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Floods set to hit northern NSW

Published: 8:47PM Wednesday February 20, 2013

Residents in northern New South Wales have been urged to prepare for heavy rain and flooding over the next two days.

A tropical low will bring heavy rain to the NSW far north coast on Thursday, extending south to the Hunter Valley on Friday, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

The low pressure system is likely to bring both localised flash flooding and moderate to major river flooding.

BOM's NSW regional director, Barry Hanstrum, said the potential for widespread flooding is high as catchments are still wet from the impact of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald in late January.

"Rainfall totals may exceed 300 millimetres over the two days in some locations," he said.

Gale force winds and damaging surf conditions are also likely, Hanstrum said.

"A severe weather warning and flood watch for the affected areas have been issued."

NSW State Emergency Service (SES) commissioner, Murray Kear, urged people to prepare now for the severe weather.

"Residents in the affected areas should keep up to date with the latest weather information and stay clear of any rivers, creeks or low-lying areas as they can be prone to flash flooding," he said.

SES carried out a number of flood rescues in the last flood in northern NSW, with the majority involving people trapped in their cars, Mr Kear said.

"It's imperative that people stay clear of floodwater and if you come across a flooded road on your travels, turn around or pull over and wait for the water to recede."

Anyone needing emergency help in a flood or storm should call the NSW SES on 132 500, or in life-threatening situations, call 000.