Record flooding, more evacuations expected

Residents in regional NSW have been ordered to leave their homes after heavy rains.
Residents in regional NSW have been ordered to leave their homes after heavy rains.

Residents across regional NSW have been ordered to leave their homes as a "potentially life-threatening" deluge pushes rivers to record flood levels.

Those in low-lying areas in Kempsey are the latest to be told to evacuate, with the water expected to inundate the CBD in a major flood event overnight, and must do so by midnight on Friday.

Earlier, those in low-lying areas along the lower Macleay River such as South West Rocks and Crescent Head were told to move out by 8.30pm on Friday.

People have also been warned they may need to evacuate some properties in Kings Point, the Macksville CBD and Bulahdelah.

Residents in North Haven, Dunbogan, Camden Head, Laurieton, and Port Macquarie have also been ordered to leave, with a "significant" number of properties expected to be inundated there.

Major flooding is occurring along several major rivers, with the Hastings River at Kindee Bridge and Wachope expected to exceed record levels overnight.

"We are seeing very intense, very heavy, potentially life-threatening rainfall happening on the mid-north coast right now," the Bureau of Meteorology's Agata Imielska told reporters on Friday.

"We're seeing rainfall totals of over 100mm falling in about an hour.

"That is very dangerous rainfall."

The Red Cross has begun offering a check-in service for those concerned about the safety of loved ones in the area.

More flood warnings are current across a dozen rivers, including in greater Sydney and the state's far west.

Major flooding is also occurring at Bowraville, which the SES expects will become isolated overnight, and is expected along the Gloucester River.

It will be Sydney's turn on Saturday when the system moves south.

"We might see quite significant flash flooding and we've got a flood watch current for both the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers," Mr Robinson said.

"We're likely to see a spill from Warragamba Dam and that will then impact those communities downstream."

Emergency services have warned road and surf conditions will remain dangerous and are telling motorists and boaties to stay home.

In the past 24 hours, SES crews have undertaken at least 57 flood rescues and responded more than 1300 calls for help.

A land slip has occurred in Nambucca, and further south in Port Stephens, roads have been washed away.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated the message on Friday.

"Normally we're telling people to travel around NSW, but this weekend is an exception," she told reporters.

"We just want everybody to stay around and close to their homes, to be safe and to follow those messages. This weekend is going to be quite severe."

The deluge is set to continue well into next week and could deliver the heaviest rainfall since February 2020, when Greater Sydney was hit.

Inland NSW is also expected to get its share of the rain when a separate system moves in next week.

"At the earliest we might see a clear trend towards the end of next week," Ms Imielska said.

Australian Associated Press