Two dead, thousands evacuate in Australian floods
An urgent evacuation order has been issued for Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales, with residents being told to leave their homes by 6am AEDT on Tuesday.
The State Emergency Service says if the Murrumbidgee River reaches an expected peak of 10.9 metres on Tuesday morning, the levee will be breached and the town's centre flooded.
Region Controller James McTavish says everyone in central Wagga Wagga must get out.
"Do not delay your evacuation. Roads may be congested or closed and you could become trapped and need to be rescued. Remaining in flooded areas is extremely dangerous and may place your life at risk," he said.
The SES says there is a chance the river will not reach that predicted peak, but it wants locals to take the evacuation order seriously.
Severe flooding across three Australian states has left at least two people dead and forced thousands to evacuate.
The victims were both men swept away in their cars; one man died in southern New South Wales and the other in southeast Queensland.
Around 70 per cent of New South Wales is flooded or facing the threat of floods after days of heavy rain, with around 4,500 people already moved from their homes.
In Yanco, a breach has been created in a levee to protect 300 properties, while a creek which burst its banks last night in Barellan is still on the rise and residents say it is like an inland sea.
The towns of Leeton, Narrandera and Griffith remain isolated after the unprecedented rain.
Also in the central west, parts of Cowra, Ungarie and Yoogali have been evacuated.
There are currently flood warnings for 15 river valleys across New South Wales.
Residents of flood-affected towns in Victoria's north are being warned to expect at least several more days of inundation.
A number of communities including Numurkah and Wunghnu remain flooded and the Army is assisting emergency services to keep homes above water.
There is still a major flood warning for the Murray River upstream of Lake Hume.
SES spokesman Darren Skelton says the focus is now turning to Nathalia, where flooding is expected to peak later this week.
"At this point in time we expect that peak to be higher than the 1990 flood level," he said.
"Crews are working to finish off the flood barrier which protects the community, and there has also been a number of houses which are outside that barrier where sandbagging and other protection works are happening."
Eighteen schools have been closed in the state's north-east.
Education Minister Martin Dixon says no schools have been inundated, but flooded roads have blocked access to 16 primary and two secondary schools.