New South Wales is expecting a few days of relief from the heavy downpours that have smashed the state, but flood waters will continue to rise.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urged people to listen to authorities and follow the advice.
“This is not a time for people to take risks,” he said on Sunday.
“My heart goes out to those people who have suffered time and time again, particularly during the recent period.”
Sunshine was forecast for the start of the week but NSW was expecting another big system to hit on Wednesday.
The reprieve comes after a weekend of wild weather that has left rural and regional areas “on edge” while sparing Sydney from the worst impacts.
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) October 9, 2022
Emergency services performed 28 flood rescues across NSW in the 24 hours up to Sunday afternoon, with 21 of them overnight.
Five emergency warnings have been issued across NSW, from Dubbo to the outskirts of Sydney.
The evacuation orders are among 100 warnings issued across NSW, including advice-level warnings and watch-and-act warnings.
Residents along the Hawkesbury and Lachlan rivers, as well as those in the Central Coast and the state’s north, have been warned to prepare to leave.
State Emergency Service commissioner Carlene York urged people to be vigilant after a night of rescues, the majority being people who’d attempted to drive through flood waters.
“It is very dangerous out there on our roads and we are seeing a lot of flash flooding and obviously the rivers are still rising,” Ms York said on Sunday.
#FLOODWATER A reminder to all to NOT drive through flood waters. Lucky escape for this person down the southern regions of NSW, albeit their vehicle not as lucky.
— Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters (@Lifesaverhelo) October 9, 2022
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said Sydney had been “fortunate”.
“Communities in rural, regional and remote NSW; they’ll be on edge for the next few days while we wait for another big system to arrive,” Ms Cooke said.
“We are in for a long spring and summer in relation to wet weather conditions.”
Flood waters are predicted to affect inland NSW for months.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said NSW could expect a series of weather fronts to pass through the state this season.
“We’ve seen totals far more than what we would normally see at this point in October,” Ms Golding said.
As of Sunday evening, evacuation orders were active for the Oura Beach Camping Area outside Wagga Wagga, the Western Plains Tourist Park at Dubbo, the Riverside Ski Park in Cattai, and parts of Agnes Banks and Lower Portland.
Four evacuation centres have been set up, including three in and around Sydney and a fourth in Dubbo.
Major flooding is occurring and expected across the state, including in Gundagai from Sunday afternoon and several locations along the Lachlan River.
In NSW’s central west, the Bathurst 1000 was marred by a series of crashes with conditions hampered by the torrential rain the area had seen.
Meanwhile in Victoria, heavy rain drowned out a wine and music festival on Saturday, with major flood warnings for parts of the state even as rain eased.