The historic town of Lithgow is cleaning up the damage from what locals describe as a storm so ferocious it flooded homes and businesses on a scale never seen before.
A weather system that moved from Dubbo to the east hit the main street early yesterday afternoon, and what unfolded caught most people by surprise.
In as little as half an hour, more than 70mm fell.
It came less than 24 hours after a storm the night before.
Some were caught in their cars as the water rose rapidly around them.
A council worker, luckily driving a tractor at the time, was able to save one man from his car that was floating away.
The State Emergency Service said the flash flooding impacted nearly 50 homes and businesses, mostly in the heart of Lithgow.
It forced major supermarkets to shut, ruined the pitches of sporting fields, and tore car parks and roads to shreds.
Some local businesses were inundated, including a lawnmower shop and cafes.
The Lithgow City Council would like the state government to declare what unfolded as a natural disaster.
It expected the damage bill, which it would start to calculate today, to be extremely high.
The Mayor, Maree Statham, said ‘unprecedented’ had become an overused word, but it was the only appropriate one to describe the storm cell.
“I’ve been listening to some elderly people who have lived here all their lives and they don’t even know they’ve seen the levels of 1.5 metres in Main Street,” Councillor Statham said.
She said it was a miracle no-one was injured.
“It’s an alarmingly large amount of water, which took three cars and they were floating,” Cr Statham said.
“I feel for these people, so we need to make sure they’re going to be looked after.”
More rain on the horizon
The water has subsided but there are concerns it will not take much rain for it to rise again. The SES has warned residents above-average falls are on the forecast for the rest of summer.
NSW SES chief inspector Joshua Clarke said people must keep an eye on the forecast while severe thunderstorms lingered.
“Whilst the storm wasn’t unexpected, the amount of rain that it did produce was,” Mr Clarke said.
The potential of more showers and thunderstorms this afternoon could hinder efforts to fix the damage.
“The message is: take the time now to prepare your property,” he said.
Source: Thanks msn.com