June 22, 2024 3:46 PM

River Levels Tip the Top


There were sleepless nights night for many in singleton on Tuesday and Wednesday as a rising Hunter River creeped up the banks threatening low lying farmland and potentially properties.

The forecast peak of 11.5m was surpassed during Wednesday morning and Bureau of  Meteorology had a revised level of 11.08m forecast for around 9pm Wednesday night bringing relief to property owners living on the river flats.

After years of seeing little but a trickle of water flowing down the Hunter River, all eyes were on the rising levels of the water flowing under the river bridges across the region.

The level in Singleton reached five metres on Monday and by lunch time Tuesday it was twice that height and the local State Emergency Service volunteers were packing sandbags and preparing for yet another challenging wait and watch periods.

Drone images of the impacts of the flood from Tuesday afternoon after Cook Park at Singleton had been inundated.
Images by Kim Nguyen and Daniel Riley Photography.

The unofficial rainfall since Saturday, March 13, in the Singleton township has been 220mm.

In the past week, SES have conducted 14 flood rescues.

Some were for vehicle rescues and others for stock mainly in the Cessnock and Maitland areas.

Among the dramas was the helicopter delivery of food to isolated residents in the Putty area on Wednesday afternoon.

A door-knock of residents, particularly in the Dunolly area, was conducted by the SES late Tuesday afternoon as a result of the pending 11.5m river prediction just as a precaution.

Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

SES spokesperson Simone Burrows said as required and directed, door knocking would continue to take place throughout the river rise event to ensure all residents were fully informed of the changing situation and to give them time to prepare should evacuation be needed.

Major thoroughfare, Bridgeman Road was closed by Singleton Council on Tuesday afternoon.

Council’s director business and community services Anthony Egan said council crews worked through the night to respond to the emergency.

Mr Egan said crews were continuing to inspect road closures, causeways, and assets.

At this stage, Council is unable to estimate the extent and cost of the damage but it is extensive and widespread.

Mr Egan thanked the community for their patience and understanding during the emergency situation.

Meanwhile Singleton Mayor Sue Moore’s birthday celebrations on Wednesday were put on hold after Stanhope Road was closed, isolating her at home.

She praised the SES for their professionalism and dedication and said the information coming forward gave people much trust in having the support they need during this emergency.

“We’ve been through a drought, bushfires, a pandemic and now this and the resilience of our community continues to impress,” Cr Moore said.

“We cannot thank the SES volunteers enough and I praise our council staff and the community, we will get through this together.”