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NSW flood threat about to ease as rain slows

Brett Dutschke, Wednesday January 6, 2016 - 09:55 EDT

After 200-to-400 millimetres in the past two days, rain is now easing in the Hunter and Mid North Coast areas, allowing major flooding to begin to ease.

A low pressure system just off the coast is slowly moving further offshore, taking the heaviest rain with it. However, the low is still intensifying, causing wind to become stronger on the coast, reaching 80-90km/h.

Apart from run-off and increased flows downstream, the general threat of flooding is now easing although strengthening winds bring the risk of further damage.

In two days, rain has dumped more than 400mm in Bungwahl, between Newcastle and Forster. Nearer to Newcastle, about 300mm has fallen at Williamtown, its heaviest downpour in 25 years. Further inland, the Dungog/Tocal/Maitland area which copped the brunt of last April's devastating floods has gained more than 200mm, putting a strain on locals.

For these areas and surrounds this exceeds the monthly average, by as much as 100-to-150mm in places. Much of the region has just emerged from a wetter-than-normal December and year (the year 2015 was about 300mm wetter than normal). As a result, some dams have reached their capacity, compounding the flooding.

By Thursday rain will begin to clear and wind will ease as a firm high pressure system takes over, helping the ground to slowly dry out and residents to recover.

Further ahead, Friday and Saturday are looking dry but from Sunday to mid-next week there is the threat of showers and storms each afternoon, mainly inland, as a low pressure trough develops.

This trough will also allow the region and most of New South Wales to gradually heat up to the mid thirties.

Given the dampness on the ground, this heating will lead to steamy conditions right along the coast and ranges including recently flooded areas in Sydney, Illawarra and South Coast.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2016

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