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Hunter rivers swell after heavy rain

Tuesday January 29, 2013 - 09:59 EDT
ABC image
The Merriwa River flooding yesterday afternoon - ABC
ABC image
The Merriwa River flooding yesterday afternoon - ABC

Rivers throughout the Hunter are on the rise this morning, with farmers urged to monitor their individual situations carefully over the next 24 hours.

There has been heavy rainfall across the region over the past day, with more than 120 mm recorded at Thompson's Creek near Scone.

Coastal regions also copped heavy falls, with more than 100 mm recorded at Merewether, Wallsend and Barnsley, with Cooranbong getting a whopping 141 mm.

The Hunter, Pages and Goulburn Rivers continue to swell in parts of the Upper Hunter this morning.

Gordon McKay is the New South Wales Flood Warnings Centre Manager at the Bureau of Meteorology and says some of the smaller waterways have also been recording significant levels.

"We've actually had some really high flows coming down the Merriwa River, Wybong River and creeks around Scone," he said.

"Scone itself was actually not too bad.

"They had quite a bit of rain there but it must have been pretty dry because there's not much happening."

Max Holtz is a farmer who lives at the junction of the Hunter and Goulburn rivers and says he expects the heavy flows to continue for some time.

He says he can see the water rising from his house.

"It's flowing rapidly and rising quickly," he said.

"We can see the river level at the junction where the two rivers meet.

"My concern is for anybody downstream of the junction if they haven't got their low level pumps out, irrigation equipment and stock."

Livestock and equipment warnings have been issued for landholders across the Valley.

The State Emergency Service Hunter's Deputy Regional Controller Ken Speer says farmers need to watch the waterways closely.

"It's going to take a while for those flows to flow down, so property owners by those rivers need to monitor the situation over the next day or two," he said.

There's a warning for Hunter residents not to become complacent after severe weather conditions eased overnight.

The SES has responded to about 250 jobs in the region across the long weekend, but forecast heavy rain and destructive winds failed to eventuate last night.

The only flood rescue needed was for some horses trapped in a paddock.

Mr Speer says the weather system will not clear until later today.

"It's good we didn't get as much rain as we were expecting nor did we get the winds as strong as we were expecting, so that may still follow today, the wind," he said.

Not all the news is concerning, with farmers across the region celebrating the heavy downpours.

Chris Kemp from Merriwa is thrilled.

"We've been waiting for this since early summer," he said.

"We don't really get dry summers up here, only 2007 in my farming career and this one was shaping up a lot worse than that."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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