A 4km makeshift sandbag dam is all that separates a small town in Central West NSW from rising tides, with rescue workers urging residents to flee at several locations along the rising Lachlan River.
The devastating flood disaster that has rocked the state in recent days has prompted a spate of urgent evacuation warnings for residents.
In Euabalong, residents were told on Sunday to “get to safety now” after evacuation routes were cut off by water that reached nearly 8m – higher than the city’s devastating flood in 1952.
The warning was downgraded to a watch-and-act scenario at 2 p.m.
In Condobolin, west of Orange, a temporary causeway separating the business district from rising water has come to be known as the ‘Great Wall of Condo’ – the city’s last resort against floods over 7m.
NSW SES crews on Thursday urged residents in low-lying areas of the city to evacuate due to dangerous flooding.
“You should evacuate to stay with family, friends or alternative accommodation in areas unaffected by flooding,” the warning on Hazardwatch’s website said.
“If you stay in the area, you could be left without electricity, water and other essential services. It may be too dangerous for NSW SES to save you and buildings may not be able to withstand the effects of flooding.”
As terrible flooding continues, forecasters have said a violent cold front will sweep through south-east Australia this week, taking temperatures below 15 degrees in Victoria and sending severe weather north.
The chaotic conditions come amid more flooding in Central West NSW – with major flooding for Forbes, Condobolin, Bourke and Hay – and gusty winds sweeping across other regions.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a warning that damaging winds of up to 90 km/h could affect parts of the North Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains, Australian Capital Territory were expected in the Northern Tablelands and North West Slopes and Plains regions on Sunday.
Sky News Weather presenter Lucy Polkinghorne said while a cold front is currently sweeping across the country’s lower southeast, a second is not far behind and could strike as early as Sunday night.
“With that we will see some showers, possibly severe storms, heavy rain, damaging winds… this will also help develop some hail and snow throughout the evening,” she said.
Ms Polkinghorne described the weather ahead as “fairly wintry” and said the effects of the cold front would be felt most on Monday.
Next week, the current wild weather in the country’s southeast is set to ease, but temperatures are expected to drop.
The change is most noticeable in Victoria, where Melbourne’s high temperature drops to just 15 degrees on Monday.
Minimum temperatures are between 11 and 12 degrees before returning to 16 degrees on Saturday.
Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the showers would continue in parts of Victoria and Tasmania, but the mercury drop in those states would make it feel “closer to winter”.
“It’s not quite as bad a change for NSW and Central Australia as we’ve seen a couple of times this month,” he said.
“But it’s remarkably cold, we’re almost into summer now and we’re still talking about wintry weather in the south-east 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.
Strong winds, which could reach 50km/h, are expected to persist in NSW on Monday.
This will then be due to sunny conditions with maximum temperatures of up to 26 degrees.
In the north, record-warm seas and a pulse of tropical humidity would create an increased risk of tropical cyclones for the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland, Mr Sharpe said.
Temperatures of up to 35 degrees were forecast in Brisbane on Sunday, with the possibility of thunderstorms and showers.
Conditions will become sunnier later this week but highs are not expected to deviate from the 30s.
Originally published as “The Great Wall of Condo”: The city’s last resort from flooding as residents of the Lachlan River pressed for evacuation