Authorities are urging people to take extreme care while swimming in rivers and to avoid swimming or driving in floodwaters as heavy rains continue to soak catchments and cause rivers to flood in the region.
The warning comes as emergency services, including police divers and the SES continued their search yesterday for a teenager who went missing in a river near Mandurama on Sunday.
Emergency services were called at about 1.30pm on Sunday after the 18-year-old, believed to be from Orange, got into trouble after jumping into Belubula River at Junction Reefs at Burnt Yards.
Two teenagers attempted to assist the man; however, he went under the water and failed to resurface. At the time of publishing he was yet to be found.
Police say the river was "swollen" at the time of the incident. Carcoar received a huge dump of rain on Sunday and Mandurama recorded almost 40mm. Bureau of Meteorology data shows a sharp spike in the Belubula River's height at Needles, Canowindra and Helensholme on Sunday morning.
The river rose almost three metres in a matter of hours upstream of Canowindra, where moderate flooding was experienced.
With La Nina predicted to last until early Autumn and wet weather set to continue, the Royal Lifesaving Society has renewed warnings about river safety and floodwaters.
National Manager, Research and Policy, Stacey Pidgeon said there was often a lot of attention given to drownings at beaches, but rivers were actually where most people drowned across Australia.
"People underestimate the danger around rivers. It might look nice and calm on the surface, but we do have currents that happen in rivers as well, and especially after there's been flooding and lots of rain. The water's murky, and you can't see what's underneath or what's submerged," she said.
SES Orange Unit commander Inspector Rob Stevens also issued a warning about driving in floodwater, saying two people had to be rescued from a van on Burrendong Way at the weekend.
He said a short and sharp rain event had managed "to put a very large volume of water over the road.
"The water level was up to the top of the windows," he said.
"While some of these storms are short lived, they can produce a fair bit of water. And if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time or even choose to drive through a flooded road, it's very easy for people to come unstuck."
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