Police slam risky driving in floods

POLICE have put Hunter drivers who fail to steer clear of floodwater on notice: stay away or risk a $232 fine.
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STUCK: A man and child walk toward a car abandoned in water at Testers Hollow near Cliftleigh. Picture: Peter Stoop

Central Hunter duty officer Inspector Brian Tracey said emergency services were becoming exasperated by drivers who were ignoring calls to use commonsense in the dangerous conditions.

Police are attempting to find the owner of a car abandoned in flooded Testers Hollow near Maitland on Tuesday night.

Police used farm equipment to reach the car to confirm no one was trapped inside.

“Police and emergency services put themselves in danger to save these reckless drivers,” Inspector Tracey said on Wednesday.

“The depth meters on the roadside might say it’s a metre deep but the whole road could be washed away underneath.”

SES Hunter Region duty officer Mandy Haigh said volunteers had rescued between 15 and 20 drivers across the Hunter after they had pushed through floodwaters .

Ignoring road closure and flood warning signs carries a penalty of $232 and two demerit points.

Despite another rain-free day in the Hunter, waters are only receding slowly.

Cessnock council has warned motorists to take care in the Wollombi and Laguna area, where roads are said to be badly damaged.

Council crews have not been able to access all roads to inspect them or schedule repairs.

At Carrowbrook, near Lake St Clair, fast-flowing crossings stopped Ausgrid crews from moving in heavy machinery to repair high-voltage lines damaged by a fallen tree.

Crews will revisit the area today to try to restore power.

The township of Hinton is expected to remain isolated until late on Friday.

Residents kept spirits up last night with music and a sausage sizzle at a Flood Fest gathering in the School of Arts hall.

Elizabeth Armstrong said it was a chance to get togetherbefore the water dropped.

“We’re very community-minded here and when it floods it reminds us we need to band together,” Ms Armstrong, one of the organisers, said.

Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny with possible showers on Friday. Extra water releases from Glennies Creek Dam were scaled back on Wednesday.

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