Hunter SES: Stay home, stay safe, stay off the roads

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Emergency services are continuing to urge Hunter residents to delay all non-essential travel as severe weather continues to batter the NSW Coast.

The Hunter SES branch has performed more than 920 jobs, including 4 rescues and 363 flood assistance incidents.

Media Officer Alex Varley says residents should remain vigilant.

“The rain has started to ease off now, but while these warnings are current people should stay at home and off the roads particularly if they are in an area where they have to travel on back roads,” she said.

“We have had people sitting in their cars in floodwaters, moving livestock out of paddocks, and have even had people sitting on their roofs. 

“Stay home, it is the safest way, we are hoping that people have the essentials they do need and if not they should get on top of that kind of stuff. 

“Stay home, stay safe, stay off the road and if you do come across a flooded road turn around.”

She adds the system is still sitting off the coast with parts of it still building and believes we are likely to see some heavy downpours with some breaks in between.  

“A lot of rain is coming down the rivers though, so people need to be aware of that,” she said.  

“Our communities across the Hunter have been well prepared for this, we have had a lot of people coming in and getting sandbags.”

After looking at the radar, Deputy Unit Commander of the City of Newcastle SES branch, Graeme Silver says Newcastle “may be lucky to miss the worst of the weather”.

“We’re pretty good here at the moment,” he said.

“The storm hasn’t affected us as much as other areas – it looks like we’re at the tail end of it.

“We’ve done around 100 jobs over the last three days, and only have six at the moment, but they are still dribbling in.”

If you are trapped by flash flooding, SES NSW advises that you seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need to be rescued.

Minor flooding is expected along the Hunter River at Maitland and Raymond Terrace from around midnight tonight.

Many residents in Dungog are being evacuated as the Williams River has reached its peak, while Wollombi near Cessnock is expecting the Wollombi Brook to exceed flood levels.

Several roads in Cessnock are also closed due to flooding, including, Old North Road, Rothbury – between Wine Country Drive and Sweetwater Road, Anzac Avenue, Cessnock and Lovedale Road, Lovedale – at railway overpass.

A number of roads are also closed in Port Stephens and the greater Hunter region.

Members of the public seeking emergency assistance during a flood or storm should call the NSW SES on 132 500, or visit their website.

For all other emergencies, the public is advised to contact Triple Zero (000).

Stay up-to-date by visiting the following websites; Bureau of Meteorology, Live Traffic NSW and SES NSW.