7 Mar 2012

NSW flood threat spreads but Wagga Wagga levee holds

9:38 pm on 7 March 2012

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the city of Griffith as the flood emergency spreads in southern New South Wales.

However, thousands more in central Wagga Wagga have been cleared to return home, after the flood peak stayed within the city's levees.

The ABC reports about 600 people from low-lying parts of Griffith and outlying villages are waiting at an evacuation centre to see how high the Murrumbidgee River rises.

The State Emergency Services say it is hard to predict how the flooding in Griffith will unfold, but the town of Forbes further downstream and tracts of irrigated land are also under threat.

Meanwhile, about 9000 residents from central Wagga Wagga were given the all clear to return to their homes and businesses on Wednesday, after the city's levee held through the flood's peak on Tuesday.

The levee was checked by council engineers before the announcement.

But there is a longer wait ahead for residents whose homes have been inundated outside the levee, in the north and east of Wagga.

It is expected they will have to spend at least another night in emergency accommodation.