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BOM says more rain on way for Sydney as country creek flows for first time in five years

By Lydia Feng and Amelia Bernasconi, Saturday January 18, 2020 - 07:37 EDT

Water has flowed through a creek in drought-ravaged northern New South Wales for the first time in five years with more heavy rain and thunderstorms expected to hit the state over the weekend.

Sydney can expect between 20 and 50 millimetres of rain today and showers on Sunday after the city, and most of NSW, received a welcome soaking over the past two days.

A video caught the moment water flowed through Halls Creek near Bingara in northern NSW for the first time in five years.

"Great to see. It brought a bit of a spark to town," Bingara farmer Robert Kilmore said.

"Everyone in town was driving around to look at it — amazing what rain can do that's for sure."

Nearby Bundarra recorded 105mm in the 24 hours to 9.00am at the town's post office, and Moree recorded 51mm — the town's best falls since March 2017.

For farmers near Guyra, on the Northern Tablelands, semi-consistent rain since Christmas has given at-risk fodder crops the start they need.

"The recent rain has just been absolutely fantastic," cattle farmer Sam White said.

"It's producing significant amounts of runoff, which is what we need, and it's getting into our dams.

"Last year's annual rainfall was in the vicinity of 250-270mm so we've received pretty close to 100mm in the last 21 days."

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicts showers and thunderstorms will be concentrated over the north and east of the state today and Sunday.

"We will be looking at cumulative rainfall in addition to what we had today to Sunday of around 30 to 800 millimetres," forecaster Grahame Reader said.

He said several areas in the north and north east of the state had already recorded more than 100mm of rain.

Over the past 24 hours, Boonanghi received 126mm and Bulahdelah 112mm.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by BOM Friday afternoon for the Mid North Coast, Central West Slopes and Plains and Upper Western Forecast districts

While it was good news for some, other areas missed out, including in the Far South Coast, parts of the Greater Hunter and the Southern Tablelands.

Since Wednesday, the State Emergency Service (SES) has received 430 calls for assistance, many for leaking roofs.

SES Assistant Commissioner Paul Bailey said rescue crews had been sandbagging in Parkes and Dubbo where there was surface flooding.

While the threat of bushfires may be over in some areas, Mr Bailey warned residents to be careful of falling trees.

"Those trees that have already been weakened by the fire will be further weakened by the rain."

He added there were also concerns about flash flooding "because there is no vegetation to collect the water".

Staff at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast spent yesterday morning working to protect animals and buildings after a flash flood hit the wildlife park.

The wildlife park was forced to close for the day for the first time since massive floods in June 2007.

Australian Reptile Park Director, Tim Faulkner said staff had been busy recently preparing for bushfires.

"This is incredible. Just last week, we were having daily meetings to discuss the imminent threat of bushfires," Mr Faulkner said.

"We haven't seen flooding like this at the park for over 15 years."


© ABC 2020

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