A PERFECT storm of heavy rainfall, stretched resources and mechanical failure led to Molong's State Emergency Services being overwhelmed when flood water inundated the town on Friday.
During the cleanup on Saturday morning several Molong business owners were critical of the SES response to the rising floodwater with cafe owner Jodi Laffin saying there was no warning and sandbags were scarce.
"I rang and I said where the hell are the sandbags, and they said it's not that bad. I said Elders is under, the corner's going under," Mrs Laffin said, referring to Bank Street's intersection with the Mitchell Highway.
Kim Stojanov from the Telegraph Hotel said she logged three calls on the SES 1300 number but by the time help arrived, water had already flooded the cellar and bar.
However Molong SES Unit Commander Martin Watson said his team did what it could after a deluge dumped what he estimated was more than 40mls on Friday afternoon.
Orange SES unit commander Insp Rob Stevens echoed Mr Watson's stance, saying Friday's rain event meant the demand for help was always going to exceed resources.
Insp Stevens said swift-water rescue teams, which cover the whole region, had been going since the first call was logged at 4am on Friday morning, with another four calls coming in within five minutes.
But he said Orange was relatively "run of the mill" with the majority of his staff producing sandbags for trouble spots.
Weatherzone readings say Molong received 46.8ml on Friday and 18ml on Saturday while Orange was the same.
But Insp Stevens said the readings were misleading, with Orange's taken 15km away at the airport.
"There was a ridiculous amount of water at Molong," Insp. Stevens said.
That water, combined with run-off making its way into Molong Creek from the Canobolas area, ended up blocking the Mitchell Highway at the entrance to Molong for a couple of hours, leading to fast-rising water through the town's stormwater system.
"We relaxed a bit when we saw the creek going down in the middle of the day," Insp Martin said referring to the calm before the storm on Friday but he admitted no one was prepared for the ferocity of the afternoon's deluge.
"I'm from the mid north coast, I've seen plenty of floods," he said, estimating more than 30ml fell in a short time.
Insp Watson said predictions were Cumnock was in danger of inundation so 100 sandbags had been sent to the village.
He added the truck bringing a load of sand to the SES depot broke an axle, meaning a front-end loader was needed to move it to where volunteers were filling bags.
"Probably towards the end of the downpour there were 50 people filling sandbags by hand and loading them into utes. It was a great community effort," Insp Martin said.
He said Cabonne residents affected by Friday's flash flooding are eligible for disaster funding after they were included in 13 local government areas added to the list on Friday.
Also on the list is Blayney.
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.
To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au
Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au
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