A SCHOOL bus and other cars were trapped between flooded causeways for several hours on Wednesday night after flash river rises took drivers by surprise.
The incident, near Bingara, serves as a reminder to the community that conditions can change quickly when wild weather strikes, State Emergency Service (SES) spokesman David Rankine said.
Further heavy rain and possibly severe storms are expected to sweep across the region later this afternoon and could cause flooding.
"It was a pretty stressful situation," Mr Rankine told ACM, adding the SES understands there were children on the bus at the time.
The vehicles travelled through a causeway safely but realised the next causeway on their route was flooded, and by the time they turned around, the other causeway was also underwater.
Mr Rankine said the drivers did the right thing by not entering floodwater and waited to be rescued by SES four-wheel-drives once the flood level dropped.
"It wasn't a bad decision, it just took them by surprise," he said.
The SES are preparing for a busy couple of days and are urging residents across the region to do the same.
There is a flood watch in place for the Peel River in Tamworth, though no official warning has been released at this stage.
"Particularly given how full Chaffey Dam is, we're keeping a very close eye on that river system," he said.
Emergency services are also concerned about the Namoi River at Gunnedah and Narrabri, the Gwydir-Mehi at Moree and the Macintyre in the Inverell area.
There is a current flood warning in place for the Moree area, which was issued in the early hours of the morning.
The Mehi River at Moree is likely to exceed the minor flood level of 5.5m about midday on Friday, with further rises to moderate flood level of 7.6m possible late on Friday and into Saturday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).
Mr Rankine said that would be a relatively good outcome for Moree, which was drenched with rain overnight, compared to the severe flooding that devastated the town in March this year.
The SES have urged residents to clean gutters, tie down or secure outdoor furniture and trampolines, and move pumps and livestock if needed as they brace for wild weather.
Keep an eye on warnings at the BoM website and learn how to prepare for storms and flooding at the SES website.
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