18 Mar 2017

20 rescues in NSW floods

10:06 pm on 18 March 2017

More than 20 flood rescues have been carried out in the north of New South Wales (NSW), as heavy rainfall in the region causes flash flooding and multiple road closures.

Flooding in Coffs Harbour, NSW

Flooding in Coffs Harbour, NSW Photo: Facebook / Coffs Harbour Weather Watch

Caroline Ortel, from the Clarence-Nambucca State Emergency Service (SES), said the rescues were the result of people ignoring flood warnings.

"We've had several flood rescues, all of them based on people driving into floodwaters," she said.

The SES said a young family were rescued after they were surrounded by floodwater.

Ian Lecki from the Richmond Tweed SES said a rescue helicopter winched the mother, father and 4-year-old child to safety.

Rivers including the Bellinger, Orara, Williams and the Coffs Creek were expected to reach minor flood levels before conditions eased tomorrow.

The SES brought in extra teams that responded to reports of leaking roofs and requests for sandbags overnight.

The organisation had received 2700 calls for help across NSW since Friday.

Several vehicles were stranded in flash flooding and traffic on the M1 has seen long hold ups after the SES estimated up to 30 drivers tried to drive through floodwater.

Weather warnings were in place for large parts of NSW and parts of the northern tablelands are expected to be the hardest hit.

Commissioner Smethurst said the clean-up was continuing after storms in Sydney's west and the Illawarra, which claimed the life of 11-year-old Ryan Teasdale in Wollongong.