Know your risk
If you live close to a creek, river, major storm water drain or in a low‐lying area, you may be at risk from floods.
Even if your property is not inundated by floodwater you could become isolated, access to other areas might be cut and you could lose access to power and/or water.
Floods can pose a risk to your life. The major cause of death during floods is by people entering floodwater, that is driving, riding or walking through floodwater and also children playing in floodwater.
Every year in NSW, floods cause millions of dollars damage to property and critical infrastructure, such as roads and railways as well as to agricultural land and crops.
Floods also disrupt business and can affect communities.
If you live in an area prone to flooding it is important to prepare your family and property now before floods arrive.
Video showing flood risk in NSW
This useful video outlines a typical Flood Scenario on the fictitious "Cicada Creek" and the interactions between NSW SES, the local community and the Bureau of Meteorology to manage the situation.
(Video courtesy: Gosford City Council and NSW Government)
Risk at your property
It is important to know what your risks are from floods. Information specific to your property and potential flood risk may be available from your local Council. You can find your local council contact details at:
Types of floods
Rivers in Flood
Flooding occurs when rivers overflow their banks, inundating surrounding low lying land.
Using rainfall and flood gauges, the Bureau of Meteorology can often predict the expected arrival time and the depth of floodwater and flood warnings can often provide advance notice to areas and communities.
In places where the land is relatively steep and close to the source of a river, such as coastal NSW, flooding can arrive relatively quickly. Water also flows faster in steeper catchments. The depth of floodwater in these locations can be great and in some coastal rivers, water can rise 10-20 metres above their normal level.
In places where the land is relatively flat and you are further away from the source of the river, such as inland NSW floods may take many days, weeks, or even months to arrive. Large areas can often be flooded and people and animals can be isolated for many weeks.
Flooding can place lives at risk. It is important to be prepared for flooding. The NSW SES has developed FloodSafe Guides to assist people to prepare for flooding.
NEVER enter floodwater
The major cause of death during floods is by people entering floodwater. This includes driving, riding and walking through floodwater and children playing in floodwater.
The NSW SES advises people to NEVER enter floodwater.
Floodwater may be deeper and faster flowing than it appears and often contains hidden snags and debris.
Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater
A 'road closed' or a 'road flooded' sign means that road is unsafe to travel on. Find alternate ways which are free from floodwater or wait until the all clear is given for that road. It is safer to turn around than to enter floodwater.
If there is a flooded road which does not have a 'road closed' or 'road flooded sign', it is still unsafe to travel through floodwater.
Floodwater can also erode and wash away road surfaces leaving deep holes and uneven surfaces which cannot be seen.
Never drive ride or walk through floodwater - if it's flooded, forget it.
One of the most important things you can do now is to plan for future flood events. Create a Home Emergency Plan