Flood-weary NSW towns face huge clean up

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Hundreds of flood-hit homes and businesses in Forbes will be assessed for damage as the focus extends to other downstream towns in central western NSW.


Some 103 flood warnings were in place across the state on Monday afternoon, including six evacuation orders around the city of Forbes.

There, the Lachlan River peaked about midday on Saturday at 10.67 metres - slightly below the 10.8m record set in 1952.

Some 48 hours on, major flooding was continuing as the SES planned to begin rapid damage assessments of homes in the city's north and east.

An earlier aerial assessment indicated "hundreds" of homes and businesses had been impacted by flooding, the SES said.

It's unclear how long it will be until the 1000 people advised to evacuate can begin returning to their homes.

Forbes mayor Phyllis Miller told AAP on Monday the town has been cut in two by flooding.

"We've got a ferry service going across with RFS vehicles for essential workers and service people," she said.

"We're hoping maybe tomorrow we'll be able to have a look at the road surface."

Ms Miller expects further damage from the most recent flooding.

"Some (roads) were washed away completely, we already know that," she said.

Restoring roads is a top priority for local governments around NSW but will require funding from state and federal government, as well as people to do the work, Ms Miller said.

However, the roads need to be built back in a better way than they have been before.

"We've done it every time we have a flood and it just washes away and isolates us ... it's stupidity," she said.

Closures on the Newell Highway between Melbourne and Brisbane were also hurting productivity for the region's farmers.

Ms Miller wants mitigation work done on Wyangala Dam, beyond the consultations being conducted by the NSW government.

"We need to raise the dam wall, that's the facts of the matter," she said. 

The flood peak that has passed Forbes will reach Jemalong by Monday, night while Condobolin, a town of around 3500 people already experiencing major flooding, could be faced with river levels exceeding records set in 1952.

Meanwhile, a search for two men in Prestons Creek in the Southern Tablelands has ended with the discovery of the second man's body.

Police recovered the first body on Thursday, three days after the pair were flung out of a ute tray as the vehicle crossed a flooded causeway.

The SES has issued return-with-caution notices to those told to evacuate in North Wagga as the clean-up there continues after the Murrumbidgee River peaked on Friday at its highest level in a decade.

Downstream, the town of Hay is preparing for major flooding to increase from mid-November as the peak moves west of Wagga Wagga.

Meanwhile, gas supply is resuming in Bathurst after flooding of the Macquarie River damaged a gas pipeline to 20,000 people's homes.

About half of Bathurst have had their connections restored.

NSW Police, assisting gas distributor Jemena, estimates all Bathurst residents will have supply restored within about a week. 

Those in nearby Lithgow, Oberon and Wallerawang will begin receiving trucked-in LNG from Friday, with a temporary pipe to be in place early next week, supplier APA said.

A tanker is bound for Lithgow Hospital attempting to restore its gas supply on Monday night. 

Deputy Premier Paul Toole said on Sunday that APA Group - the owner of the gas pipeline - was working on solutions to restore gas supply as quickly as possible.

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