Downpours that swept across the NSW north-west last week in falls measuring in the hundreds of millimetres have sent floodwaters across the saturated plains, cutting off towns and submerging crops.
The Namoi River at Gunnedah has swollen to 7.84 metres, spilling through backyards and damaging businesses.
Locals paddled through floodwaters in canoes to get groceries, while the SES delivered milk and bread to others stuck indoors.
Farmers are frustrated at the downgrading of prize crops, with wheat and cotton beneath floodwaters.
But, despite the devastation, most are philosophical and looking to the bright side — the ground will soak up the water, the dams are spilling, and they live on flood plains. What’s not to expect?
The Namoi flows downstream to smaller Boggabri, and has flooded the main artery into town, the Kamilaroi Highway.
The river was today at 8.31 metres and adjoining Coxs Creek steady at 8.24 metres, but the Bureau of Meteorology was expecting those levels to rise over the weekend.
The Namoi then flows north-west through Narrabri and out to Wee Waa. The small cotton town is ringed by a levee, protecting the area from rising waters.
On Thursday, residents flocked to the town’s only supermarket to stock up on pasta and canned food. But now, locals say it’s pretty quiet. They’re used to water coming and going.
The busiest time of day is morning and evening when everyone drives to check the flood levels, which have now reached 7.30 metres.
The town is now encircled by water and the Bureau of Meteorology predicts it will stay above the major flood level for the next week.