Body found at Eugowra, as flooding at Forbes set to hit 70-year high

| 16.11,22. 12:55 PM |

Body found at Eugowra, as flooding at Forbes set to hit 70-year high

Two side by side photos of an elderly man and a woman.
Ljubisa ‘Les’ Vugec and Diane Smith were reported missing after floodwater swept through Eugowra.(Supplied: NSW Police.)

Police have confirmed a body has been found during the search for a woman missing in floodwaters at Eugowra, in central western NSW.

The body was yet to be formally identified, but was believed to be that of 60-year-old Dianne Smith, NSW Police said.

The search is continuing for 85-year-old Ljubisa "Les" Vugec who is also believed to be missing in floodwaters.

Police said they had serious concerns for his welfare, as his family had not been able to reach him since the area was hit by flash flooding.

Anyone with information about Mr Vugec should contact NSW police.

Forbes braces for flood peak

It comes as 14 people have been rescued from a pub roof in Forbes overnight, as the town braces for its highest flood level in 70 years.

With the flood peak yet to arrive, Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller estimated two-thirds of the town was already inundated.

Inundated homes
Major flood levels in Forbes are expected to remain until the weekend. (ABC News: Harriet Tatham)

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast levels similar to flooding at Forbes in 1952, with the Lachlan River expected to peak at 10.8 metres later today.

Thousands of sandbags have been distributed to residents and Forbes State Emergency Service (SES) commander Rocky Walshaw said they had done what they could to prepare.  

"We've got emergency service personnel on each side of the town," he said.

Hundreds of people and more than 1,000 properties are covered by an evacuation order for the town issued early Tuesday morning, after flash flooding caused the river to rise more quickly than expected.

Fourteen people were rescued from the roof of the Plainsmans Hotel in Forbes overnight.

An elderly couple, their daughter and their two dogs were also rescued by a helicopter, when their home was threatened by rising waters.

Health workers ferried to hospital

an ses boat with nurses being driven down the street in forbes flood water
Nurses are being ferried to work at the Forbes Hospital which has been cut off by floodwater.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

As Forbes braced for the flood's peak, the town's mayor said it was already the worst flood disaster she had ever witnessed.

"Two-thirds of the town has some form of inundation," Cr Miller said.

"I've never seen a flood like this in my lifetime … it's really hard on the people that have just experienced it two weeks ago."

The SES was transferring critical health workers to the hospital via boat, who would otherwise be cut off.

"We have to catch a boat to work where we normally drive and it takes probably about 10 minutes to get there through town," pathology worker Anne McColl said.

Her colleague Jennifer Squires said she was "quite over it".

"I'm getting a bit emotional," Ms Squires said.

"But we're doing a lot better than Eugowra."

Town of Hay bracing for floods

Meanwhile, residents of Hay in the western Riverina are bracing for floods today as water makes its way down the Murrumbidgee River.

The river has reached 9.1 metres, the highest level since 1974.

Hay Shire Mayor Carol Oataway said the community were helping to check for levee breaches and prepare.   

People filling sandbags
The Council and SES have praised the community of Hay, who came together to fill sandbags and monitor the town’s levee.(Supplied: SES Hay unit)

""Local businesses have been donating food, locals have been donating food and cooking barbecues for the volunteers," Ms Oataway said.

"The community has been making a fantastic effort, and we wouldn't have been able to do it without them, so hats off to all the volunteers," she said.

The small township of Maude, west of Hay, was "totally isolated", after an emergency warning was issued there on Tuesday.

"As of yesterday there was no phone or power (in Maude), but the residents are safe," Ms Oataway said.

Clean up begins

Many Eugowra residents returned home to find their homes destroyed following Monday's flash flood.

a damaged home
Residents have returned home to find many of their houses are damaged beyond repair.(ABC News: Xanthe Gregory)

NSW SES Chaplain Steve Hall said the Eugowra community's world was tipped upside down.

"Everything they hold dear has been swept away in a wall of water," he said.

"It's a long and hard road, but these people will need to dig deep and so will we, the community," he said.

(Votes: 0)

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