NSW is facing challenges on multiple fronts as severe weather brings floods and heavy downpours to inland areas and threatens the Northern Rivers region.
Emergency Services and Resilience Minister Steph Cook said a very long season of wet weather is expected, with flood warnings in place across the state.
She said that we are at the beginning of what we think will be a long spring and summer in relation to these types of events rolling through.
It's important not to become complacent against that backdrop, even if you've experienced flooding before every flood and every weather system is different. In the far west of the state, there had been extensive flooding, according to the NSW State Emergency Service SES Commissioner Carlene York.
There have been 49 rescues and the SES has received more than 500 calls for assistance, according to Ms York.
The weather is moving north to areas that have been inundated with rain and catastrophic events this year, including flood-ravaged Lismore.
Ms York said the SES had already stationed more boats and resources in the Northern Rivers and had set up a command centre in Goonellabah.
The Bureau of Meteorology BOM has issued a moderate flood warning for the Wilsons River in Lismore on Friday, and a minor flood warning for the Macleay River.
Heavy rainfall is expected to develop upstream of Lismore during Thursday afternoon and into the evening, according to a BOM statement.
Further rises and above moderate flooding are possible from Friday to the weekend, depending on the location and intensity of the heaviest rainfall. Jane Golding, from the BOM, said some locations on the north coast had been hit with more than 170 ml of rain over the past 36 hours.
She said that the rain is going to cause flooding on the north coast.
When the rain stops, the rivers keep rising and that's just the nature of riverine flooding. There are also flood warnings for the Murray and Castlereagh rivers in the central west, where some towns are already dealing with rising waters.
Towns including Trundle have been cut off from main roads, and the major regional centre of Dubbo is bracing for minor flooding.
Various levels of flood warnings have been issued from the Queensland border to the Wollombi Brook on the Central Coast.
Ms Cook said that there had been prolonged flooding through the west and north-west of the state, and now the flood weary communities in the Northern Rivers faced an uncertain couple of days.
"We're facing challenges on multiple fronts," Cook said.
This is the third consecutive La Nina and as we've seen all year our catchments, our landscapes are highly saturated.
It increases the risk of flash flooding and water coming up very quickly and catching people unawares. Ms Cook said she was aware of the anxiety felt by people on the Northern Rivers and North Coast, where towns have experienced two major floods in 2022.
According to Ms York, it is possible that evacuation orders may be given in low-lying parts of Lismore, and nearby locations, based on current flooding forecasts.
She said that local units are ready to help their communities, and that we have pre-deployed personnel, high clearance vehicles and aviation assets in the Port Macquarie and Lismore areas.