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NSW homes evacuated as floodwaters rise

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016

At least a hundred homes have been evacuated in the NSW central west and a major freight corridor has been blocked off as floodwaters continue to rise in the region.

Around 170 people in the Ungarie area were forced to leave their properties on Thursday following heavy rainfall and water flowing into the Humbug Creek, and the failure of the town's sewerage system, according to the State Emergency Service.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned moderate flooding is already occurring at Forbes Iron Bridge and Cottons Weir, and says major flooding in line with the destructive 1990 floods is expected on Sunday.

Murray Brown, whose property sits near the Lachlan River, told AAP about two-thirds of his land was already underwater.

"We left our cows in an area just thinking 'There's enough feed there for a month, that'll get us through'," Mr Brown told AAP.

"But here we are three weeks later and the water's still rising."

He is now preparing to swim a mob of 60 cattle to higher ground to ride out the rest of the flood period.

Farther south, the Newell Highway has been closed in both directions between West Wyalong and Forbes and will not reopen for several weeks. Diversions are in place but add more than three hours travel time, authorities have warned.

"The problems that will arise with freight are obvious, but it's also school holidays," Roads Minister Duncan Gay told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

He has urged travellers who can steer clear of the area to do so.

Meanwhile, Emergency Services Minister David Elliott has again pleaded for residents in affected areas not to enter floodwaters.

Five rescues have taken place in the past 24 hours, and the number of rescues undertaken since the flooding began nearly three weeks ago has topped 80.

"When you consider that a flood rescue requires four SES officers to retrieve, that means that we're unnecessarily putting lives at risk," he said on Thursday.

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