A 4km makeshift levee of sandbags is all that is separating a small Central West NSW town from rising floodwaters, with emergency crews urging residents to flee multiple locations along the rising Lachlan river.
The devastating flood crisis that has rocked the state for the past few days have prompted a flurry of urgent alerts for residents to evacuate.
In Euabalong, residents were on Sunday told to “shelter now” after evacuation routes were cut off by waters that nearly reached 8m – higher than the town’s devastating 1952 flood.
The warning was downgraded to a Watch and Act scenario at 2pm.
In Condobolin, west of Orange, a makeshift levee separating the CBD from rising waters has become known as the “Great Wall of Condo” – the town’s last refuge against floodwaters reaching above 7m.
NSW SES crews were urging residents in low-lying areas of the town to evacuate on Thursday due to the dangerous floodwaters.
“You should evacuate to stay with family, friends, or alternate accommodation in areas unaffected by flooding,” the alert on the Hazardwatch website reads.
“If you remain in the area, you may become trapped without power, water, and other essential services. It may be too dangerous for NSW SES to rescue you, and buildings may not be able to withstand the impact of flood water.”
As the dire flooding continues, meteorologists have said a vigorous cold front is forecast to sweep through southeast Australia this week, plunging temperatures to below 15 degrees in Victoria and sending severe weather up north.
The chaotic conditions come amid more flooding across Central West NSW – with major flooding warned for Forbes, Condobolin, Bourke and Hay – and gusty winds sweeping across other regions.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a warning for damaging winds of up to 90kmh were expected across parts of the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Tablelands and North West Slopes and Plains regions on Sunday.
Sky News Weather presenter Lucy Polkinghorne said while one cold front was currently travelling across the lower south east of the country, a second wasn’t far behind, and could hit as early as Sunday night.
“With that, we are going to see some showers, possibly severe storms, heavy rain, damaging winds … this will also help to develop some small hail and snow throughout the evening as well,” she said.
Ms Polkinghorne described the impending weather as “quite wintry”, and said the cold front’s effects would be most felt on Monday.
Next week will see the current wild weather across the country’s southeast ease, but temperatures are expected to plunge.
The change is most noticeable in Victoria, with Melbourne’s max temperature to drop to only 15 degrees on Monday.
Minimum temperatures will hover around 11 and 12 degrees before returning to 16 degrees on Saturday.
Sky News Meteorologist Rob Sharpe said showers would linger for parts of Victoria and Tasmania but the mercury drop in those states would make it feel “closer to Winter”.
“It’s not quite as nasty a change for NSW and Central Australia as we’ve seen a couple of times already this month,” he said.
“But it’s remarkably cold, we’re almost into Summer now and we’re still talking about Winter-like weather in the southeast of the country.”
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast snowfall in Tasmania to 700m on Monday, falling to 500m in the evening, with more expected on Tuesday.
In NSW, strong winds that could reach 50kmh are forecast to continue on Monday.
This will then ease to sunny conditions with maximum temperatures of up to 26 degrees.
Up north, record warm seas and a pulse of tropical moisture would create an increased tropical cyclone risk for the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland, Mr Sharpe said.
Temperatures of up to 35 degrees were forecast in Brisbane on Sunday with a chance of thunderstorms and showers.
Conditions will become sunnier later this week but the maximum temperatures are not expected to budge from the 30s.