Flood stricken residents in the central west of NSW may not be able to return home until next week, amid fears looming heavy rains may push the Lachlan River at Forbes to a higher flood peak.
The SES said 246 properties -- or about 1000 people -- are under an evacuation order in and around Forbes, after the river on Sunday peaked at a 25-year high of 10.67 metres on Sunday night.
Emergency Services are warning that while the water is slowly staring to recede, more rains are currently predicted in the area towards the end of the week.
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) September 26, 2016
That means some residents may not know if its safe to return home for some days. An evacuation centre has been set up in the local high school.
"At the moment we're waiting to seer what the weather is doing," an SES spokesman told The Huffington Post Australia.
At this stage, more rain is predicted in the area towards the end of this, and early next, week, the spokesman said.
The SES said downstream on the Lachlan River, major flooding is occurring at Cottons Weir, Jemalong and Condobolin with peaks expected over the coming week.
NSW Premier Mike Baird on Monday said he expected the area to be declared a natural disaster.
"Anyone who stands here and sees the damage, the strong expectation is that it is a natural disaster area which means it will be triggered," he said.
Baird on Monday appointed former NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens to lead the recovery effort.
The SES are currently engaging with local council as well as other agencies to determine when it is safe for residents to return home.
"We completely understand the need for residents to return home and are trying to get you all back as quickly as we can whilst being safe to do so," the SES said on Tuesday.
"Further weather is on the way later in the week and further river rises are possible at Forbes."
The NSW SES have received more than 2,380 requests for assistance during the floods, with the majority of the calls being for roof damage, trees down and flood related requests.
Premier Mike Baird & Minister David Elliott greeting NSW SES volunteers in Forbes earlier today. pic.twitter.com/9XSS2K1vkr— NSW SES (@NSWSES) September 26, 2016
There have been a total of 99 flood rescues including animal rescues and medical transports, the SES said.