES’s website for regular updates.