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Flood risk remains as residents return

NSW residents returning to flood-hit homes have been urged to take care and watch for damage.

NSW residents returning to flood-hit homes have been urged to take care and watch for damage. Photo: AAP

Flood-affected NSW communities returning to their homes have been urged to take care as they survey the damage and begin to clean up.

Residents in parts of Camden and Ellis Lane, about 65km southwest of Sydney, were allowed home on Saturday after the flooding threat reduced.

“You should take care when returning to the area as flood damage can be widespread,” the NSW State Emergency Service warned.

Heavy rainfall earlier in the week soaked Sydney and other parts of the state, causing the Warragamba dam to spill for the third time in three months and threatening communities downstream in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.

Swelling rivers brought moderate flooding to North Richmond, peaking at 10.13m after 8am on Saturday, before waters began falling and is expected to be below moderate flood level on Sunday, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The Hawkesbury River at Windsor was expected to peak late Saturday afternoon and Penrith and Sackville also experienced minor flooding.

Warragamba dam outflows have slowed, but WaterNSW chief executive Andrew George says it may take a few days to return to normal.

About 600 residents in low-lying areas of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley were ordered to evacuate on Friday night.

While the immediate threat of more damaging rainfall has eased, with the bureau not forecasting any further significant falls over the next few days, the SES still has a dozen emergency evacuation orders in place due to flooding.

The service will begin to survey the damage to communities when  waters recede, with possible impacts to infrastructure including roads.

“Our priority is to get people back to normal as soon as possible,” NSW SES acting commissioner Deb Platz said.

But she warned residents to remain wary around the Hawkesbury Nepean catchment.

“We do not need to see significant rain to bring riverine and flash flooding,” she said.

“As we have saturated catchments and full dams the rivers can rise very quickly.”

The SES conducted 13 flood rescues in the 24 hours to 5am on Saturday.

-AAP

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